Over the decades, shopping center marketing has experienced a wide array of changes and improvements, and with every new technology or industry development, business owners have had to amend their strategies in order to keep up with competitors. Whether we are talking about new shopping centers being built in your area, a shift in customer demand, or the need to keep up with new products and services, shopping center marketing has to provide solutions for all of them. Shopping centers were built on the principle of offering a place where most goods and services can be found to the residents of a community. Yet, nowadays, there are numerous shopping centers servicing the same communities, making it more difficult for shopping center managers to keep up with both customer needs and their competitors. Therefore, methodically focusing on shopping center marketing is mandatory for all companies that want to stay in business.
In 2017, there were approximately 116,000 retail centers in general spread across the United States, as opposed to only 30,000 in 1970. Thus, keeping up with shopping center marketing trends and any other progress has become a major interest for all industry actors. This aspect has drawn the attention of marketers, leading to the development of marketing strategies that perfectly target the shopping center industry, in accordance with its demands, and those of its customers. Today, shopping center marketing is no longer about advertising goods and services in the mall’s parking lot or taking out space in the local newspaper. Yet finding the strategy that best works for you depends on more than just being aware you need to implement something because others are doing it. Being able to custom-tailor your marketing strategies in accordance with your goals and objectives, but also with the challenges you are facing will improve your overall success.
Retail Shopping Center Marketing Trends You Can’t Ignore and How to Implement Them
According to a report put together by the Board of Trustees of the International Council of Shopping Centers, the future of shopping centers revolves around aspects such as the unification of online retail with brick-and-mortar locations, a more personalized and intimate relationship with the customer, or returning to the concept of shopping malls serving communities. With these key factors in mind, retail shopping center marketing and retail real estate are undergoing a wide array of changes. Based on industry predictions, the shopping centers of tomorrow will focus more on the needs of customers and the community it serves, which is why, in order to manage a successful business, mangers need to keep up with trends, especially when it comes to marketing. Further, we are going to go over the 6 retail shopping center marketing trends you can’t ignore and how to implement them for effective marketing campaigns.
1. Promotional Campaigns Involving Showrooming and Webrooming
People often think of shopping malls as places where they can do their regular shopping, share a meal with family and friends, and perhaps enjoy a fun activity—but one of the main issues customers face is not being able to browse online for products or more information. Also, products that they may see in the store are rarely available for online purchase later, which is why the concepts of ‘showrooming’ and ‘webrooming’ and becoming more and more popular within the retail shopping center marketing industry.
According to the same ICSC report, 90% of all U.S. retail sales still happen in brick-and-mortar stores—a statistic which is not at all aligned with the needs of customers in our eventful times. But what exactly does it mean? Showrooming means allowing your customers to see products in the stores which they can later purchase online, while webrooming means browsing online to later purchase in stores. Discussing with the stores within the shopping center and aligning marketing strategies with these aspects in mind would put you ahead of your competitors, and it would help you improve brand identity. Using proximity marketing and a segmenting audience strategy will improve your results.
2. Marketing for Events that Revolve around the Local Community
One of the best way to let your customers know that your shopping center is still significant as a brick-and-mortar location and cannot be replaced by on online marketplace, is to organize and promote events that emphasis the importance of the local communities, and get people interested in both your brands, but also in connecting with others. Whether you are promoting goods or services through these events, make sure your customers feel appreciated by personalizing your marketing strategies—and also that your events provide entertainment for those who attend them.
3. Marketing through Digital Touchpoints and Other New Technologies
Modern technologies such as digital touchpoints or augmented reality have found the perfect way of integrating digital information with physical environments, which is why they are excellent marketing solutions for shopping centers managers who want to stay one step ahead of the competition. It is estimated that by the end of 2019, the VR and AR market revenue of worldwide will amount to $16.8 billion, with AR global market size projections for 2025 in the amount of 198 billion. Thus, keeping up with this trend and implementing marketing strategies around it will let your customers see that you are not afraid of modern technology, and also, that you are attentive when it comes to their needs.
4. Niche Marketing Campaigns
Although the general understanding is that shopping centers are too big to cater to niche needs, nowadays, customers are showing more interest in niches such as sports, wellness, and even luxury shopping. If your shopping center is already offering this services or products, make sure that your marketing strategies are reflecting it, and that you have thoroughly drafted customer demographics upon which to base your plans. For example, if there are sports stores in your shopping mall, and also a fitness/wellness center, you can create promotions involving those businesses.
5. Promoting Experiences, Not Just Products
Ever since ancient times, the idea of shopping centers revolved around serving the local communities, and becoming a space in which people to all the products they needed, but also to enjoy themselves. And even though modern times might have shifted the emphasis on products and their promotion, currently, both customers and marketers are becoming more and more interested in the concept of the shopping center as a wholesome experience. When shopping centers are found everywhere, and customers can choose which one to visit, drafting your marketing strategies with promoting experiences in mind is mandatory. All other businesses offer products, most of them the same as you, therefore, in order to maintain the interest of your customers you need to offer them something unique.
6. Personalized Marketing such as Subscriptions or Loyalty Programs
Customers today are more interested in receiving personalized offers than they are in browsing through what retailers are sending and having to choose for themselves—mostly due to a lack of time, but also because they need to feel appreciated by the brands they interact with. Therefore, the sixth, and perhaps most important, retail shopping center marketing trend you can’t ignore is always making sure you are personalizing your offers. The best way of achieving this is by combining text message marketing with proximity marketing, and drafting your strategies based on a comprehensive customer demographic. Also, make sure that you are requesting feedback from your customers on all your retail shopping center marketing campaigns.
Keeping up with marketing trends is mandatory for all industries, but in the case of retail shopping centers, given the rapidity with which this sector shifts—and also the needs of customers—not doing it means losing customers, a decreased marketing ROI, and being surpassed by competitors. Implementing the 6 trends presented above, and always updating your marketing strategies in accordance not only with the needs of customers and company goals, but also with new industry developments will significantly contribute to the overall success of your shopping center.