Are mall shoppers hungry for in-stock data?
Mall operator Simon Property Group is testing a search tool that lets shoppers see what’s in stock in stores inside the mall.
The platform, called Simon Search, is being tested at 29 Simon-owned retail centers across the U.S. with a broader rollout planned for later this year. The search tool is accessible on the Simon app, on property websites and through digital directories at the malls.
About 25 retailers are participating at launch, including Anthropologie, Athleta, J.Crew, J.C. Penney and Old Navy. For retailers, the expected payback is boosting store traffic and conversion rates.
Simon research found that 87 percent of shoppers desired such a search tool, with 75 percent saying they would use it on a regular or frequent basis.
Enna Allen, Simon VP of brand management, told WWD the search tool is tailored for “that customer who walks into a center looking for something pretty specific.”
Simon Search also mimics the online shopping discovery experience in helping shoppers find out what’s new at the mall. Ms. Allen said, “We’re getting the data directly from the retailers. We’re not out there finding it in some obscure place on the internet. It’s updated every single day.”
Retailers from Target to Lululemon and Dick’s Sporting Goods have added the ability to check in-stock availability to their websites to support in-store pickup, as well as to reserve items, a feature not available via Simon Search.
EnVista’s “2020 Supply Chain Survey” that came out in August 2020 found 67 percent of consumers indicate that inventory visibility across stores, online and mobile is an important service to offer.
SML’s January “State of Retail Insight Report: Better Serving Customers Through Technology” found 43 percent of U.S. and U.K. retailers listing enhanced stock level visibility as a priority. Twenty-four percent cited an unclear view of inventory as their biggest concern, with 21 percent also claiming that it takes too long to locate items in-store.
- Simon Announces New, Innovative Product Search Platform – Simon Property Group
- Simon Property Brings Digital Search to the Mall – WWD
- Want to save gas? SouthPark mall debuts tool to check store inventory before you leave – The Charlotte Observer
- 67 percent of Consumers Indicate That Inventory Visibility Across Stores, Online, and Mobile is an Important Service to Offer – Envista
- Real-time inventory visibility to be the top priority for 43 percent of retailers – SML
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How much appeal will an inventory check tool such as Simon Search offer to mall shoppers? Is the need overvalued? Do retailers still have a ways to go in offering inventory visibility?