Macerich recently worked with Sensory Interactive to launch a new system of interactive wayfinding directories at properties across its nationwide portfolio. The program, which currently includes more than 130 individual directories, will help shoppers find retailers and attractions at 18 different Macerich retail centers.
The interactive directories are an extension of the multi-property Macerich Digital Network, which Sensory Interactive has helped Macerich to refine and expand over the past three years. In addition to the new directories, the network includes double-sided suspended interior LED displays, large-format exterior LED displays at urban properties, and smaller interior LCDs. It offers advertisers and sponsors an opportunity to present a variety of digital content – including large-scale, high-resolution content with immersive sound – to shoppers at some of the nation’s most prominent retail centers.
Adding the directories to the network increases Macerich’s ability to share content across its entire portfolio, which allows the company to deploy advertising and sponsorship campaigns at a corporate level, while also still accommodating local campaigns and content. The integrated nature of the network also allows Macerich to synchronize content on digital elements throughout a property, or even across multiple properties in the network.
Beyond expanding the reach of the Macerich Digital Network and improving the shopping experience for visitors, the new interactive directories will directly save Macerich hundreds of thousands of dollars a year by eliminating the need to print and install new maps to reflect tenant changes. Live integration with the tenant data used for leasing and management means that directory information is now updated in real time, with no need for a separate workflow dedicated to updating the directories or printing replacement inserts.
The directories also provide valuable insight on visitors and their shopping habits. “The data that the system collects allows Macerich to see what shoppers are searching for, how often they’re searching for it, and in what areas of the center particular searches occur most often,” said Larry Zoll, Sensory Interactive’s Associate Director of Technology. “Macerich can use this data to help guide decisions about the best locations for tenants and amenities, and also share it with potential advertisers to increase the value and marketability of the entire digital network.”
Like the other components of the network, the new directories needed a physical design that was simultaneously distinctive and able to work within the diverse architectural styles found across the Macerich portfolio. Sensory Interactive’s designers achieved this by working with the Macerich corporate design team to develop, prototype, and test a range of options before selecting one design for wide-scale rollout.
This design process also led the team to create multiple form factors for the directory enclosures. Wall-mounted, kiosk, and tabletop units address the most common architectural conditions in the places where people are most often looking for wayfinding and directory information.
According to Sensory Interactive President Randy Byrd, the geographic diversity of the shopping centers included in the rollout added to the project’s complexity. “The careful vetting of vendors was a particularly important part of our work on the specification and procurement process for this project,” said Byrd. “For the directories’ hardware, software, and enclosures, we had to confirm every vendor’s ability to handle the rollout’s significant size and ambitious timeline.”
During the fabrication and installation of the directories, the Sensory Interactive team worked closely with vendors and the property management staff at each of the 18 projects to coordinate scheduling and communications. Sensory Interactive was also onsite at each project during the process, managing installation activities and reviewing the work of fabricators and installers.
Macerich is already moving to extend the system into even more of its portfolio. The company is now working with Sensory Interactive to roll the interactive directories out at several additional projects later this year.