Despite What You’ve Heard: Brick-and-Mortar Shopping Centres Are Here to Stay
Use your space to create valuable experiences that drive loyalty and conversion.
E-commerce has seen rapid growth over the past few years, reshaping how consumers and retailers interact. However, this new generation of shoppers continues to value more traditional shopping experiences. A recent study in the US found that 50% of millennial shoppers still prefer buying from physical stores. With the other half shopping online, it's essential for brick and mortar retailers to have an online presence. The good news is: digital complements physical.
Retailers have the ability to convert shoppers from online researchers to in-store purchasers. Argos offer click and collect, Home Depot staff sell know how, Urban Outfitters have fresh ground coffee and a place to socialise. Give the customer a reason to journey from laptop to shop. My favourite example is that of iconic Canadian outdoor clothing brand Kanuk who recreate extreme real-world conditions for shoppers. Kanuk have a cold room kept at -13˚F for customers to test the quality and warmth of their clothing before they buy. Essentially, all are all offering the same thing: experience.
Build a unique experience, one that adds value to your service. To do this, start with the “why”. Kanuk customers don't need a jacket, they need warmth so they can enjoy being outdoors. To demonstrate the value of the product, bring the outdoors to them. Shopping centres are a collection of experiences that add value to the customer journey. As convenient as it seems, Digital doesn’t give the shopper a tangible experience. Capture their attention online, convert it to action offline.
Clients, not customers.
Who your customers are is key to the experience you provide. Each is a potential client with individual needs and desires. In order to excel as a physical retailer, your priority should be shifting to creating and maintaining a relationship and trust with each of these clients.
When you view your customers as clients, it creates a sense of value and appreciation for the people who visit your store. A strong relationship with each client will encourage store loyalty and return visits. 46% of shoppers are much more likely to make a purchase from a retailer that cares about their needs and tailors their shopping experience to suit their own personal requirements.
Rethink your space
Recent trends and changes in retail are also affecting how brick and mortar stores use their space, with a huge increase in the popularity of temporary retail space and pop-up stores. Shopping centres are fast becoming a bridge between online and offline retail, with online retailers bringing their products to life by renting out temporary retail space inside shopping centres. Temporary retail space and pop-up retail are becoming increasingly popular as retailers want new ways to create buzz around their product or brand, as well as engage with new customers.
Shopping centres using vacant space in this strategic way are reaping the benefits. First and foremost, they are generating revenue on otherwise empty space. Additionally, they are benefitting from the footfall generated by the new tenant.
Experiential and engagement marketing is a shopping centre’s most deadly tool. It allows them to create meaningful and memorable experiences for their clients - something that cannot be obtained by an online retailer in the same way. Take full advantage of retailer leasing opportunities. These can open your shopping centre up to new opportunities, as well as increase footfall. Finally, forget the word ‘customers’. They are now your clients, each of them with unique perspectives, needs and desires. Take the time to understand them, and you can build a unique and memorable shopping experience that will succeed any challenge posed in this developing phase of the retail industry.