Shopping centres are now expanding their offerings to meet consumers’ growing expectations. Consumers want all of their needs to be available under one roof; dining, sport, entertainment, technology, new experiences, all their favourite shops, events… the list goes on – and they expect this to be easily accessible with exceptional transport links and car parks. Along with all of this, consumers want facility management strategies to be strong to ensure centres are clean, secure and safe. Not asking for much, right?
When promoting a shopping centre, Marketing teams need to encourage footfall, increase dwell time, drive engagement and differentiate themselves – if this is done successfully, this will ultimately drive revenue for tenants, encouraging demand for floor space and increase the scheme’s value.
Collaborating with tenants to produce a sense of community throughout a scheme is a great way to create a cohesive venue experience. Holding regular events to draw the community in will attract higher footfall, resulting in higher sales for retailers. Events are a great way to build awareness and drive hype around a scheme, effective marketing strategies can create engagement before, during, and after; driving maximum awareness and increasing the number of visitors to the scheme.
Social media can really amplify and reinforce a centre’s unique offerings. It is important to engage with consumers online and offline – 72% of the population actively use social media, and two-thirds of us now own a smartphone, which shows how big the market is. Creating a social media strategy to engage with your market and constantly build your brand image is vital. Consumers can tweet, take photos, comment and share their thoughts on their experience instantly – if you can influence consumers to promote positively about a scheme, it’s free marketing! If the scheme creates interesting visuals, shares new information or promotes offers, it will increase the chances of consumers sharing the centre’s content, which will reach a much wider audience!
Print advertisements such as magazines, buses and billboards are a great way to keep a scheme front of mind. Social media may be increasing, but it is important to use a range of channels to ensure the whole market is being targeted.
Collate and analyse consumer data – knowing your customers can be one of the most powerful tools for Marketers, it is critical to constantly research the market and analyse data which can then be utilised in marketing strategies! The depth and detail of information that is now available is amazing and an exceptional opportunity to tailor and target your marketing efforts to reap the most success possible. You can get insights into consumer’s attitudes and monitor movements, allowing you to then forecast trends and stay ahead. Customers need to be at the heart of all marketing strategies and using data lets you understand why they visit you, be it; destination, locality or purpose driven – allowing you to target your market tactically and successfully!
In addition to analysing data, it is important to gather personal data and implement direct marketing campaigns to engage with customers and build loyalty; send offers, event information, updates on new tenants or developments, share CSR stories or ‘green’ schemes – anything your centre is doing that will interest and attract consumers. Gift cards and loyalty points are also great ways to retain customer loyalty and to capture data.
Marketing retail space needs to be done innovatively, on the right platform, with the right message, at the right time. So many inventive developments can be seen in shopping centres across the globe and these are something to brag about – they need to be marketed effectively so consumers know what offerings are available and choose your centre over competitors.
Katrina Whitehead, Senior Marketing Executive, Foundation Recruitment