Digital Mall: The Future of Shopping is Here
Diwali was here!
And Neeti wanted some decor pieces for her home. Sadly, her schedule didn’t allow her to visit her favourite mall.
She didn’t prefer online marketplaces. After all, who has time and patience to find the right stuff from endless options.
This is where she came to know about the digital version of the mall.
With a few taps on her phone, she ordered all the festive essentials. It was delivered to her by the evening.
Welcome to the era of Online Shopping 2.0: an age where shoppers don’t simply order a product online. They explore and discover products just like they do in a shopping mall in town.
They do so by visiting DIGITAL MALLS.
What are digital malls?
Also known as an online mall, a digital mall is a virtual version of a physical shopping mall. Most of the stores list all or curated products on that digital platform. The users can view or order those products instantly via online payment.
Digital malls vs. online marketplaces vs. online stores
Aren’t online malls just like an online marketplace?
At the surface level, a digital mall surely resembles a marketplace like Flipkart or Amazon.
As you dig deeper, you will notice some crucial differences.
Online marketplaces are simply portals that connect buyers with sellers. People order products that are listed by brands or traders on a particular marketplace. A challenge with marketplaces is that the focus is more on offering variety and offers than enhancing the overall shopping experience.
Online stores are platforms that a brand or a seller manages independently. The variety is limited and often restricted to a particular category, say fashion or furniture.
Digital malls blend in the best of offline and online shopping, offering an omnichannel experience.
The need for the digital malls
For the stores in malls, the concept of digital malls is an opportunity to expand their business. Many retailers have started to regain the revenues they had lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Let’s zoom in on the features of this hybrid approach.
Features of a digital mall
- Video Shopping: Rather than viewing the images of the products, the customers interact with the sellers through video calling options. They can check the product through LIVE interactions and clarify their doubts instantly. The sellers get a chance to persuade the customers by sharing the features and benefits through visual demonstrations.
- Hyperlocal Delivery: The stores offer same-day or next-day delivery to the customers staying within a radius of 5-10 km from the mall.
- Click & Collect: This model that allows the customers to place an order and collect it from the mall or a shopping store is already popular across the globe. Statista predicts the sales through Click and Collect will touch $141 billion in the US alone. And this is one of the key features of every digital mall.
- Store Returns: The customers can return the products they’ve received from a mall. This prevents the stores from spending tremendously on reverse logistics.
Additional benefits to the stores
There Are some additional advantages the mall retailers can enjoy by selling their products digitally.
- Tracking consumer behavior: The insights related to the users of the online mall can be highly beneficial to the stores. They can modify their inventory and offers based on the behavior of their consumers. The stores need to connect with the development/management team of the digital mall to get this data. They can also learn how to get real-time updates.
- Loyalty Programs: The retailers can retain their customers for a long time through loyalty programs. They can give the option of using the loyalty points while shopping through their physical store or mall. The malls can also launch online newsletters that inform the customers about the latest collections, ongoing trends, and tips & tricks for the consumers.
- No tech expertise needed: The retailers don’t require tech expertise for creating or managing online versions of their mall stores. The experts who create the digital mall can guide them on how to manage inventory and delivery in the easiest possible manner.
- Easy payment management: The retailers can accept payments through all major payment modes: be it Visa, MasterCard, mobile wallets, and net banking. They can also go a step further by accepting cryptocurrencies as a payment option. Central Retail Corp, a mall developer from Thailand has already initiated this concept through a cryptocurrency called C-Coin. This is all possible without creating any website.
How Vinculum Group is bringing forth this revolution
Vinculum Group is at the forefront of the Digital Mall revolution in India. This renowned service provider has bundled all the tech required for managing a digital mall. Through this package, the brands and malls can manage their product catalogue, offer video calling to their customers, handle hyperlocal deliveries, and integrate payment platforms. Vinculum also provides pre-integrated POS for efficient inventory visibility. Connect with a representative from this organization to know these technologies can seamlessly digitize your mall.
The Future of Digital Malls
Many malls across the globe are getting online. The US-based Bal Harbor and Centennial are prominent examples. In the next few years, every mall will be offering an omnichannel experience to its customers.
Talking about India, the scene of digital malls is still in its infancy. The early movers in this space are sure to get the biggest piece of the pie.
Coming to the future of digital malls, the technologies like augmented reality and Metaverse will make the shopping experience further notches higher.
One thing is for sure: The online malls are here to stay and evolve.
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