PlusCity

PlusCity plots visitor behaviour data to inform a dynamic retail experience

  • Customer Profile

    PlusCity is a shopping mall and leisure destination outside the Austrian city of Linz. It opened in 1989 and attracts upwards of 20,000 visitors a day. The 130,000sqm site includes more than 200 stores, a cinema, creche, gym and event space.
    • Vertical: Retail
    • Location: Linz, Austria
    • Customer size: 40 employees

    Use Case

    PlusCity is a shopping mall that no longer thinks of itself as a shopping mall. It is an entertainment venue, an event space, an experience. To continue to give customers a reason to visit it needs to be dynamic, constantly adding new services. Aruba architecture establishes a network that is performant, robust and easy to manage. PlusCity can now collect visitor data to inform new services and promotions, create a new wayfinding app, and it has a platform for adding a digital layer to the physical mall experience.

    Requirements

    • Ensure premium wireless for visitors
    • Provide a “Find my car” navigation service
    • Enable seamless mobility throughout 30,000sqm of mall
    • Create a data-enabled, intelligent marketing engine

    Outcomes

    • Collects visitor data to inform new services and promotions
    • Supports the enhancement and interactivity of existing mobile app
    • Establishes platform for digital layering on physical mall experiences
    • Simplifies IT operations through cloud-centric network management
    When PlusCIty was built 30 years ago its ambition was to be the best mall in the Austrian city of Linz. It needed to be better than the local competition.

    Many things have changed in retail since then. We have the internet, we have Amazon and we have faith in parcel deliveries. Some things remain the same, however. PlusCity continues to be the best mall in Linz.

    “The difference today is that we’re attracting customers from Bavaria and the Czech Republic,” says Markus Aumair, CEO and founder of PlusCity. “Our catchment area is anywhere within a one-hour drive, though we know many people travel 200km to shop here. It is not enough to be the best in Linz, we are competing on a broader scale.”

    Creating a destination beyond shopping

    The key to PlusCity’s success is that it no longer sees itself as a shopping destination. It is an entertainment venue, an experience. It wants to give customers a reason to continue to visit. That means it needs to be dynamic, to constantly rethink its offering and to add new services.

    “Coming to PlusCity is like taking a day’s holiday. Shopping is only part of the experience. It is a place to eat, play and be entertained,” says Aumair. “And for that reason we cannot stay the same. Visitors would find that predictable.”

    PlusCity exterior

    A multiplex cinema has been added, there are new restaurants, a creche, a gym, and Austria’s largest family entertainment centre. There is also a regular calendar of events, aimed at different demographics.

    As the mall grows, the challenge is to knit this together. PlusCity is overhauling its network to ensure seamless connectivity across the site, alongside wayfinding and push notifications. It will also generate data on visitor behaviour to inform new services.

    Unified management and orchestration of a dynamic space

    Aruba architecture includes AP-535 Wi-Fi 6 indoor and AP-365 Wi-Fi 5 outdoor access points tuned to provide seamless wireless coverage in 30,000sqm of mall space, and BLE Beacons to enable wayfinding across the 100,000sqm of car parking space in conjunction with the Meridian Mobile App Platform which provides the navigation and Blue Dot services. The LAN comprises a highly available core based on the Aruba 5412R switches and Aruba 2930 fixed and stackable switches in the access layer. But at the heart of the Aruba approach is Aruba Central as a unified, cloud-native infrastructure management and orchestration platform.

    Aruba Central enables PlusCity to manage the deployment of infrastructure, with unified management and orchestration for the wired and wireless networks as one. It means the mall can manage and optimise connectivity for the huge numbers of daily visitors, and interactions with the network, securely, quickly and proactively. As a cloud-native application, new features can be added to Central without impacting the core functionalities.

    Blanketing the mall to ensure a seamless experience

    The new platform establishes a network that is performant, robust and easy to manage. “The most important thing is that the network works 100%. With Aruba’s design we certainty get that,” says Lukas Aumair, Managing Director of Oton Media, which provides IT services to the mall.

    With connectivity blanketing the site, PlusCity has been able to build a successful visitor app, featuring wayfinding and location-based services. Integration with the Aruba ALE (Analytic and Location Engine), the app is able to collect and benefit from a wealth of data points from the network. No visitor needs ever forget where they have parked their car and, while in the mall, they can receive promotional information about things that interest them while in the vicinity of specific shops, restaurants or even the cinema. On top of that, PlusCity can optimise its marketing by monitoring dwell times and traffic in the most and least frequented areas of the mall.

