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Mall of America Digital Wayfinding Directory

DESTINATION SHOPPING In Less Than Forty Seconds

AOPEN America and Express Image have partnered to provide unique and customized commercial-grade wayfinding digital directories for Mall of America, the nation’s largest retail and entertainment destination. With over 100 digital directories to help guests navigate the 5.6-million-square-foot property with ease, this industry-leading project is the first of its size and scope and is built on the AOPEN reliable commercial-grade Chromebox Commercial using the Chrome OS platform.

Since replacing static directories with digital wayfinding, Mall of America has seen average guest search time drop from over three minutes to less than forty seconds. This dramatic improvement provides to the guest the retail, attraction, and dining information needed to easily find their destination. The digital directories also offer guests the option of texting step-by-step map-view navigation to a cell phone, as well as access to real-time texting with a Mall of America digital concierge.

Paper Success Story

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The Challenge

Even as retail e-commerce experiences year-over-year growth, quarterly analyses and forecasts report that brick-and-mortar sites continue to generate the majority of retail sales. Nonetheless, these forecasts indicate an important digital trend: consumer expectations across retail are changing quickly. Responding to these changing expectations, retailers and malls are implementing future-proof solutions that effectively bridge the physical and the digital experience for consumers.

Mall of America is the nation’s largest retail and entertainment destination. Solving for the sheer size of the world’s largest mall required a leap from static to digital wayfinding. Static directories had not been addressing key objectives for some time and were becoming outdated quickly; quarterly updates to directory maps had become costly and inefficient.

The sprawling property further created a unique challenge for its guests: numerous retail, entertainment, and dining options. With static maps, guests were spending over three minutes identifying and planning their routes across the mall, offering little opportunity or incentive to discover new stores, increase dwell time, or increase overall spend.

Working with Express Image and AOPEN to transform its guest experience, Mall of America laid out a clear, results-focused objective: help its guests navigate a 5.6-million-square-foot property with 520 stores, several theaters, and amusement parks with ease and efficiency.

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The Solution

In June of 2016, Express Image and AOPEN deployed over 100 custom directories across the mall.

Express Image developed customized digital directories to suit the brand and needs of Mall of America, delivering a commercial-grade wayfinding solution that exceeded expectations. The Express Image customized interface, built on the AOPEN Chromebox Commercial, enables guests to search by name, category, and brand. With animated maps that show the route, as well as the time-to-destination, guests have the added option of sending text directions to their smartphones. The directories communicate in nine different languages and offer ADA-accessible routes.

To further cater to guests, the digital directories offer the option to text to their mobile phone a map view with step-by-step navigation – allowing the guest to live-text with a Mall of America digital concierge. The personalized experience of interacting with an individual through the digital concierge program differentiates the wayfinding experience with a longer, more dynamic engagement overall: guiding guests to discover new retail, entertainment, and dining options. Whether a gift recommendation, dining reservation, question about brands, or parking reminder – Mall of America digital directories take the guessing out of shopping and entertainment.

AOPEN commercial-grade hardware was critical to the successful deployment of the digital directories, which required a solution that was simple, secure, and scalable.  AOPEN selected the Chromebox Commercial for this project, based on its size, strength, and security. At 25mm in height, the ultra-thin devices fit securely behind kiosk-sized displays. The fanless, shock- and vibration resistant device contains a solid-state drive and operates across a wide temperature range (max 60°C/140°F). Its features include built-in hardware encryption, verified firmware boot, and a three-year warranty.

The digital directories are built on the Google Chrome OS platform, which utilizes Intel technology because of its security, reliability, and ease of development. The Chromebox Commercial easily controls the single touchscreen with its Intel processor, capable of running two FHD screens smoothly. Its unique features, such as dual band wireless networking and commercial-grade quality, are not available with any other Chrome devices on the market. Working with Google, AOPEN first introduced Chrome OS into an entirely new market of Commercial Chrome products. Since launching the Chromebox Commercial in 2015, AOPEN has worked with its ecosystem of Chrome partners to deliver interactive digital solutions that offer security without considerable systems overhead. AOPEN retail evolution draws on its core values: reliability, innovation, and partnership. AOPEN offers a much lower barrier of entry to deploying and operating innovative solutions to deliver exceptional guest experiences. With products designed for long-term, worry-free reliability, AOPEN offers a total cost of ownership that is 50% lower than other commercial-grade products.

The Chromebox Commercial allows Mall of America to focus on what is most important: building immersive, effective experiences for its guests. Google’s cloud management platform optimizes deployments with a simple login for preloading software onto each device.  Once a Chromebox Commercial is set up, there is no additional configuration needed by the installers or any other processing facility. Not only are Chrome OS project deployments fast and affordable, the platform is one of the most secure available on the market. With features such as built-in hardware encryption, verified firmware boot, and forced enrollment, the Chromebox Commercial is nearly impossible to compromise.

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The Key Results

The AOPEN partnership with Express Image brought the Mall of America project to life with focus, synergy, and results. Built on AOPEN commercial-grade products, the Express Image customized digital directories offer Mall of America guests a unique, branded experience.

Since the deployment of Mall of America digital directories, the average search time for guests has dropped from over 3 minutes, using the physical directories, to less than 40 seconds, using the digital directories. With more dynamic information at their fingertips, and with less time spent searching, guests can more easily and enjoyably find their retail, attraction, or dining destination.

Mall of America digital directories have been running smoothly since their installation in 2016, part of a multi-year commitment to enhancing the guest experience for its more than 40 million annual visitors. With over 1.8 million unique interactions to date, Express Image is further improving the shopper experience with customer analytics – data collected from kiosks for testing and validating new marketing initiatives.

The success of digital wayfinding solutions highlights an important trend in the retail space: As e-commerce revenue continues to show year-over-year increases, innovative solutions can bridge the physical and the digital to deliver an increasingly connected and comprehensive guest experience.

For more information on the Mall of America Project by AOPEN and Express Image, visit our website for the Mall of America Wayfinding video case study or email info@aopen.com  For more information on Express Image visit their website at www.expressimage.com.

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