The advent of online retail stores and e-commerce businesses have stolen the limelight from brick and mortar businesses. Shopping mall operators now have to work harder to attract customers and increase foot traffic forcing you to devise unique and innovative strategies to grab the attention of your audience. This becomes particularly crucial during peak sales periods and important holidays like Christmas, Valentines’ Day, etc.
Gone are the days when you could lure customers just by offering attractive discounts and freebies. It is becoming increasingly difficult to match the incredible deals that are being offered by e-commerce businesses. In such a scenario, you have to brainstorm and develop new tactics to boost audience engagement and foot traffic. With the Christmas holidays lurking just around the corner, here are a few new-age mall entertainment ideas.
1. Theme-based Decor
Nothing grabs eyeballs like startling mall decor based on the latest trends. The key is to leverage these trends and transform your shopping mall into a themed experience. This helps stir up a conversation about the mall and, in turn, piques the curiosity of the shoppers. It is, however, crucial to have a deep understanding of your potential customers.
It is also essential to use your imagination and break away from the cliched seasonal decoration used by most shopping malls. For instance, during Christmas, don’t just restrict your decor to a huge Christmas trees and fairy lights. You can build a mock igloo where children can get fake tattoos and get photographed with Santa Claus too.
Image via Pop Events
Apart from major holidays, you can target other occasions, such as a popular sports events or movie release. Let’s say the latest installment of a movie franchise is about to come out. You can transform the entire mall to resemble the movie’s sets and encourage shoppers to get their photographs clicked at various points. Likewise, you can draw inspiration from popular video games and apps.
Image via Geek Culture
You can take this up a notch by hiring themed entertainers to interact with the visitors. For instance, you can have a giant snowman roaming across the mall. This can be particularly useful for keeping children busy while their parents are shopping. It is also a great way to usher in the festive spirit and ensure that your customers have a memorable shopping experience.
Image via Scarlett Entertainment
2. Stage Shows
Another effective technique of creating buzz is to announce a special stage show or performance. From theatre productions and musicals to fashion shows and a circus - the possibilities are endless. Such performances are a great way to attract families who are always on the lookout for fun things to do over the weekends.
It is, however, crucial to ensure that the performance is of the highest quality. In today’s age of fleeting attention spans, mediocre performances will quickly disengage your customers. Additionally, you should pay attention to other details such as sets, costumes, props, lighting, etc. As with mall decor, you can also announce shows that resonate with the latest trends and holidays.
Image via Scarlett Entertainment
3. Live Entertainment
Despite the rapid technological advancement in the entertainment industry, nothing beats the thrill of witnessing a live performance by your favorite artists. Standup acts, musical concerts, magic shows, poetry recitals - there are a plethora of live entertainment options that can be offered to shoppers. The key is to invite performers who will appeal to your target audience.
For instance, if your mall attracts fun-loving millennials, a standup comedian will immediately strike the right chord with them. Likewise, if you want to lure families with kids, a magic show would be your best bet. Make sure you announce the event in advance and actively promote it to draw in huge crowds. You can even use proximity marketing to connect with shoppers in real-time and send updates about events happening on a particular day. For this, all you need is guest WiFi and a proximity marketing solution.
Image via Travel Mamas
4. Photo Booths
One of the best ways to keep mall visitors engaged is to install an innovative photo booth. It appeals to children and adults alike and is a great technique to spark a conversation about your mall. Additionally, it serves as a great way to turn a simple outing into memorable and quality family time. This, in turn, encourages shoppers to revisit your mall.
Make sure the photo booth is equipped with quirky props that resonate with the latest trends and holidays. You can restrict it to a simple selfie booth or enhance the experience by hiring a professional photographer. You can even collaborate with experts who offer unique services such as extreme close-up photos of the human eye. You should also encourage people to share the pictures on their social media profiles and tag your mall.
Image via Calgary Herald
5. Pop-up Shops
A pop-up store is an excellent way of boosting foot traffic by harnessing the FOMO (fear of missing out) psyche of today’s shoppers. The temporary establishment creates a sense of urgency and even helps create a buzz through online and offline channels. You can up your pop-up game by making it interactive and offering additional services to visitors.
For instance, you can create a pop-up salon that gives head-to-toe makeovers to customers. Likewise, you can set up a kiosk that lets people try bite-sized samples of a popular restaurant’s new menu. The key is to offer something that isn’t available in regular outlets and stores. You can also create an exclusive pop-up for kids to check out merchandise from their favorite superhero movies.
Image via The Moodie Davitt Report
6. Urban Safari
Do you want to gift mall visitors with a unique experience that will linger in their memory for a long time? Then you should transform your shopping mall into a themed jungle and hire experts who can guide visitors through the mall. The idea is to give visitors an adventurous safari-like experience that lets them observe humans in their natural habitat. This is one of the best ways of turning shopping into a fun family outing.
Image via Scarlett Entertainment
It is, however, crucial to hire trained personnel who have experience in managing huge crowds. Additionally, you should develop a system to ensure uninterrupted communication between these experts, mall operators, and even tenants for coordinating a response in case of an emergency to ensure the safety of visitors. This can be achieved by using a mass notification system that includes features like Two Way Chat and multi-language support if your mall includes a diverse workforce.
Today’s consumers don’t visit malls just to fulfill their shopaholic fantasies. A visit to the mall is more about going out with your friends and family and spending quality time with them. It is, therefore, essential to implement the right mall entertainment ideas that will tug at the heartstrings of your visitors. You should focus on transforming their shopping experience into an unforgettable outing.
Do you have any other unique mall entertainment ideas? Share them with me in the comments below.