    The wireless network also has the capacity to accommodate thousands of concurrent users. An average day sees 50,000 visitors to the mall, rising to 60,000-plus in peak periods.

    PlusCity interior

    “We had an event recently, aimed at young people, with 2,500 users in the main square,” says Lukas Aumair. “Almost everyone was online and many were posting videos to social media. The network never missed a beat.”

    Nobody comes to a shopping mall because of the Wi-Fi, continues Aumair. But they may never return if the Wi-Fi experience is slow or hard to access.

    Capturing the data to inform new services and promotions

    From an operational perspective, the advantage is data. PlusCity needs to understand who visits the mall and how they use the mall. The better it can understand its visitors, the better able it is to create an experience that draws customers back again and again.

    “We want data, but not so much data that we’re overwhelmed,” says Markus Aumair. “Right now, we cannot check everything, or react to every tiny piece of data.”

    For now, the data that is most useful includes details of the visitor’s home address, contact information and how they have navigated through the mall, including dwell times. From this, PlusCity can then create marketing campaigns and new services, or new events tailored for specific demographics. It can also strengthen PlusCity’s marketing to new retailers looking to secure floorspace at the mall. On a daily basis, the team can readily change signage or open new parking facilities based on the analytics obtained from the data.

    “For visitors, it means we can send promotions to their phone while they are in the mall, or passing a certain store, that are timely and relevant,” says Aumair. “It could be letting them know that a film is about to start, or it’s happy hour in one of the bars, or that there is a special promotion in their favourite store.”

    Guests interacting with devices at PlusCity

    Blending the convenience of online with the best live experience

    The Covid-19 crisis impacted all sectors of the economy. None more so than destination shopping. Markus Aumair recognises it may be some time before all consumers are happy to spend time in a crowded indoor setting, but that a real-world experience will always be an alternative to online-only.

    “We need to blend the two, of course,” he says. “The convenience of online with the enjoyment of the physical.”

    What he does expect is that the best malls will remain and thrive, but lesser destinations may fade: “Not necessarily the most expensive shops, but malls with best quality, the best experiences.”

    Read more

    We had an event, aimed at young people, with 2,500 users in the main square. Almost everyone was online and many were posting videos to social media. The network never missed a beat.
    Lukas Aumair, managing director, Oton Media
  • Customer Profile

    PlusCity is a shopping mall and leisure destination outside the Austrian city of Linz. It opened in 1989 and attracts upwards of 20,000 visitors a day. The 130,000sqm site includes more than 200 stores, a cinema, creche, gym and event space.
    • Vertical: Retail
    • Location: Linz, Austria
    • Customer size: 40 employees

    Use Case

    PlusCity is a shopping mall that no longer thinks of itself as a shopping mall. It is an entertainment venue, an event space, an experience. To continue to give customers a reason to visit it needs to be dynamic, constantly adding new services. Aruba architecture establishes a network that is performant, robust and easy to manage. PlusCity can now collect visitor data to inform new services and promotions, create a new wayfinding app, and it has a platform for adding a digital layer to the physical mall experience.

    Requirements

    • Ensure premium wireless for visitors
    • Provide a “Find my car” navigation service
    • Enable seamless mobility throughout 30,000sqm of mall
    • Create a data-enabled, intelligent marketing engine

    Outcomes

    • Collects visitor data to inform new services and promotions
    • Supports the enhancement and interactivity of existing mobile app
    • Establishes platform for digital layering on physical mall experiences
    • Simplifies IT operations through cloud-centric network management
    When PlusCIty was built 30 years ago its ambition was to be the best mall in the Austrian city of Linz. It needed to be better than the local competition.

    Many things have changed in retail since then. We have the internet, we have Amazon and we have faith in parcel deliveries. Some things remain the same, however. PlusCity continues to be the best mall in Linz.

    “The difference today is that we’re attracting customers from Bavaria and the Czech Republic,” says Markus Aumair, CEO and founder of PlusCity. “Our catchment area is anywhere within a one-hour drive, though we know many people travel 200km to shop here. It is not enough to be the best in Linz, we are competing on a broader scale.”

    Creating a destination beyond shopping

    The key to PlusCity’s success is that it no longer sees itself as a shopping destination. It is an entertainment venue, an experience. It wants to give customers a reason to continue to visit. That means it needs to be dynamic, to constantly rethink its offering and to add new services.

    “Coming to PlusCity is like taking a day’s holiday. Shopping is only part of the experience. It is a place to eat, play and be entertained,” says Aumair. “And for that reason we cannot stay the same. Visitors would find that predictable.”

