Ingka Centres, formerly IKEA Centres, has launched Hands-free Shopping at three of its MEGA branded Russian shopping malls. It is thought to be the first time the service has been brought to multiple retail destinations of this size in Russia, and reflects Russian consumer demands for convenience, quality service, and time saving in a more omni-channel world.
Arranged through the MEGA App, customers can now leave their purchases at shop tills, and have them seamlessly delivered to their chosen pick up point later. Hands-free Shopping ensures there is no need for customers to lug heavy shopping bags around with them for the rest of the day. Instead they can continue shopping, or enjoy focusing on the many other experiences MEGA malls offer from restaurants, to cinemas, to kid’s playgrounds and state-of-the-art parks.
When customers are ready to leave, they can pick up their bags from an array of locations depending on what is most convenient for them. From bus stops, to parking zones or special ‘Hands Free Shopping’ service desks. Drive through zones and home deliveries are also expected to be introduced in the near future. Guests choose the delivery point through their MEGA App and can also track delivery status through the app. Customers who don’t have the MEGA App, can register at service desks and arrange their collection by phone.
Ingka Centres introduced Hands-free Shopping in response to MEGA customer needs, which were identified in a series of special focus groups. Participants highlighted that tiredness is one of the main reasons they don’t spend more time at shopping malls, which is often caused by carrying heavy bags around.
Hands-free shopping has been introduced at MEGA Teply Stan in Moscow, MEGA Ekaterinburg and MEGA Nizhny Novgorod. But Ingka Centres is planning for it to be fully implemented at its portfolio of 14 MEGA malls across Russia in the coming years, as it looks to improve customer satisfaction and boost sales by increasing dwell-time and multichannel shopping.
Sofia Trofimova, Head of Operations of Ingka Centres in Russia commented: “MEGA malls will always have a powerful retailing attraction, but they are becoming places that go far beyond shopping. We want our customers to be able to enjoy everything our malls have to offer, and believe taking away the hassle of having to look after and carry their shopping bags will help them do this. We see the digitalization of retail as an opportunity to improve customer experience and dwell times, which ultimately benefits our tenants.”
Many customers are still signing up to Hands-free Shopping at the three MEGAs where it is currently available. However, early indications show it is already increasing dwell times and tenant sales.
Hands-free Shopping complements Ingka Centres vision to transform its Russian malls into vibrant meeting places for the next generation, offering unique seamless offline and online customer experiences. Ingka Centres is investing 2 billion Euros to upgrade its MEGA malls to become meeting places where visitors connect, socialize, experience new things, shop, eat and naturally feel attracted to spend time. Initiatives like Hands-free Shopping help make this vision a reality.