COVID-19 has led many traditional retailers to reconsider the way their customers shop in an age of social distancing. Earlier this year, Sandton City became the first big shopping centre to offer online mall shopping with Nedbank’s Avo app, allowing shoppers to browse the digital mall, shop from participating retailers, and then pick their orders up from the Avo lounge lockers at Sandton City, or have them delivered to their homes.
Now, Mall of Africa in Midrand has joined the virtual mall shopping movement by launching its own digital shopping app, along with a virtual currency that can be spent at participating stores in the shopping centre.
Dubbed SHôPING, Mall of Africa’s app lets customers digitally wander through Africa’s biggest mall and make wallet less purchases by using a bespoke digital currency called ZAKA, which can be earned and spent at participating retailers in the mall. A loyalty stamp system forms a part of the app’s offering, along with an interconnected loyalty programme.
The app was developed for Attacq, the company that owns Mall of Africa, by the Dashpay transaction platform, and looks to expand its offering as time goes on to integrate brand-specific loyalty programmes into the SHôPING app.
Incoming Attacq CEO Jackie van Niekerk has said that the aim of the SHôPING app was to mimic the brick-and-mortar shopping experience for customers who prefer to plan their shopping experience from home, integrating the online and offline worlds.
“We wanted to help facilitate customer product research at home in the build to that potential shopper’s planned trip to the mall. By leveraging smartphone and cloud technology we were able to deliver a personalised experience that engages the customer even before they arrive at the mall,” said Van Niekerk.
SHôPING promises a more efficient shopping experience, letting users pop in and out in a fraction of the time they would have.
“The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic and requirements around physical distancing and managing visitor numbers has obviously had a massive impact on retailers in the mall environment,” said Dashpay Managing Director, Benjamin Powell.
“We’ve worked closely with Attacq to develop an app that adds value for consumers and merchants alike, and makes it quicker and easier to navigate and pay for purchases at Mall of Africa – and beyond.”