Malls in North America are no longer the social hub spots and commerce giants that they used to be. The emergence of e-commerce retailers like Amazon, and a shift in consumer preferences have led to a decline in sales and foot traffic to malls across the country. To add to that, the format and experience at malls have not changed in over 20 years giving them a stale reputation. That said, it is possible for malls to become attractive to consumers again through innovation and self-disruption, where successfully merging the digital and physical worlds will be key, as outlined in a recent piece by Deloitte.

The key to this transformation will be human-centric technology.

“Imagine this: You’re headed to the mall and you want to make your visit as efficient as possible. You’ve already selected which stores you want to go to ahead of time and have laid out the most efficient path to reduce walking, including having reserved a parking space at the nearest entrance. Your first stop is a shoe store, where the sales associate already has a selection of shoes put aside in your size based on styles you preselected using your own digital avatar. Check-out happens on your smartphone in 30 seconds, and then you’re off to an electronics store to find new headphones. You settle on a pair you like and once again use your phone, this time to scan its barcode and guarantee getting the lowest price. After spending the next hour at the food court, you decide to get some rest in a nap pod. Another hour until wake up time, then a concierge meets you at the car with your purchases so you don’t have to carry a thing.

Welcome to the connected mall of the future — a carefully curated shopping experience, driven by technology and analytics, and designed to enhance customer experience while boosting foot traffic, sales, as well as the overall value of real estate assets. It is, ultimately, the convergence of the digital and physical spheres to deliver on the OmniChannel experience in novel ways.” Continue reading.