THE LAST OPPORTUNITY TO INFLUENCE
Malls are not simply a place to shop, they are a place to spend time with friends, share opinion, enjoy a coffee, meal or even a movie and the mall destination is associated with enjoyment and social fulfilment.
Malls can also be a brand owner’s dream environment when it comes to advertising. Faced with a concentrated number of aspirational brands in a confined space and with proximity to purchase, advertising messages can have a profound effect on shoppers. Typically within a mall between a third and half of shoppers will go ahead and purchase something on impulse and our own research shows that those who are there to relax, socialise or browse are even more susceptible to being influenced by advertising messaging. It is also the last opportunity for an advertiser to reach consumers before they pass through a retailer’s door, cementing any previous campaign exposure firmly in the consumers mind right before they make a decision to purchase something.
Of course nowadays malls have become much more sophisticated in their approach in attracting, retaining and encouraging interaction amongst shoppers. Limited Spaces’ portfolio is concentrated into the top 100 UK malls and it is these premium flagship malls that are reinvesting into their centres to enhance the user experience. Bluewater launched its events centre Glow in 2011 and many others have schemes in the pipeline such as Metro Centres new MetrOasis 15,000 sq/ft catering offering and Lakesides £180m redevelopment that will encompass 40 new stores, an integrated transport hub and dining and leisure facilities. These schemes all aim to broaden catchments and lengthen the time visitors spend in the mall by enhancing the mall visitor’s experience.
Another development within malls is Click & Collect which is proving increasingly popular amongst both retailers and consumers alike, driving people into stores – the solution that bridges the gap between online and in store shopping is providing shoppers the best of both scenarios by eliminating the frustrations surrounding ordering goods online. Delivery and return charges, not being able to physically see and touch goods before trying and delivery times are all cited as reasons why shoppers are preferring to make their purchases in store with many prepared to pay a premium to avoid these factors. An Experian report revealed that sixty percent of shoppers were frustrated by deliveries arriving whilst they weren’t in, with the under 35’s finding this a particular concern. The same report found that between 80-90% of shoppers said that online influences their purchasing to some degree but many switch to in store to make the final purchase, in fact every single category had a greater volume of research done online than it did purchasing. Being able to speak directly to an informed sales person is not the only other attraction with store purchases, with Click & Collect shoppers can research and select products online, search for a local store with stock and simply pick it up at a convenient time and the in store brand experience is still maintained. With retailers like John Lewis, New Look, Debenhams and Game already offering the service and others, such as the Arcadia group, introducing it retailers are increasingly realising the potential of the service and shoppers are voting with their feet.
So, malls have undergone a great deal of development in recent years with focus shifting away from opening new centres and refocusing on the user experience. They are energetic, exciting places for both brands and visitors alike and with Limited Space’s unsurpassed network of malls brands have the opportunity to create a valuable dialogue with some of the most desirable audiences in the UK.