By now (or, at least, before the pandemic), you must have heard this type of thinking countless times: retail is now all about the experience. We’ve been through a lot in the past year, but it’s still true. The way your customer experiences your mall is everything. A good, positive customer experience can define your future. Yet it’s all part of a learning process: even a middling-to-bad experience can provide you with valuable insights that can allow for new ways to improve customer service, staffing, and tenant sales.
It’s looking pretty likely that the old-time mall experience may be gone forever. Mall traffic is on the decline as customers opt for e-commerce. The fight for customers, and all the while keeping them happy, has never been more challenging and more vital. However, it’s not a losing battle or even a lost cause. New challenges like these only bring new opportunities.
Here are a few of the keys to success in the battle for positive customer experience:
Build a detailed shopper profile of each customer. The main benefit here: you can send them extremely relevant messages that could make their shopping journey a success.
Create a customer journey map of how your customers are moving through your center. This strategy is nothing short of a winning engagement opportunity. Attract them with product displays, surprise discounts, flash sales and promotions that may be a short walk away (even in other stores). The customer will more than likely appreciate the thoughtfulness, as well as the suggestions that seem to be tailored directly to them, (and their money savings).
Learn the best times to offer sales, when tenants can replenish stock and place staff in the areas that are most likely to encourage interaction with customers.
Understand your customers’ journey through your center and you may uncover a world of what up until now had been missed opportunities.
How it works:
It’s all in the analytics, which can be provided for you through Wi-Fi and basic insights:
General customer activity (including time and day of visit)
Use of the customer’s mobile device as they travel through the mall
Data pulled from completed customer preference forms
Customer interaction with attraction campaigns
Target your messaging to customers with specific messages that will resonate with them. Here, your shopping center’s Wi-Fi can be your best friend as you trigger and link your message distribution as the customers move through your center.
You’ll personalize and improve the customer experience when you:
schedule your messages by time and day (you can also set expiration dates)
set an age restriction (so that you’re not sending the wrong messages to teens)
Include fun emojis with your messaging to dress it up
What you’ll get in return (allowing you to further optimize the customer experience):
In short: data collection!
Drilling down further, optimizing a customer’s journey through your center optimizes your chance to continually improve their experience. Here are just a couple of strategies:
Improve brand positioning, such as:
Creating engaging store design — Keep it fun, friendly and memorable, increasing the chances for returning customers.
Developing in-point merchandising — Knowing where customers tend to congregate or wander can be your chance to catch their eyes and attention.
Delivering exceptional customer service — Place your staff where the customers are, and let the engagement begin. In-person, face-to-face interaction will always beat the impersonal experience of online shopping.
Creating targeted and timely marketing campaigns — The data will help you get to know your customers better. Knowing what they like and where and how they travel through your center lets you offer them a chance to feel exactly the way they want to feel — that you know them and care about their preferences
Improve your merchandising to increase conversion — Now that you know where they are, when they visit, how they travel, and what they like, you can position pop-up stores
Better target your marketing when you better understand your customer demographics — Now that you have the customer data you need, you’ll know who to market to and where to most effectively catch their attention.
Better compare and contrast store and brand performance — No more feeling like you are working in the dark, clumsily feeling your way and forever second guessing your wild guesses about what is working and what is not. Now you will have proof — data and statistics, and you can base future decisions on them.
Get a handle on in-store interaction so that you can evolve your customer service strategy — A mall marketing software solution can be there when you are not, learning where the customers may need your staff’s attention most. You can go into proactive mode from there, serving your customers and personalizing your attention toward them.
Understand the entire customer journey instead of just the final checkout experience — Your success depends on the overall experience, from entrance to exit. Getting a handle on the customer’s journey will help you to better navigate them and enrich their experience every time they visit.
Learn where the rough spots are and smooth them out — Get an idea of where crowding and bottlenecks often happen, so that you can strategize an alternative and change the traffic flow. This is yet another way to smooth out the customer experience.
Increase your return on investment (ROI)
Measure success of off-property marketing
Improve average sales price
Increase customer visit frequency
Increase customer engagement
Enriching the customer experience will only happen when you know the customer, and how they journey through your center. With the help of technology, knowing the customer journey is your first step toward making the customer experience brighter, more seamless and satisfying, while you benefit from increased visits and tenant sales.