Hammerson adds crowd checker to soothe consumers in UK, France
As the latest footfall figures show shopping centres staging a slow recovery, Hammerson is working to make consumers feel as comfortable as possible with visiting such indoor locations.
It has linked up with retail technology partner Red Ant to launch a new feature on its destinations’ websites to help customers plan their physical visits.
Crowd Checker “provides shoppers with live updates on how popular a centre is in real time, so that they know when to visit to beat the crowds”.
Fear over crowds and the potential for coronavirus infection is a major factor keeping some people away from indoor malls in particular.
The company said the feature is currently live for Brent Cross, Cabot Circus and Westquay in the UK, and Les Terrasses du Port in Marseille, France. It will shortly be rolled out across the rest of Hammerson’s flagship destinations.
It works by Red Ant integrating retail intelligence provider ShopperTrak’s footfall analysis API, and configuring its software to enable Hammerson to provide an occupancy status based on the number of people visiting a centre at any one time.
It will then show four options such as “Now is a great time to visit the centre”, along with “Now is a popular time to visit the centre”, “The centre is really popular right now. Allow extra time”, and “Centre closed. Plan when it’s best to visit”.
Although it doesn't state it specifically, the third option is the one that those worried about the infection potential of large crowds would want to avoid.
Kathryn Malloch, Head of Customer Experience at Hammerson, said: “We know that some customers are still a little nervous about visiting their favourite shops, and want to beat the crowds. Not only does [Crowd Checker] enable shoppers to avoid the queues, it also helps us to manage footfall, and to ensure our destinations are safe places to visit.”
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