Shopping centre management and tenants get closer
The first, ever purpose-built mobile business-to-business ‘app’ enabling shopping centre management teams and retailers to communicate in real time has been launched by Toolbox Marketing, the specialist destination marketing company. It is the only inter it the only interactive communication tool available for shopping centres and retailers.
Called Mallcomm, it is free-to-download and, like consumer social media apps such as Facebook and Twitter, is updated in real time. It will be available to participating shopping centre management and retailers.
Toolbox Marketing’s financial investment in ‘Mallcomm’ represents a significant commitment for the company but for Toolbox’s UK Managing Director, Michelle Daniels, the new communication tool is long overdue.
“One of the big issues for shopping centre management and retailers is how to improve communication,” she says. “Printed newsletters are one-way communication and out of date before they’re printed, e-newsletters aren’t much better, shopping centre intranets are often available only in bigger centres – and not all retailers have internet access in their stores or want their staff looking at a computer terminal when they should be selling.”
Whatwas needed was something visual, interactive and accessible to all retail staff, not just the managers. Using Mallcomm, information can be uploaded and viewed by retailers, from head office staff to local store personnel. Each retailer within the centre receives a secure login and password, and information on day-to-day operations of the centre can be uploaded: from security and facilities information to marketing and promotional opportunities. Retail staff can contact the management team via the app, making it the only interactive communication tool available for shopping centres and retailers.
In a bid to compete with on-line retailing, shopping centres have developed highly successful strategies to become leisure destinations and local community hubs. However, with success comes increased responsibility and all shopping centres need a quick and effective communication system to deal with fast-moving situations.
Recent riots across the UK meant that affected centres were struggling to keep retail staff up to date, with some centres needing to communicate updates and instructions to retailers on an hourly basis. In order to do this management and security teams were required to visit stores and distribute printed information sheets, putting a huge strain on centre management personnel.
“If the Mallcomm system had been in place, shopping centres could have easily updated all retailers and staff both on-site and not working, as well as their head offices,” said Michelle.
At other shopping centres, retail staff resorted to asking questions about what was happening on the centre’s customer-facing websites or Facebook pages.
As a result, a number of centres in the UK are now planning to adopt the Mallcomm platform.
Michelle adds: “Most shopping centre management and retail staff are familiar with Facebook and Twitter, so we have taken social media a stage further to allow free communication between staff and retailers with a degree of privacy from shopping centre customers. It provides everything that an intranet can deliver, to every member of staff owning a mobile device with internet access employed by participating retailers.