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App helps consumers navigate more than 70K stores

Consumer services such as ATMs, rest rooms and parking lots are also featured in Point Inside. The application is in preview release in the Apple App Store.

“The strategy of this launch is to begin to move the shopping center industry away from paper maps and directories towards a better way to help drive increased foot traffic to our retailers,” said Kevin Foreman, CEO of Point Inside, Seattle. “We achieved  this increased store traffic by providing a free mobile app that instantly allows people to find any store, kiosk, restroom, elevator and the like in hundreds of their favorite malls.”

Point Inside Inc. develops free map applications for indoor shopping centers in North America.

Pointing mobile consumers to retail
The Point Inside application lets mall developers populate the event calendar associated with each map and lets them access to a Web-based portal to instantly update the map when retail stores or guest services change. 

The malls included in the application are owned and managed by developers such as CBL & Associates Properties, Cadillac Fairview, General Growth Properties, Jones Lang LaSalle, Macerich, Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust, Simon Property Group, Taubman Centers and Westfield Group.

Retailers have the option to embed promotions directly into the application to make it easier for consumers to discover their offerings.

“Today if a prospective consumer enters a mall and leaves out of frustration, it’s a lose/lose/lose situation — lose for the consumer, lose for the retailer and lose for the mall owner,” Mr. Foreman said. “We not only wanted to provide directions to the 70,000 mall-base stores, but also information about their offerings with the contextual grounding of the underlying mall map. 

“An example is restaurant chain Chick-fil-A,” he said. “Chick-fil-A wants to promote their new Peppermint Chocolate Chip Milkshake.

“Similarly, T-Mobile wants mall shoppers to find their stores and kiosks, as well as promote their new MyTouch 3G. We help retailers by driving increased store traffic and therefore higher sales.”

The retail location decides what kind of promotions to offer, so if a retailer decides to, they can serve coupons to consumers via the application.

The application can function without 3G signal or WiFi.

Consumers can improve the maps by leaving feedback from within the application and their suggestions, if chosen, can be made in real-time.

Mr. Foreman said that Point Inside is aimed at all consumers who own an iPhone or iPod touch.

The topic of mobile commerce is being discussed by retailers and analysts to a great degree and Mr. Foreman said his company is taking a different approach to it.

“We have pulled back and taken the approach of using mobile to drive increased store traffic – where roughly 90 percent of overall retailer revenue is derived,” Mr. Foreman said. “In the future, we will move to mcommerce, mobile payments and even a very interesting cost-per-visit advertising model. 

“Today is the first step in that journey,” he said. “The last we checked, there were 2,300 location-based service applications on the iPhone. 

“Not one of them has indoor maps and navigation … until today.”