By Al Urbanski, Chain Store Age
One of the biggest changes in shopper behavior brought about by COVID-19 is rarely written about or discussed, according to Bayer Properties president Libby Lassiter: The dayparts during which people shop have changed dramatically.
“Our centers are much busier during the day than they were before the pandemic,” Lassiter said. “People are working at home and their hours have been altered, so they’re more likely to go out and grab something at our centers at three or four in the afternoon.”
Also changed is the length of their shopping trips. They are hurried because they often have to return to work, so Bayer has hired Adeptmind—the company that aided Centennial with its Shop Now program—to test an online shopping program at The Summit in Birmingham.
Its intent help customers do quicker, more efficient shopping when they arrive at The Summit, as well as to order products and get them shipped to their homes. Adeptmind scans store inventories and uses artificial intelligence and e-commerce applications to allow customers to pinpoint which shops they need to visit before they leave home.
“One of the things we have to do is to find other ways for customers to shop,” said Bayer’s director of marketing Mindy Rohr. “Lots of times at this center, shoppers have to drive across the boulevard to get to the next shop they want to visit. We figured, how good would it be if you could Amazon-shop all the stores at The Summit before you left your house?”
If all goes well with the Adeptmind test, Bayer will be rolling the program out to other centers on a case-by-case basis.
“At the properties where we can see there’s an opportunity, we’re very, very focused,” Lassiter said. “At Liberty Center in Cincinnati, for instance, we have an open-air lifestyle center with a two-level mall, and we are repurposing the second floor as office space.”
Bayer’s portfolio includes The Pizitz, also in Birmingham, The Forum on Peachtree Parkway in Georgia, Carriage Crossing in Tennessee, and The Summit at Fritz Farm in Kentucky