Why the Digital Transformation of Shopping Centres is More Than Just a Trend

Corry van den Brink
Founder & CEO

The digital transformation of shopping centers, exemplified by innovations like Arii, is revolutionizing guest experience management. Traditional guest departments are costly and often lead to reduced services. However, digital solutions offer flexible, efficient staffing using Just-In-Time principles, potentially saving up to 40% on costs. With digital customer service accessible via smartphones, guests can receive assistance anywhere in the mall. Arii's vision focuses on making shopping centers more connected and convenient, urging the industry to embrace this change for a brighter future.


Remember the good ol' days when we roamed the sprawling corridors of the mall, looking for that one guest services desk that always seemed to be playing hide-and-seek? The digital transformation of shopping centres is here to change that once-tiring experience.

Running a guest experience department in a shopping centre is no easy task, and the days of large departments with extra event services are fading away. Thankfully, the digital transformation of shopping centres, led by innovations like Arii, is taking the lead, transforming the way we interact with our guests.

The Challenge of Running Traditional Guest Experience Departments

The Complex World of Guest Experience Before Digital Transformation

It's more than just smiles and directions. Managing a guest experience department can be akin to leading a small army. With teams ranging from 5 to 30 people, costs can soar anywhere from $100K for a lean team to well over $800K for a larger setup.

Under constant pressure to cut costs, where do property managers turn? Non-revenue-generating departments, of course. And that's where things start to unravel. It's like taking away the water and wondering why the plant isn't thriving.

Cutting Corners Leads to Cutting Services

I visited a mall just last week where the guest experience team was stretched so thin that the services suffered. The first time I walked by there was a line about five people deep, about two hours later I noticed a sign saying she went on break and would be back in 30 min.

Reducing schedules and trimming the team might seem like a prudent cost-saving measure, but the digital transformation of shopping centres offers a smarter path.

The Unintended Consequences of Cost Reduction

Creating a Department in Decline

Cutting costs doesn't mean guests don't want information or better services. What ends up happening is a self-inflicted wound, where the numbers show a decline that wasn't there to begin with.

Remember the plant analogy? You can't expect to starve a department and then wonder why it's wilting. I've seen smaller shopping centres close their guest experience teams entirely due to COVID, opting not to reopen them, only to face a decrease in overall guest satisfaction.

Digital Transformation of Shopping Centres: The Future

Arii's Vision for a New Era

There has to be a better way. That's what we at Arii believe, and we've spent the past year making our vision of the digital transformation of shopping centres a reality.

Digital customer service is rapidly becoming the go-to solution for many industries around the world. It gives property managers the ability to share resources between properties or centralize the service, creating a more efficient and effective system.

Imagine a world where your guest experience team can assist at one mall digitally and then seamlessly jump to another. That's what the digital transformation of shopping centres brings to the table.

Saving Big on Staffing Costs

By implementing JIT (Just-In-Time) principles, shopping centres can save 40% or more on staffing costs. Guest experience teams can drop in when needed, as opposed to sitting idle, making better use of their time and talents.

From a Guest's Perspective

It's not just about the numbers. From a guest's point of view, digital customer service makes the service more accessible with an increasing number of shoppers having a smartphone in their pocket to access it from. The service is no longer tied to a single location hidden somewhere within the mall; it's mobile with the guest as they travel throughout the mall and shop. How convenient is that!


The digital transformation of shopping centres is here, and it's time for shopping centres to embrace the change. At Arii, we are passionate about transforming the way shopping centres interact with their guests.

Visit www.HELLOARII.com to learn more and take the first step towards a brighter, more connected tomorrow through the digital transformation of your shopping centres.

May 1, 2024