Estonian shopping centre Viru Keskus recently renewed its building directory, moving from print to digital. The printed version had 2D building plans with a list of shops on the side. Navigating and finding the right destination was time consuming and required an architect-like approach to understand the building plan. Tenants changing, grow and downsize all the time. As the shopping centre has 6 floors with 7 exits, this made it necessary to print around 10 A0 directories, to reflect each change at considerable cost.
Finding the Solution
The objective was to save on printing costs with a modern innovative solution. The shopping centre chose 3DWayfinder, a solution developed by 3D Technologies R&D that features an administration panel for managing content. Updates can be applied through the web instantly. It also has the ability to offer tenants different kinds of advertisements. The 3D maps are based on precise CAD drawings, giving an accurate overview of the property. All of these features affected the final choice.
In total, the Estonian shopping centre occupies 85,000m² of space and attracts approximately 11 million visitors annually. Nine kiosks were delivered by ML Novator, making it the company’s largest project to date.
There were obstacles during and after the installation. 3D Tech had problems with screensaver activation. Viru Keskus had its own screensaver coded, while ML Novator monitors with SiteKiosk, which has its own screensaver. The presence of two simultaneous screensavers made the application reload every 45 seconds, forcing users to either wait 30 seconds or walk away. Eventually 3D Tech had to forbid the screensaver function in SiteKiosk.
The second problem came as a result of the application running on a web browser. As we know, every browser has a zooming option. Well, every time the user tried to zoom in it just enlarged the whole window and confused the user. In this case, 3D Tech had to forbid the browser’s zooming option. No one saw these problems in advance and thanks to quick and professional response from both parties the problems are solved. After fixing these issues, 3D Tech noticed an increase in the usage of its application. During last Christmas, the usage rose to 4 percent of visitors.
3D Tech recently released a new version with many improvements and new features. In the original version, it was only possible to advertise with banners. With the new version, it’s now possible to do it in three ways. Banners are still the very first eye catchers, but when the user gets closer they notice 3D pop-ups in the 3D plan. They are dynamic – if the plan is turned, they turn also, never being lost from sight. The pop-up can be clicked for additional information on the right side, inside the menu. The third option is to advertise inside the contextual menu.
The system is very simple, if I start searching for a shop or product, the relevant destinations are returned with the ones with ads will being highlighted and placed highest. It’s now possible to get statistics about usage and count destination clicks, which ad was most popular and what visitor were unable to find. This is all really valuable information. With all of these improvements, 3D Tech intends to increase customer usage up to 10 percent.
We believe that 3D way-finding solutions have a bright future. Eyecatching 3D maps and innovative ads will encourage visitors to interact. Tenants will have more possibilities to get customers into their shop. Advertising sales have the potential to make a return on investment within one year, depending on the size of the mall and the booking rate. To further reduce costs and continue to enhance the shopping experience, we plan to launch a 3D Wayfinder mobile application in June 2012.