OneMarket is bridging the technology gap for retailers and shopping centers.
The platform allows both groups to engage with shoppers and eliminate friction with artificial intelligence, artificial reality and language processing, technologies that would be cost-prohibitive for any shopping center or tenant to pursue alone.
Westfield’s start-up technology company, OneMarket was spun out as part of Unibail-Rodamco’s takeover of Westfield Corp., which was completed earlier this month. OneMarket said Taubman Centers, Macerich, Guess and Express recently joined existing partners Unibail Rodamco/Westfield and Nordstrom.
“Westfield spent a lot of time and money developing technologies for Westfield,” said Don Kingsborough, OneMarket’s chief executive officer. “Only 4 to 5 percent of stores are in Westfield malls. To help retailers, you had to get cooperation from other shopping centers. The idea is to have a platform that all can use. It doesn’t make sense to build a one-time platform on an enterprise basis.”
The network’s products are designed to help bricks-and-mortar retailers compete more effectively with online and digital rivals. “Retailers have been impacted by the [Internet] and the common enemy no longer is each other,” said Kingsborough. “The common enemy for most retailers is Amazon. That’s been the force that’s enabled retailers to realize that cooperation is necessary. Retail has delayed implementing these newer technologies. Every time you do that, you give Alexa the advantage. Alexa is adopting the technologies.”
William S. Taubman, chief operating officer of Taubman Centers Inc., agreed. “What changed is the fear of Amazon,” he said. “People have decided they need to reconsider the way they’ve historically worked. The risk-reward ratio has changed, and it’s only now that the big data capability is such that it would allow you to do these things. If this is successful, it will be an absolute game-changer in terms of the ability to service and communicate directly with customers.”
One of OneMarket’s first consumer engagement products is an interactive digital receipt that lets retailers engage with shoppers after a transaction is made online or in a store. “Retailers are intrigued by the digital receipt. It gets delivered by Facebook Messenger,” Kingsborough said. “There’s no calling and waiting on the phone, and no human error. We’ll be able to solve customer service issues by knowing what the customer wants and standardizing solutions.”
OneMarket’s platform, which leverages dominant channels such as Facebook Messenger and SMS, interacts with consumers where they spend a majority of their time online. A messenger system on Facebook tracks deliveries of online orders and logs a car’s license plate number and payment automatically at malls with paid parking.
“The transparency of information will allow us to service the customer,” Taubman said. “If a shopper saw a blouse on Pinterest, OneMarket will know and send us a message. We’ll be able to remove so many pain points from the physical shopping experience and create this amazing world.”
Participant-populated data, including customer interests, categories shopped, dining preferences, and amount of spend is processed by the network through artificial intelligence. “Ultimately, [the data] will enable us to customize each shopping experience and make it more efficient,” Taubman said. “We’ll have the same level of information and interaction with customers in the physical space as that of online.”