StoriesBlogBest practices3 reasons why malls struggle to influence customer behavior

3 reasons why malls struggle to influence customer behavior

August 3, 2022

Shopping centers today are struggling to influence customer behavior. In an unsteady world, where footfall is declining and ecommerce is growing, the threats for shopping malls seem bigger than ever.

In this article, we have a look at some of the issues shopping centers are facing, when it comes to influencing customer behavior and consider the possible solutions:

1. The declining effect of traditional marketing

Printed magazines, TV commercials, billboards - for shopping centers, these are all too familiar.

Times have changed, and traditional marketing has been losing its' effect for years. With declining effect, the resources needed to get magazines and tv spots to the customers, have become a large investment with a small outcome.

(Mindshare Ad Analysis, 2021)

Now, customers are moving away from their mailbox and onto their phone. This means that a lot of shopping malls have followed them online, swapping out their printed for digital ads. The only problem is, that the solution might not be as straight forward.

Because, while shopping centers are interested in digital ads, so are everyone else, which has meant digital ads have become marketing Hunger Games, where the odds aren't in your favor. When you do manage to get your digital ad in front of your customers, chances are they won't pay it any attention, as modern consumers are becoming immune to the noise of digital marketing.

This also includes presence on social media platforms. Having a channel is a great way to have your presence known, but reach is becoming limited and using it as the end all, be all digital platform for a shopping center is an issue; consumers often aren't getting much value from it and what you can say, do, set up and create are in the hands of the tech giants, making it difficult to provide customers with catered digital experiences.

With the changing marketing landscape, shopping centers need to consider including owned media, in order to have a platform, where they have full control to offer what customers want, without having to compete for their attention.

2. Poor data and insights

Around the world, shopping centers are seeing a decline in footfall, sales and customer satisfaction. Many are unsure about what to do to prevent this. After all, they're essentially doing the same things they always have, which has previously earned them good results.

And that's an issue, because traditionally, many shopping centers' main insight into their customers have been limited to visitor count. While visitor count can tell you how many people visit your mall, it can't tell you anything about the reasonings behind it, and it won't give you any idea of what your customers like and dislike. This, in turns means shopping centers have limited options for providing real customer incentives and increase customer preference.

In order to know what needs to be done to increase footfall and sales, the issue of customer satisfaction needs to be tackled. For that, shopping centers need to know their customers. Because, as customer behavior is changing and competition is growing, having customer insights is more important than it's ever been.

The lack of customer insights means ecommerce has the upper hand; as they're digital, they know exactly who visits their store, what their demographics are and what their customers like, which they then can tap into to improve their results.

This is why it's important to take the measures needed to gain insights into your customers. Because, by knowing this you have the power to shape and encourage wanted customer behavior, increase customer satisfaction and in turn generate more footfall and sales.

This, in turn leads us to the next issue, which is:

3. Outdated customer experiences

Customer behavior has changed, but many shopping centers have not. This has resulted in a disconnection between the malls and their consumers, which means the customer experiences the malls offers have become outdated, driving customers away, rather than luring them in.

The modern consumer is a digital consumer - the customer journeys start online, and the expectations for customer experiences are high; today, customers won't be satisfied with a generic loyalty email. Instead, they want personalized, digital experiences which adds to their shopping experience and creates real value for them.

One of physical retails' main advantages over ecommerce is the experience it offers, and this needs to be strengthened further to secure malls' position. That means that for modern shopping centers, there's no room for outdated customer experiences.

While it is natural to see the digital as the enemy  of physical retail, utilizing it to shopping centers' advantage, can be the solution to the issues shopping centers are facing. Because, while the customer journey starts online, it doesn't have to end there.

By tapping into modern shoppers behavior, it is possible to create a mutually beneficial situation - A real-life example of this can be digital loyalty where customers are automatically  rewarded with loyalty points every time they visit the shopping center, which they can use on different rewards.

It makes customers happy because they are getting rewarded for their behavior, and it's a win for the shopping center, too.

The way forward

The world is changing for shopping centers. But, while the situation may look dire at first glance, there are real opportunities to grasp.

By getting to know customers and tapping into their needs and behavior, it is possible for shopping centers to secure themselves a solid place in the future of retail, by offering customers relevant and personalized shopping experiences.

If you would like to learn more about the possibilities of digital loyalty programs, book a demo today.

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