Marketing Through the Seasons

It’s no secret that the shopping centre market is continually becoming more competitive; it is clear online shopping is here to stay, along with more schemes being developed and refurbished constantly. The activity seen across the sector is extremely exciting and showing a buoyant future for shopping centres, but, it is also placing continuous pressure on marketing teams to create new, unique and exciting campaigns to entice people to their centre!

A common strategy we can see across the industry is marketing teams using yearly events as a springboard to create new campaigns and events. This is a great method, and if implemented successfully can really appeal to a large demographic! The challenge with these campaigns is, the idea of say ‘Father’s Day’ or other yearly events aren’t necessarily new or original – so it is critical marketing teams are creative to make their campaigns stand out over other schemes (and previous years)!

Most recently we have seen Easter campaigns being implemented across the UK; including British Land and intu launching an augmented reality game for the holiday. This included an Easter egg hunt and the option to enter competitions – an excellent strategy to get consumers engaged with the app. Capita launched a bunny rabbit pop up store in their Woolshops centre to capture families and children and increase dwell time. According to a Foundation Recruitment client, this initiative increased footfall by a predicted 50%!

The Telegraph reported that Barclay card has said in-store sales rose by 14% year-on-year on Good Friday and Saturday – showing the positive effects of the campaigns!

Another trend, often used by fashion retailers are seasonal clothing campaigns. As we step towards summer, shoppers are starting to think about their seasonal wardrobe so it’s not surprising that new marketing campaigns can be seen to entice consumer’s in-store with promotions and events in relation to these seasonal products. intu Metrocentre held a fashion show last week – a great way to promote the tenants latest products and drive footfall all over the scheme. Also, intu Merry Hill held a discounted student evening last week, a great way to capture students before the summer holidays begin by offering a 20% discount in various stores including Michael Kors, Topshop, Victoria Secret and Schuh only to name a few!

Summer will often see even more pop up events. In June, Westfield Stratford City and Westfield London will invite shoppers and guests on a food journey. The event will host an Open Air Cinema within the Night Markets of Kensington Palace Gardens and a Food Truck Festival where guests can sample an array of the centre’s restaurants; a great strategy to drive footfall to F&B tenants!

Visual merchandising teams work hard to create eye-catching window displays to entice footfall. Sporting events such as Wimbledon or holidays such as Halloween are great opportunities to create unique displays. These events are also opportunities to create an exciting in-store atmosphere and competitions to try and enhance the guest experience.

It may feel a long way off, but towards the end of the year, we will be seeing Christmas-themed campaigns covering all shopping centres throughout the country. Santa’s grotto’s, gift wrapping stands and seasonal shops will be implementing pop-ups throughout centres; Christmas apps and games are expected to be introduced and a strong mix of marketing platforms will be utilised by all centres to capture a large consumer base.

The seasonal events that come around annually are great opportunities for centres to use as the basis for their campaigns. These campaigns are recognised by all and often appeal to a much wider audience – generating high volumes of footfall! It is great to hear what new strategies both candidates and clients have in-store for the near future – I’m looking forward to the campaigns that are still to come for the rest of the year!

Sarah Bannister, Marketing & Shopping Centre Management, Foundation Recruitment

Photography - Nick Harrison

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