Scentre Group’s latest customer update announces the company’s intentions to make a COVID-Safe Santa experience available to all customers across its Westfield Living Centres that will reflect the relevant health advice for each region in Australia and New Zealand.
“We’re committed to delivering a COVID-Safe, festive and enjoyable experience for our customers this Christmas,” said Phil McAveety, Scentre Group Director Customer Experience. “Of course, Santa will be a big part of Christmas at Westfield but in a different way to reflect health advice, as the community would expect.”
McAveety stated that 2020 has reinforced the importance of community and the role Westfield Living Centres play in its customers’ daily lives, adding that Scentre Group has followed health advice and remained open every day throughout the pandemic to deliver essential and valued services to its customers.
“Our customers have told us that Christmas will take on an even greater significance this year,” he said. “They’re most looking forward to spending time with family and friends, enjoying decorations and the festive atmosphere, and giving and receiving gifts.
“We’ll bring to life the magic customers expect of us, while prioritising the wellbeing of our customers, retail partners and our employees.”
McAveety said that this means reimagining some of the much-loved Westfield traditions while also introducing new experiences.
“We know young families are already counting down to the arrival of Santa. Online bookings and contactless payments will be critical to our delivery of Santa, Sensitive Santa and Pet Photography,” he explained. “We’ve redesigned the Santa photo so families are sitting at a safe distance from Santa, with more decorations and props to make it fun and memorable.”
He said that due to the impact of COVID-19, the vast majority of customers have indicated that they also expect their in-store Christmas shopping behaviours will change. Many have said they will start shopping earlier, make use of extended trading hours and take advantage of sales events, discounts and offers.
“The festive season is a time where we provide more opportunities for our retailers to connect with their customers,” said McAveety. “Black Friday will take on a new format at Westfield this year. Some 75% of customers have told us they intend to take advantage of the sales event in-centre, while an even split said they expect to purchase in-store versus online.”
He explained how the continued convergence of physical store networks and digital engagement with brands means online and in-store will play an equal role in the customer research and purchase journey this Christmas.
“Importantly, customers have also reinforced the value of shopping at their local Westfield centre; identifying try-before-you-buy and having access to a variety of brands, products and offers in the one place as two key reasons they intend to shop with us,” he said. “It’s really pleasing to see customer confidence continuing to build as we adapt to a COVID-safe normal within our Westfield Living Centres.
“After what has been a difficult year for many, we feel encouraged by the attitudes expressed by our customers and are looking forward to making Christmas magical at Westfield with every visit,” McAveety concluded.