While it may seem premature to be thinking beyond COVID-19, we know it will pass. Australia’s latest figures show promising signs of a flattened curve, however it is likely to be some time before we’re completely free to get back to life as we knew it. Restrictions will likely be lifted slowly, and incremental relaxing of isolation measures will be repeated for many weeks/months until the government is confident we can go freely about our business. Despite the uncertain road ahead, I’m confident that shopping centres will again see strong traffic and sales and will once again become the heart of the community.
Shopping Centres have been, and always will be, a critical place for local communities to socialise. Many people are feeling the effects of social isolation and are craving interaction. Beyond the pandemic, centres have a great opportunity to capitalise on encouraging customers back to spending at bricks-and-mortar retail.
Traditionally, this would be done with a series of brand campaigns, activations and tactical sales drivers, but we are no longer operating in traditional times.
Short-term tactics and what has been done before will not be enough – retailers will be relying on Centre Marketing more than ever for support.
Will COVID-19 change everything?
History tells us it probably won’t, and people will return to old habits. However, there’s no denying we will see harsh economic impacts and a significant decrease in discretionary spending matched with a fear of immediately returning to crowded places.
Finding, connecting with and rewarding loyal customers will be critical.
Re-engaging customers long term, and engaging at all points of the customer lifecycle, will be key to thriving after the coronavirus retail downturn. Shopping habits have been broken, online purchasing reinforced (and perhaps, discovered by those previously yet to embrace it), and customers will need continual reminders and incentives to return to their local Centre on multiple occasions every week.
To stabilise as quickly as possible centres will need to further invest in and analyse:
- digital channels,
- customer insights, and
- offer relevant, personalised marketing.
Driving foot traffic, generating likes, and collecting email addresses alone can no longer be the goal of Centre Marketing; strategies must go a step further and personalise engagement with a view to send sales directly to each retailer. Reinforcement of behaviours should include offering and tracking rewards for visiting the centre and spending money.
Learning from more than 120,000 Norbit customer accounts and millions of shopper data points collected over five years, we’ve found that this is best achieved through:
- Offering rewards for visitation and spending money
- Exclusive discounts and offers
- Promotional competitions based on purchasing behaviour, and
- Incentives to collect more customer information.
This data can be used to create real-time targeted and personalised sales promotions and empower centres to reach customers wherever they are, allow them to reserve an offer, and drive them directly to your retailers to collect.
For example, using data collected, centres that leverage Norbit can send rewards to customers based on their age, demographic, most shopped at category or stores, birth date and more, and can do so with any combination of filters.
Unlike other channels, these campaigns are received directly and willingly by the customer on their smartphone, and the centre can track when the offer was reserved, when they visited the centre, and when they redeemed in-store.
The richer the data, the better equipped the centre is to target campaigns that drive follow up visits and sales.
As the industry faces a harsh unknown and marketing is put on temporary hold, it’s a good opportunity to begin forward planning and invest marketing dollars into a robust, ongoing engagement platform which enables and tracks sales-driving campaigns. Building your foundation for loyalty and stabilisation can start now, placing you in the best position to support your retailers and claim back your customers as soon as possible.
Norbit is a White Labelled Engagement platform designed to collect better shopper data and drive loyalty for Shopping Centres. Leveraged by many of Australia’s leading shopping centre groups, Norbit can aid in promoting your centre and your retailers by driving customer engagement by tracking where individuals spend their money, what content best engages them, and collecting detailed biographic data with a simple to implement SaaS solution.
We work with many of Australia’s leading landlords such as Mirvac, Fraser’s Property and QICGRE, each of these property managers have always been focused on customer loyalty and experience – essential ingredients at all times and even more crucial as the shopping centre industry recovers from the pandemic. Learn more about Norbit and our Special SCN Offer here