Christmas Marketing campaigns within the retail industry are becoming bigger every year with TV advertisements always highly anticipated from; John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, Coca-Cola, Waitrose, the list goes on. Marketing is a highly important factor in the retail and shopping centre industry especially over the festive period with competition and expectations increasing year on year.
Within shopping centres, the one thing that gets everyone excited is an experience and a shopping centres marketing strategy is essential in promoting and supporting this! ‘Experiential shopping’ is the new phrase within the shopping centre sector; it’s obvious to see that if consumers were looking for a passive shopping experience, solely for a simple purchase, then they would just shop online.
It’s important to gain shopper engagement; in today’s market, engagement is what makes shopping centres successful, the smallest campaigns and initiatives can significantly increase footfall and dwell time whether it is a discounted retail event or a Christmas light switch on – customers are more inclined to visit a shopping centre when there’s an event or promotion, incentivising customers to travel.
Social Media has become a big focus within a marketing strategy; Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and more recently Snapchat, have taken over how we engage with customers. By promoting events and campaigns on Social Media platforms, customers can engage with the brand; enter competitions, communicate and even play animated games. Social Media is a great way to further enhance still advertisements that are displayed in shopping centres such as billboards or posters, allowing personalisation and ultimately, improving the guest experience. Once a consumer has connected via social media, the developments in data analytics give shopping centre marketing teams the opportunity to gather data and send direct, personalised promotions and encourage repeat visits!
A key marketing objective is to drive footfall and events are a great way to do this. Marketing teams work hard to strategise and promote these events and if they do so successfully, they can be a significant driver of footfall.
Christmas frequently brings the most engaging events of the year within shopping centres, there are a commonly a variety of elements to these events that increase footfall and dwell time including; boutiques, gift wrapping, Santa’s grotto, meet and greet Santa, celebrity appearances, book signings, carol singing, promotional discounted evenings, light switch on, the list goes on. Running an event with a clear Social Media strategy alongside to support, encourages interaction, giving shopping centres the opportunity to build their brand awareness and consumer loyalty.
Loyalty Schemes are run throughout the calendar year, but commonly, shopping centres utilise these schemes within their Christmas campaigns such as; Christmas wrapping, free Christmas gifts, free entry to competitions and the opportunity to receive double points just to name a few. Again, marketing teams need to utilise all platforms to promote the schemes in place to entice consumers to visit their centre over another.
There are numerous marketing initiatives that shopping centre marketing teams implement and there is not one more important than another. What is crucial, is for centres to have a strong mix of strategies to ensure they are targeting and appealing to a wide audience and demographic.
With the festive markets already up in Manchester, boutiques and independent shops taking over commercialisation units and innovative sparkling events taking place; Christmas shopping in the city is a truly magical experience. From ice-skating to family pantomimes, pop up ice-bars, not to mention the chance to meet Santa, there is something for everyone to enjoy in the run-up to Christmas.