    PlusCity exterior

    A multiplex cinema has been added, there are new restaurants, a creche, a gym, and Austria’s largest family entertainment centre. There is also a regular calendar of events, aimed at different demographics.

    As the mall grows, the challenge is to knit this together. PlusCity is overhauling its network to ensure seamless connectivity across the site, alongside wayfinding and push notifications. It will also generate data on visitor behaviour to inform new services.

    Unified management and orchestration of a dynamic space

    Aruba architecture includes AP-535 Wi-Fi 6 indoor and AP-365 Wi-Fi 5 outdoor access points tuned to provide seamless wireless coverage in 30,000sqm of mall space, and BLE Beacons to enable wayfinding across the 100,000sqm of car parking space in conjunction with the Meridian Mobile App Platform which provides the navigation and Blue Dot services. The LAN comprises a highly available core based on the Aruba 5412R switches and Aruba 2930 fixed and stackable switches in the access layer. But at the heart of the Aruba approach is Aruba Central as a unified, cloud-native infrastructure management and orchestration platform.

    Aruba Central enables PlusCity to manage the deployment of infrastructure, with unified management and orchestration for the wired and wireless networks as one. It means the mall can manage and optimise connectivity for the huge numbers of daily visitors, and interactions with the network, securely, quickly and proactively. As a cloud-native application, new features can be added to Central without impacting the core functionalities.

    Blanketing the mall to ensure a seamless experience

    The new platform establishes a network that is performant, robust and easy to manage. “The most important thing is that the network works 100%. With Aruba’s design we certainty get that,” says Lukas Aumair, Managing Director of Oton Media, which provides IT services to the mall.

    With connectivity blanketing the site, PlusCity has been able to build a successful visitor app, featuring wayfinding and location-based services. Integration with the Aruba ALE (Analytic and Location Engine), the app is able to collect and benefit from a wealth of data points from the network. No visitor needs ever forget where they have parked their car and, while in the mall, they can receive promotional information about things that interest them while in the vicinity of specific shops, restaurants or even the cinema. On top of that, PlusCity can optimise its marketing by monitoring dwell times and traffic in the most and least frequented areas of the mall.

    The wireless network also has the capacity to accommodate thousands of concurrent users. An average day sees 50,000 visitors to the mall, rising to 60,000-plus in peak periods.

    PlusCity interior

    “We had an event recently, aimed at young people, with 2,500 users in the main square,” says Lukas Aumair. “Almost everyone was online and many were posting videos to social media. The network never missed a beat.”

    Nobody comes to a shopping mall because of the Wi-Fi, continues Aumair. But they may never return if the Wi-Fi experience is slow or hard to access.

    Capturing the data to inform new services and promotions

    From an operational perspective, the advantage is data. PlusCity needs to understand who visits the mall and how they use the mall. The better it can understand its visitors, the better able it is to create an experience that draws customers back again and again.

    “We want data, but not so much data that we’re overwhelmed,” says Markus Aumair. “Right now, we cannot check everything, or react to every tiny piece of data.”

    For now, the data that is most useful includes details of the visitor’s home address, contact information and how they have navigated through the mall, including dwell times. From this, PlusCity can then create marketing campaigns and new services, or new events tailored for specific demographics. It can also strengthen PlusCity’s marketing to new retailers looking to secure floorspace at the mall. On a daily basis, the team can readily change signage or open new parking facilities based on the analytics obtained from the data.

    “For visitors, it means we can send promotions to their phone while they are in the mall, or passing a certain store, that are timely and relevant,” says Aumair. “It could be letting them know that a film is about to start, or it’s happy hour in one of the bars, or that there is a special promotion in their favourite store.”

    Guests interacting with devices at PlusCity

    Blending the convenience of online with the best live experience

    The Covid-19 crisis impacted all sectors of the economy. None more so than destination shopping. Markus Aumair recognises it may be some time before all consumers are happy to spend time in a crowded indoor setting, but that a real-world experience will always be an alternative to online-only.

    “We need to blend the two, of course,” he says. “The convenience of online with the enjoyment of the physical.”

    What he does expect is that the best malls will remain and thrive, but lesser destinations may fade: “Not necessarily the most expensive shops, but malls with best quality, the best experiences.”

    We had an event, aimed at young people, with 2,500 users in the main square. Almost everyone was online and many were posting videos to social media. The network never missed a beat.
    Lukas Aumair, managing director, Oton Media