• Country Road: Sought after.
    Country Road: Sought after.

Clicks convert to bricks, according to a new report released by the Australian Centre for Retail Studies (ACRS).

The research was based upon Westfield's online initiative the Searchable Mall, launched in November 2013, which allows shoppers to merge online shopping and browsing with offline retail.

The report states that 72% of shoppers who completed a “web event” over the past year called a store or clicked out to a retailer's website from westfield.com.au, resulting in a purchase in-store or online, influencing $343m sales for 2014.

$263m of the transactions were made in Westfield shopping centres, with $64m purchased from the online stores of retailers and $16m purchased in other stores.

90% of shoppers purchased the products they intended, 50% of those purchased additional items, indicating that the Westfield's online strategy is working in generating consumer interest and revenue.

Over 160 retailers have been integrated to the Searchable Mall, featuring over 190,000 products from prolific brands such as David Jones, Oroton, Cue, Rebel, Dick Smith, Country Road, Napoleon Perdis, Sass and Bide, General Pants, The Body Shop, Jeanswest, Sportsgirl, Forever New and Bonds.

It's not all down to the ingenuity of online shopping though.

The $400 million renovation of Westfield Garden City in Queensland and the $475 million redevelopment of Westfield Miranda in New South Wales have relied heavily on digital integration to make offline shopping easier for consumers.

The report cites ticketless parking in Miranda; free WiFi; large entertainment projections; interactive digital gaming screens and a range of ambient activations catering to each market such as local art projections; historical content displays; social media content displays; touch screens; and interactive installations as integral to the digital innovation of Westfield centres.

Westfield's director of marketing John Batistich believes it's the way forward for retailers.

“Through our ongoing commitment to large-scale redevelopments we can build the infrastructure required to continually innovate, future-proof and digitally enable our shopping centres. High value and high quality WiFi is now offered in Garden City and Miranda, with an announcement on our WiFi strategy to take place soon.”

It has also been revealed that the 2015 roll-out will include further WiFi across centres, interactive smart screens across the portfolio and digital mapping throughout the centres.

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