RETAILERS in Exeter's Princesshay shopping centre could soon be reaping the benefits of a new tie-up with Google. Centre owner Land Securities has signed an exclusive deal with Google Product Search to offer the web-based service across its UK shopping centre portfolio.
The move is aimed at supporting retailers in an environment where online browsing is increasingly important.
Land Securities' customer insight at its centres has shown that 'research online, purchase offline' is a consumer behaviour trend that is driving a significant proportion of retail sales.
Google Product Search allows customers looking for a specific item to see results showing which retailers in a particular centre sell the product – driving traffic directly to those shops.
Todd King, digital marketing manager at Land Securities, said: "Providing shoppers with the option to click and collect, browse and buy or simply to offer inspiration during their visit to our centres, Google Product Search is an excellent example of our commitment to supporting our retailers by embracing the latest technology."
He added that the response from tenants has been hugely positive, with 24 retailers signed up already, including Topshop, Oasis and Schuh. The UK's largest commercial property company, Land Securities accelerated its plans to ensure key retail destinations including Princesshay went live with the service in time for Christmas and New Year.
At the same time, digital engagement with shoppers has been supported by the roll-out of free wi-fi in conjunction with public access provider The Cloud. This will be extended to all Land Securities centres in the new year.
Wayne Pearce, Princesshay centre director, said: "We're really pleased to be able to offer these new services at Princesshay. We launched our new look website this autumn and we've seen the volume of customers visiting our site steadily increase, so it's fantastic to be one of the first centres to offer free wi-fi.
"Just as retailers are creating multi-channel environments, it is our responsibility as a landlord to explore ways to embrace digital technology to help our tenants succeed. We hope that here in Exeter people searching for products will use the service to connect with our stores."
Based on the estimated combined annual footfall of all Land Securities shopping centres, The Cloud expects to provide wi-fi to nearly 300 million visitors every year.