It’s no secret that shopping malls are struggling in the US. More than two dozen malls have closed since 2010, according to the New York Times, and some analysts estimate that half of America’s 1,200 malls could be extinct in the next 20 years. But Chicago startup Spring Rewards wants to use cash back deals to bring customers back into shopping malls in a new partnership with a Chicago-based mall chain.
Spring has partnered with Starwood Retail Partners to launch the country’s first mall-wide rewards program to give shoppers cash back on the things they buy inside the shopping center. The program, called Oh, So Simple Rewards, is initially launching September 2 at Starwood’s Chicago Ridge Mall, in Chicago Ridge, IL, and will roll out to three other markets later this year.
Starwood plans to bring the rewards program to all of its 29 shopping centers in 14 states by 2016.
The shopping malls provide kiosks for customers to sign up for Oh, So Simple Rewards, where they can then link their existing Visa, MasterCard, or American Express credit or debit card. Customers who spend $250 at retailers inside the mall automatically earn $10 cash back. Without needing to carry an additional loyalty card, mall shoppers get the cash put directly on their registered card.
Spring is also working to sign individual retailers inside the mall to its platform, giving the stores access to Spring’s real-time spending data on mall shoppers and the ability to send targeted deals to individuals customers. The idea is to provide mall retailers with a smarter marketing solution, and give customers more of an incentive to shop in-store.
“Being the first U.S. shopping mall to offer this type of innovative program is a key step in our ongoing effort to be the industry innovator providing powerful tools for retailers and improved shopping experiences for our mall shoppers,” Laurie Paquette, Starwood Director of Asset Management said in a statement. “This robust, efficient and easy to use platform delivers a performance-based solution to retailers that they can use with no risk. Consumers signed up for the program will literally earn cash rewards for shopping at Starwood malls and will receive personalized offers from their favorite retailers that work conveniently through their credit or debit card.”
Spring said as it rolls out the rewards program to the rest of Starwood’s shopping malls, it is also eyeing other mall operators for future partnerships.
Image via Spring Rewards