As COVID-19-related social distancing restrictions ease nationally, malls across the country now face a new challenge: bringing risk-averse shoppers back after a year of online ordering and curbside pickup. A key is establishing and maintaining constant communication in the modern methods today’s shoppers prefer, according to “20 Shopping Center Marketing Ideas to Bring Back Foot Traffic,” a new white paper released by proptech firm Pocketstop.
“Malls were already facing challenges before the pandemic in the light of e-commerce, which is why we produced a white paper in early 2020 that offered recommendations regarding bringing shoppers in by forming strong relationships with brands and stores,” said Daniel Wagstaff, CEO of Pocketstop. “COVID-19 disrupted these relationships further when non-essential stores were closed for public safety. Now, as life and business are slowly returning to normal, we felt it was imperative to update our data-driven conclusions to help our clients reconnect with their consumers and make them feel safe returning to malls.”
Among the 20 ideas are the following: creating a strong online presence to connect with the customer; maintaining a well-segmented database to implement a comprehensive communication strategy; implementing text message marketing strategies; investing in wellness programs including informing shoppers of steps being taken to ease their concerns and segmenting the audience, both for current and prospective customers.
A strong online presence, the white paper notes, recognizes that even the reported two in three (64%) of Americans who still prefer to shop in physical stores want information about centers via the Web. The information can work both ways, since the same channels should allow the center to gather feedback to create personalized messaging based on detailed shopper profiles. Social media must be kept updated, but “Don’t rely on social media alone for broadcasting important messages or information you want your customers to see in a short amount of time,” the report warns.
For that reason, the reports says, a comprehensive omnichannel communication strategy is vital.
“Being able to broadcast your message at the right time and reach a wide audience cost-effectively are two of the most important prerequisites for success,” according to the report. “Without a comprehensive communication strategy, implemented through a modern solution with a wide array of features, getting in touch with customers and informing them about your offers is highly difficult.”
Paul Bubny serves as Senior Content Director for Connect Commercial Real Estate, a role to which he brings 13-plus years’ experience covering the commercial real estate industry and 30-plus years in business-to-business journalism.
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