Commercial property firm, Land Securities, has secured an exclusive tie-up with Google Product Search to offer the web-based service across its UK shopping centre portfolio.
According to Land Securities, the move is part of the company’s strategy to ensure it continues to support its retailers in an environment where online is an increasingly important factor.
Land Securities’ customer insight at its centres has shown that ROPO, Research Online Purchase Offline, is a consumer behaviour trend that is driving a significant proportion of retail sales, so it is introducing Google Product Search which allows customers looking for a specific item to see results showing which retailers in that centre sell the product – driving traffic directly to retailers at the centres.
The company said it has accelerated plans over the last month to ensure key retail destinations went live with the service in time for Christmas, and the facility is now available for Princesshay, Cabot Circus, White Rose, Overgate, The Centre, Bon Accord & St Nicholas, Lewisham Centre and Westgate.
Todd King, digital marketing manager at Land Securities, said: “Providing shoppers with the option to click and collect, browse and buy or simply to offer inspiration during their visit to our centres, Google Product Search is an excellent example of our commitment to supporting our retailers by embracing the latest technology.”
King said the response from Land Securities’ tenants has been hugely positive, with 24 retailers signed up already, including brands such as M&S, Boots, Topshop, Oasis, Bhs, Superdrug, Argos and Schuh.
The digital engagement of shoppers has been further supported by the roll-out at the same time of free Wi-Fi in conjunction with public access provider, The Cloud. The roll-out will be extended to all Land Securities centres in the New Year.
Sean Curtis, head of business marketing & brand partnerships at Land Securities, said: “We are delighted to be able to offer these services in time for Christmas, a key period in the retail calendar. We have seen the volume of customers accessing our centre websites increase steadily, and as we will be the first landlord to offer free Wi-Fi across the entire centre portfolio we expect that to increase even further in the months ahead.
“Just as brands are creating omni-channel environments, it is the responsibility of every landlord to explore ways to embrace digital technology to help their retailers succeed.”
Based on the estimated combined annual footfall of all Land Securities shopping centres, The Cloud expects to provide Wi-Fi to nearly 300 million visitors every year.
Curtis said: “This is about delivering the best answers for people searching for products and helping connect merchants with the right customers. The customer experience is enhanced with complementary Wi-Fi, enabling shoppers to access the search facility via their tablet or smartphone and find the most relevant results in-centre, creating a win-win for the customer and retailer.”