In an age of Amazon, shopping center marketers need to think and market differently especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Only 32% of shoppers go to stores because they enjoy the experience; more than three-quarters try to avoid stores altogether, according to the Salesforce Connected Shopper Report. Shopping centers must drive shoppers in by creating a unique selling proposition especially as many consumers are hesitant to venture out during this current pandemic.
Of course, not all businesses are falling victim to Amazon; think fitness centers, auto parts, hair/beauty stylists, dollar stores, and home improvement. In fact, even luxury brands like Tiffany’s is not feeling the total Amazon strategy; many customers fear cheap knockoffs being sold online.
Even if your shopping mall does not fall under these categories, there is still hope for you to thrive despite the Amazon onslaught -- or better yet, make it work to your advantage.
This article will focus on who is doing it well and tips for breaking through the Amazon noise and even thrive during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Deliver faster than Amazon
For all of Amazon’s modern supply chain, it’s only as fast as its delivery to your location. Unlike online shopping, you can provide instant gratification and personal service at your shopping mall. Just like that, customers can walk out of your shopping mall with their purchase. No waiting -- not even overnight -- and no shipping charges.
With this said, it’s best to appeal and market to the consumers who live closest to your shopping mall. Work toward becoming a presence in their lives, with locally flavored advertising, and in-store specials.
Turn it around on the same day with the help of third-party delivery apps.
Encourage and help your shopping mall tenants stay in front of your online sales by offering same-day delivery within a certain area of your location.
Help your tenants partner with delivery apps that sync up with and constantly update their inventory information. The restaurant industry has done this very successfully with third-party delivery service apps like GrubHub, Door Dash and Uber Eats.
The name of the game here is integration -- use software that streamlines all of your delivery apps as one platform, one team. This way, when an order is placed, there is no confusion, miscommunication or double work. Instead, it’s seamless, and you can get your product to your customer’s door on the same day.
Encourage your tenants to team up with you
As a landlord, you want the same success your tenants do. Encourage your tenants to stay in constant communication, and don’t be afraid to ask them for suggestions on how to grab shoppers' attention especially as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread across the U.S. You also may be able to offer strategies that can increase foot traffic and revenue that may not have occurred to your tenants.
Suggest that each store in the center take a turn getting a spotlight (be it daily, weekly or monthly). The chosen store can benefit from additional in-store advertising and social media mentions.
It’s true that landlords often leave it to retailers to make decisions on how to increase traffic and revenue; however landlords hold additional keys to overall center success such as using a shopping mall center marketing software solution like M360.With M360, you have an end-to-end shopping mall marketing solution which streamlines multi-channel marketing execution, delivers personalized messages to shoppers at the most influential moments, and provides user-friendly reporting on KPIs that matter.
Make it personal
Amazon is almost a completely automated operation, unlike you, your shopping mall, and your staff, which can offer personal services onsite. Introduce in-store services such as personalized shopping assistance and excellent customer service. Be sure each store's staff is knowledgeable and friendly, something that Amazon can’t match on a personal level.
This is nothing new when it comes to excellent retail service, and it still works like a charm: make every customer feel special, welcome, and important. Remember them when they return. Invite your most loyal customers to special sales.
Get to know your customers' likes and preferences by building shopper profiles. That same customer may have to order two of everything on Amazon, to make sure they get the right size, style or color. They won’t have to bother with that inconvenience if they have you to help them pick out the right choices the first time.
Make them an offer they can’t refuse.
Of course, you don’t want to underprice Amazon to the point where you could face going out of business, but your shopping mall tenants have the power to make prices more palatable to the customer. See what their product is selling for online and if there is a way to make the price a bit more affordable. You all may lose a little money up front, but you may win a loyal customer in the long run and make a lot more money in the end.
This strategy could work especially well for your most loyal shopping mall customers. Segment your buyers so that you are sending special offers to the people who most appreciate your business. A move like that may also attract new loyal customers.
Amazon may not lose to your efforts any time soon, but you can take steps to stay in step with this mega-retail giant especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. It wouldn’t be the first time that David stood up to Goliath.