The Mailbox transforms into a smart shopping and leisure destination achieving a world-first in retail tech.

Posted by Milligan Retail on 07 Sep 2017

World-first in integrated retail technology

Connected environment enables Mailbox’s shops and restaurants to interact with customers in real-time

Location aware technology tracks visitors’ journeys and preferences, to personalise content based on their behaviour

In-app loyalty programme rewards customers with money-can’t-buy 

The Mailbox in Birmingham, UK, has become the first lifestyle destination in the world to launch a fully integrated retail app, built upon a leading edge smart infrastructure platform to deliver a superior level of customer engagement and improve the quality of interactions between the Mailbox, its tenants and customers.

Location aware technology integrated by the PlanIT Urban Operating System™ (“UOS”) has transformed the Mailbox into a “connected environment”, recognising and communicating with customers in real-time before they arrive, during and after their visits, to deliver a truly unique VIP experience.

The Mailbox is home to Harvey Nichols’ 45,000 sq ft flagship store, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein Underwear, BOSS, Armani Collezioni, Daniel Footwear, Paul Smith, L.K. Bennett, Gieves & Hawkes, Ribble Cycles, Castle Fine Art, Kitchen Gallery and Fine & Country, in addition to Everyman Cinema, Malmaison, AC Hotels by Marriott, Tom’s Kitchen and 16 popular canalside bars and restaurants.

By embracing the “connected customer”, the new technology provides the Mailbox and its tenants with rich data to support highly personalised and effective marketing campaigns to drive sales and boost loyalty.

App users can:

  • Earn loyalty points through the Mailbox Exclusive Club and redeem against money-can’t-buy experiences
  • Redeem exclusive restaurant and retailer offers, tailored to individual preferences
  • Book table reservations, pre-order food for eat-in or take-out
  • Add items to a personal wishlist
  • Book tickets to events and view dynamic event on their devices
  • Schedule their appointments, in-store events and reservations
  • Access promotional content, events and news
  • Read and interact with the brand new ‘Mailbox Life’ digital magazine
  • Access the Mailbox’s super high speed Wi-Fi
  • Fully inspect, control and manage their own data and privacy settings - including the ‘right to be forgotten’.

Developed by leading technology pioneer, Living PlanIT, and innovative retail developer, Milligan (co-owner of the Mailbox with Brockton Capital), the new app is location aware, driven by an intelligent intranet which is fed with rich data from new footfall cameras, and a sales reporting system.

At the heart of the app is the Mailbox Exclusive Club, a first of its kind loyalty scheme that rewards customers for every pound spent in the centre, from the car park to retail stores, restaurants and bars to the Mailbox’s salons, cinema or hotels. Exclusive Club members can redeem their points against a carefully curated menu of offers and money-can’t-buy experiences, with surprise rewards based on the frequency of visits, spend and wishlist choices.

Designed to deliver a unique, highly personalised experience, the app allows users to browse a catalogue of the latest products and promotions and add items to a personal wishlist, which can be shared via social media. The Mailbox’s shops and restaurants can respond to customer selections, interacting with them on an individual basis depending on their preferences.

Events at the Mailbox are set to become even more interactive through dynamic app content. Event guests will receive special notifications related to activity on-site, and will be automatically guided through programmes and look-books within the app, in real-time.

In addition to accessing super high speed Wi-Fi, customers can make table reservations and pre-order food, schedule their appointments and attendance at in-store events and read and interact with the brand new Mailbox Life digital magazine, all seamlessly – without leaving the app.

Samantha Robinson, Head of Brand and Customer Engagement at Milligan, said: “With industry insight demonstrating that over half of shoppers respond positively to receiving retailer messages based on their location, and location aware apps boosting usership by 60% (FutuRetail Conference 2017) we’re going to see an increasing trend towards the technological evolution of shopping centres.

“Customers are more connected than they have ever been, and their expectations for seamless, end-to-end shopping experiences are intensifying. By integrating the Mailbox’s loyalty programme into the app, and transforming the centre into a connected environment, our customers can share as little or as much information as they want to enable both the centre and its tenants to shape content based on their personal preferences, and access rewards based on their individual shopping habits.”

The new platform provides the Mailbox’s tenants with access to an enriched customer data supply including access to the Mailbox app customer database, insight into customers’ dwell time in stores and restaurants, user journeys and preferences, the ability to derive customer patterns and the option to send notifications to app users.

Mailbox’s tenants can now access an enriched customer data supply, including:

  • Access to the Mailbox app customer database: Email Address, Postcode, Age, Interests
  • Knowledge of the stores customers with app have visited
  • Customer dwell time in stores and restaurants and insight into user journeys and preferences
  • Ability to derive customer patterns, to identify key customers and their spend
  • Ability to send personalised notifications to customers 

Detailed, real-time knowledge on customers and their use of the Mailbox will enable tenants to improve the services they offer and provide customers with more targeted, relevant and timely promotions and information. In another retail first, the Mailbox app will give customers full access to inspect, control and manage their data at any time, putting privacy in the hands of the user, including the ability to delete any records as their ‘right to be forgotten’, and control the level of messaging from the Mailbox and its tenants.

Samantha continued:

“Recent analysis from the UK and the US suggests that the loyalty of a connected customer is between 3 and 8 times more valuable. The Mailbox app has been designed to create advocates to drive loyalty and spend, and will substantially shift our approach to marketing and engagement with our customers. Along with our own continued development of the app and the technology that supports it, our approach also provides an intelligent platform for us to continually integrate relevant third party services to benefit our customers, and our tenants.”

Simon Samuels, Partner at Brockton Capital commented: “We’re proud to be bringing this leading-edge technology to the Mailbox, creating a truly connected destination for the benefit of customers and tenants. This pioneering solution has huge implications for the wider marketplace with the ability to transform the way people interact with real estate, whether that be retail and lifestyle spaces or offices and commercial centres.” 

Built on the PlanIT UOS™ platform, the new Mailbox app provides continuous, personalised customer engagement, which is shaped by an individual’s interactions and preferences.

John Stenlake, CTO at Living PlanIT said:

“Retail is increasingly an information-driven business, and yet destination operators and owners are often starved of quality, timely data. Our solution powered by the UOS platform, combined with an integrated destination app for the customer plus a flexible and responsive back-end system for retailers, addresses this issue while also providing agility in supporting new, interactive ‘smart retail’ features. This in turn meets three goals: attracting and engaging customers in real-time; powering deep analysis of audience and preferences; and optimizing offer curation and value add over time. This is typical of how the UOS enables and drives value for activities in various types of built environments, in addition to improving building management functionality.

“We are proud to be working with Milligan, Brockton Capital and other partners both in this unique project at Mailbox, and in future, to deliver similar solutions based on this original and unique deployment in other opportunities around the world.

“Innovative aspects of the Mailbox solution, such as enhanced footfall and flow analysis from smart cameras can be applied to a wide range of environments from retail to transport hubs, to hospitality and commercial spaces. Meaningful data capture and coordinated response in real-time enables both improved experiences for customers, and better ability to sense and respond for retailers and destination operators.”

The first release of the Mailbox app is available for iPhones and can be downloaded from the App Store. To find out more visit www.mailboxlife.com/app