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The Connected City

Key learnings 

  • “There is a massive opportunity for city centres to exploit the thing that we carry around in our pockets and consult hundreds of times a day – the mobile phone.” 
  • “It’s not just about cities – it’s about audiences. Anywhere where there is a collection of people – for example, football stadia. We worked with Liverpool to promote cultural and arts centres.” 
Miles Quitmann, Proxama   
  • “It has to be all about the consumer. It has to be based in insights – in understanding the consumer. Who’s in my store and what are they interested in?” 
  • “Marketing needs to be contextualised and personalised. And if you run this kind of activity, then you have to ensure that you test it in shops outside London. You must avoid being London-centric.” 

Daniel Angel, Tamoco   

  • “Shoppers are now more connected than ever and many retailers are equally advanced in their connection with the digital world.” 
  • “Westfield sees its role – as with our physical malls – as being able to bring these groups together so they can continue to connect meaningfully at all touch points, before, during and after they visit our centers.” 

Ben Taylor, Westfield Labs   

Summary 

Miles Quitmann of Proxama kicked off discussion about the Connected City by observing that anyone who was unaware of the problems facing the High Street over the past few years “would have to have been living on another planet”. 

But online and mobile shopping have impacted traditional bricks and mortar retailers: “last year, 90% of all shopping still happened on the High Street.” 

The latest technologies actually offer traditional retailers a lifeline: “There is a massive opportunity for city centres to exploit the thing that we carry around in our pockets and consult hundreds of times a day – the mobile phone.” 

Proxama is currently in charge of a trial project to ‘mobilize’ Norwich City Centre, to explore how best to exploit technology to drive footfall and sales. "The agenda is to drive up sales for retailers and to reinvigorate the High Street by utilising the mobile phone. Proxama works with outdoor media owners, city centre management and shopping mall owners to exploit new technologies. The time is right, right now.” 

But although Norwich is a good test site, because it has a population of 270,000, a well-defined central shopping area and because Proxama has an office there, “it’s not just about cities – it’s about audiences. Anywhere where there is a collection of people – for example, football stadia. We worked with Liverpool to promote cultural and arts centres.” 

Fundamentally, “it’s all about loyalty. Once someone has spent some money in your shop, you want them to come back and spend money with you again. We have also found that brands have been very interested in having a direct relationship with consumers.”   

Daniel Angel of Tamoco then outlined some of the technologies behind proximity marketing, including NFC, QR codes, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. 

But the consumer must be at the heart of everything. “It has to be all about the consumer. It has to be based in insights – in understanding the consumer. Who’s in my store and what are they interested in?” 

That should always inform the messaging: “Marketing should be contextualised and personalised.” 

For example, Tamoco worked with AT&T in the US on activity surrounding its sponsorship of the TriBeCa Film Festival aimed at bringing the AT&T brand to file. The campaign, Film for All Friday, was very successful at driving footfall to AT&T stores to redeem the free film tickets offer; during the four days of the campaign, there were 8,232 interactions, 80% of them over Wi-Fi. “It allowed AT&T to identify potential new users; they could also see the customers of rival carriers who had been driven to AT&T stores by the marketing.” 

In the UK, convenience store chain OneStop is using BLE [Bluetooth Low Energy Beacons] and NFC for a national proximity campaign including a number of FMCG brands. The campaign is live across 740 locations with over 1,000 beacons. Right now, it involves vouchers which can be redeemed for free copies of IPM magazine titles, but FMCG brands will be involved soon. 

Another project involves in-bar ordering and payment app, Orderella, which allows pub, club and bar customers to order drinks sitting at their tables and pay for them. The app is being promoted by scannable beermats with QR codes, NFC and Bluetooth. It allows the delivery of location specific offers and promotions, while venue owners can profile customers and market to them to get them to return. 

“The interactive beermats are having big traction. Beermats that talk to you – and not just because you’ve had one too many!”   

Ben Taylor of Westfield Labs rounded off the session by outlining the huge investment that needs to be made to create the Connected space. 

Westfield is very active in the digital space, which is why it has Westfield Labs – to leverage technology to create better digital experiences. “The world is changing, for retailers and consumers.” But “connectivity requires a huge investment in the infrastructure.” 

For Westfield’s two London malls combined, there are 20,000 Data Points, 160 Telecoms Rooms, 5,000 Voice and Data Circuits, 1,500 CCTV Cameras, 1,200 WiFi Access Points and 50 IP Connected Systems.” 

The investment is worth it because these are spaces where people come in large numbers. Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City combined have 3.6m sq ft of retail space, 76m annual visitors and £1.9bn in annual retail sales. The new Westfield Mall at the base of the World Trade Centre in New York will have around 500,000 visitors every day. 

Westfield knows that “shoppers are now more connected than ever and many retailers are equally advanced in their connection with the digital world.” 

Taylor said: “The company has historically aggregated retailers in the physical space: there is a need to do the same in the digital space. The purpose, as with our physical malls, is to bring retailers and consumers together so they can continue to connect meaningfully at all touch points, before, during and after they visit our centers.” 

He then ran through a couple of recent digital activities Westfield has been running. 

At Westfield London, it trialled Express Parking, where customers could sign up and get an RFID chip which they could put on their windshields. “It allowed customers to enter and leave without stopping at the barriers, and pay automatically.” 

Westfield also ran a six-week test campaign with Pay Pal, where people who used the Pay Pal app to pay for parking could get it free on weekdays and only pay £3 for all day at the weekend. 

He also provided details of Westfield’s proposed loyalty scheme, which will deliver “a new level or personalised shopping.” Consumers will not only be able to plan their journey in the mall, but also to see all the offers relevant to them. It will also feature “the functionality to reserve, collect, have things delivered to their cars or have them delivered to their homes.” 

Taylor concluded: “there must be a compelling value offer for each consumer and that value proposition must be delivered.”