/ Digital Transformation

Personalization in shopping malls

How can malls create a personalized experience for each of their shoppers within the constraints of physical space?

In this article, we discuss how malls can blend the digital and physical and create a tailored experience for customers.

Why personalization?

The mall...is at a critical inflection point. A storm of global trends are coming together at the same time to cause malls to change the role they play in people’s lives. No longer are they primarily about shopping. Now, when consumers visit malls, they are looking for experiences that go well beyond traditional shopping


To compete with other physical and online, mall operators have to create that unique experience for shoppers and customer.

This can be implemented by first collecting the right data and then using that data to improve customer acquisition and retention.

1. Data collection

Hong Kong mall operators sit on a lot of useful but latent data.

Most mall apps come with a loyalty feature that encourages customers to collect points which they can redeem for goodies within the mall. The data from these loyalty apps are key to getting customer insights and offering a personalized experience to their customers.

The problem is that the data is often not in the right form. For instance, mall operators might collect receipts but do not record who the merchant is or what line items were purchased. Data cleaning is required to get data into the right format for analysis.

The key to creating a customer centric experience in the mall is data in the form of . John bought shoes from Zara. Jane visited McDonalds.

The user experience of mall apps make them suited to getting two types of information:

1. What customers bought

Many mall apps reward customers when they shop at your malls. When a customer presents a receipt in exchange for loyalty points in their mall app, they are giving you a record of what they bought in your malls.

The screenshot below illustrates the reward proposition for mall apps:

2. Where customers visited

Most mall apps also have access to the location of the user for wayfinding purposes. This gives mall operators the ability to record where customers visited.

2. Understanding the customer journey to improve customer retention and acquisition

These two types of data allow mall operators to gain valuable insights and take meaningful actions on their customers for customer retention and acquisition.

Let's talk about each of these separately.

Customer retention

The customer retention problem can be boiled down into how we can get customers to visit and shop at my malls more often.

There are two parts to this. The first is getting the customer to visit your mall. The second is getting customers to spend when they arrive at your mall.

To get customers to return to your malls, mall operators can use emails, SMS messages, push notifications and interactive kiosks to give customers a reason to visit.

But what should we send them?

Using data about what customers bought and where they visited, mall operators can personalize their recommendations to help customers discover products, merchants and promotions in store.

Customer acquisition

On the customer acquisition front, mall operators can identify their most valuable personas based on the demographics and interests of people who shop the most in the mall.

For instance, Metisa is able to generate customer personas by taking the data in Part 1 as inputs.

Mall operators can then focus their marketing efforts on finding more of these types of customers and getting them to visit.


By making mall apps slightly more sophisticated, mall operators can not only drive shoppers to their malls using online-to-offline strategies, but can also gain a much deeper understanding into who their customers are.

That's it for now. Feel free to reach out for a chat or leave a comment below.

Justin Yek

Justin Yek

Partner & Cofounder @ Altitude Labs. Responsible for our in-house personalization technology Metisa.

Read More