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Shopping Center Messaging to Shoppers during the COVID-19 Pandemic

3 minute read - Posted by Daniel Wagstaff on Apr 27, 2020 1:31:23 PM

Just because your shoppers aren’t currently visiting your shopping center, doesn’t mean you can’t reach out to them. You can’t afford shoppers forgetting about the great things your tenants and the center have to offer because you didn’t remind them.

Additionally, don’t assume you should stop acquiring subscribers! Now, more than ever, you should be running acquisition campaigns for mobile numbers, emails, and social followers so that you can communicate with as many shoppers as possible today and when you re-open.

From website and social media platforms to emails and shopping mall marketing software, you should be using all of your communication channels to keep your shoppers engaged. It is, however, worth mentioning that your customers will likely look to you for support and assurance during these challenging times. Therefore, you should be particularly thoughtful with your messages during this pandemic.

1. Highlight Open Tenants

Ask shoppers to text in a keyword to receive a comprehensive list of tenants who are still open and to receive regular updates regarding their COVID-19 operating details (modified hours, ordering and pickup process, etc.).

2. Share Community Resources

Your center is a part of the community, and some in the community are struggling more than others. Many of your customers might be grappling with pay cuts, layoffs, debts, etc. Some of them may even be struggling with mental health issues that have been worsened by the panic and uncertainty surrounding the pandemic. Fortunately, various organizations and good samaritans have stepped forward to help.

Reach out to your databases and offer resources for those in need and ways to support for those who are able to donate. Thanks to popular TV shows and celebrity social media, many are aware of the big organizations raising money to help in COVID-19, but local channels are often less well known, and sometimes are more effective in providing fast and direct help to the people in your local community.

Send links to local resources such as:

  • local food banks,
  • local health care worker support,
  • local homeless shelters,
  • mental health helplines, and
  • local charities

3. Spread Hope and Optimism

It isn’t mandatory to include COVID-19-related facts in all your pandemic-related communications. Your customers are probably already getting their daily dose of information from news channels and social media. You can surprise them with messaging reminding them that this is temporary, and everyone is fighting together. Such messages are particularly helpful in staying connected with your customers. Below is a list of fun home activities that you can include in your messages to help break up the monotony of quarantining for your shoppers.

4. Share Your Reopening Strategy

Here’s the thing - this pandemic isn’t permanent. It might last longer than expected, but it will eventually pass. We know you are working hard on your reopening strategy – so be sure to share it with your customers, irrespective of whether you’re reopening next week or in six months.

As social distancing becomes the new buzzword, people will be skeptical about stepping out of their homes even after the pandemic. That is why you must let your shoppers know about the measures you’re taking to ensure their safety and wellbeing. From implementing social distancing in stores to frequently sanitizing common spaces - make sure you highlight every step. This will help put your customers at ease and, in turn, encourage them to visit whenever you fully re-open.

Assure your shoppers of the things you are doing to prepare for a safe re-opening. Ask them to text in a keyword that replies with a link to your website and enrolls them in alerts to receive center updates.

  • Placing blue tape 6 feet apart in lines for registers and throughout high traffic areas
  • Spacing out foot court tables
  • Making janitorial services more robust and more visible
  • Place hand sanitizer throughout the center
  • Posting reminders for shopper best practices (stay home if you are sick, cough and sneeze into your elbow, wash your hands frequently, etc.)

Final Thoughts

The ongoing pandemic has left many marketers unsure of what to say. Therefore, many databases are going untouched, halting the conversation to radio silence. The worst thing you can do is to stop engaging with your shoppers. A little pivot in your messaging can go a long way when it comes to opening your doors again.

Has your shopping center developed a pandemic marketing and communication strategy for shoppers? Share your views in the comments section below.