Do Retailers Need A ‘Homepage’ For Indoor Places?

Mappedin's 'digital directory interface' represents a step forward for the standard mall directory, updating retail information according to time of day, promos, and any other change that impact shopping choices.

Indoor navigation software provider Mappedin’s “dynamic digital directory interface” is intended to make mall directories more flexible and reflective of what shoppers and businesses want at a given time.

Rather than being a static map of “you are here,” Mappedin’s platform connects a mall’s directory to its branded app to direct consumers to where they should go depending on what’s happening at nearby retailers in the moment.

Or, as Hongwei Liu, Mappedin’s co-founder and CEO, puts it, the dynamic digital directory interface is an “indoor homepage” that updates consumers with the most relevant information.

The Mall Directory Enters The 21st Century (Finally)

“Physical, in-mall directories are, in essence, a mall’s ‘homepage’ enabling customers to efficiently find what they’re seeking out,” Liu says. “There’s no reason why these displays shouldn’t be as responsive and real-time as a typical e-commerce site, but historically keeping them up-to-date has been a thorn in the side of many mall owners.”

Mappedin’s indoor homepage for mall spaces.

In addition to ensuring that the directory information keeps up with the time of day, location within a given venue (for example, proximity to clothing versus hardware stores), events, promotions, seasons, etc. Mappedin’s platform also allows for custom changes in real-time from mall operators including stores moving within a space, closures, and anything that merits updating.

Among the features of the dynamic digital directory interface, which Liu says consumers will typically experience through large touchscreens strategically placed within malls and other spaces:

  • Smart Templates: Smart Templates format and display content using existing purpose-built designs crafted by Mappedin. Templates are released seasonally or as new functionality becomes available. Templates don’t require a designer to be populated and displayed, in some cases they can be fully automated.
  • Cards: Cards offer a popular standard for media dimensions to avoid a design specific to each directory. Cards are much larger than current promotional areas with a standard format for rich media and full image and video support capabilities.
  • Tiles: Tiles display a grid of “tappable” elements, each element can contain an image, video, or content piece that follows a structured template. Tiles can be sorted by popularity (“trending”) or in alphabetical order. They are typically displayed in a 3×3 configuration on the kiosk.

“Mappedin’s technology enables us to offer our customers the seamless wayfinding experience they expect. They help us simplify the shopping experience across all channels – web, mobile or in-mall digital directories,” said Tracy Smith, VP of Digital Marketing & Solutions at real estate operator Ivanhoe Cambridge, in a statement.

Why Is An Indoor Homepage Necessary?

But, given all the ways consumers can look up information about a store, do businesses really need a dedicated “homepage” for indoor places?

“Businesses need a ‘homepage’ for indoor places because they make the costs for iteration and personalization so low,” Liu says. “One can think of it this way: the cost to change storefront posters/images? Thousands of dollars. The cost to create new promos and features? Tens of thousands of dollars. Cost to A/B test a digital homepage? One hour to change some settings.”

For retailers, more personalization and efficiency leads to bigger basket size (i.e., people spending more money per visit), Liu adds.

“Consumers are time sensitive and have lots of choices today, so personalization and efficiency is a must in order for retailers to grow,” he says. “The lower overhead for management and updates feeds directly back into the ROI of Mappedin by enabling malls and retailers to update their directories more frequently, ensure better relevancy of search results (‘if it’s digital, it must be right’), and increase personalization.”

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.