What could possibly be more important than price and product? Try customer experience (seriously, try it!).
The survey numbers support this theory:
- A 2020 Frost & Sullivan study found that customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.
Drilling down further, a shortcut definition for customer experience is personalization. Successful personalization of your marketing will make customers feel valued and appreciated.
- 84% of consumers say being treated like a person, not a number, is very important to winning their business. - Salesforce
- 63% of consumers say personalization is important to them. - IDC.
- 66% of consumers say encountering content that isn’t personalized would stop them from making a purchase. - CMO by Adobe
- More than 50% of consumers are willing to share information on products they like in order to get personalized discounts. - Retail TouchPoints
Your shopping center can take a number of approaches to enhance customer engagement, thereby deepening the customer experience.
- Gain new customer/shoppers
- Improve average sales price
- Increase customer visit frequency
- Increase customer engagement
- Expand/connect existing customer profile data
How Your Mall Can Utilize Customer Engagement
To not only survive but thrive, your shopping center has to embrace customer engagement in a big way. In light of the Amazon revolution, you can add a variety of family attractions and customer-engagement activities.
Even with a small budget, you can take their lead and make it work for your center. Here are just a few customer engagement ideas:
Embrace “retailtainment”One strategy is to entertain visitors as well as give them opportunities to shop. You can do this by turning your shopping center into a combination shopping mall and amusement park such as including an outdoor skating rink and indoor water park.
Set up pop-ups
Introduce shoppers to “first-to-market” concepts through pop-up stores. The novelty of pop-up stores peak customer interest and increase foot traffic. Online brands that don’t have a brick-and-mortar presence can introduce themselves to the public through a pop up and offer interactive experiences. Well-known national brands like Casper Mattress and Peloton bikes can set up a pop-experience so that customers can try their products.
Make peace with Amazon
Install lockers so that Amazon can deliver its products to its online customers. Those customers come to the center to retrieve their order, and may stick around to shop for more. One of the benefits is to reduce theft by porch thieves, who snatch Amazon packages away from customer’s doorsteps. Amazon’s Treasure Truck, which offers Amazon Prime users a discounted daily deal, can stop at your mall for its Prime users. Customers may be engaged with Amazon, but the truck’s presence helps them to engage with the mall.
Hire a “digital concierge”
Customers like online shopping because, among many other things, it saves them time. Use social media and texting by leveraging a shopping mall center marketing solution, to connect with your customers and give them advice, directions to stores, restaurant recommendations, gift ideas, among other ways that customers will find this engagement helpful. Be sure your concierge is an actual human being, and make sure the response time is lightning quick.
Offer free attractions
Regardless of the size of your shopping center, you can benefit from the free-attraction strategy. Skate the Star is an outdoor skating rink at a mall in Minnesota that does not charge people to skate. If they bring their own skates, they can rent for free, or donate to the Boys and Girls Club for a skate rental. This brings customers (old and new) who may have only originally wanted to drop by just to skate. Think about offering free fun to your customers, even if it’s on a smaller scale.
Encourage your stores to mix retail and entertainment/customer engagement
Suggest social media walls where shoppers can show off their interaction with your tenants’ products for their social media pages. Your stores can offer parties and free stuff, invite in authors and musicians, or set up an arts- and-crafts table or a free coffee bar/hangout.
Customer engagement gives your customers a reason to visit your center and keep coming back. An in-person experience is the one weapon in your arsenal that Amazon and other online services could never match.