StoriesBlogBest practicesThe energy crisis is upon us - where does it leave shopping centers?

The energy crisis is upon us - where does it leave shopping centers?

October 17, 2022

The energy crisis is upon us and shopping centers are feeling the pressure from anxious consumers as winter is coming.

In this blog post, we take look at the situation and offer our insights into how shopping centers might be able to keep a strong customer relation during a difficult time.

A shift in consumer focus

Shopping centers across the continent are looking into different ways they can cut down on their own energy consumption. For some, it means lowering the temperature slightly (source), while for others are making swaps to greener energy alternatives (source) and finally there's the question of whether or not to put up the Christmas lighting (source).

However, the question of what to do about one's customers still resides. Because, Christmas lights or not, the holidays are going to look significantly different for consumers this year.

The high inflation and energy crisis means there'll be a shift in prioritization of consumer spending and many non-essential purchases will be cut - in fact, a survey found that over 50% of consumers are planning to change their holiday shopping this year due to inflation (JungleScout, 2022).

As shoppers are looking to find the very best prices, the convenience of shopping online means that e-commerce sales are expected to increase 12.8 to 14.3% compared to last year (Deloitte, 2022).

So, what can shopping centers do about this?

One of the key thing shopping centers can do is to be where customers always are: - on their phones!

While social media is popular among shopping centers, the reach and effect has dwindled. The best way to stay in consumers' minds when they are online is to have a strong owned media platform, providing stimulating and relevant content / rewards, tailored to each individual customer.

An owned media, such as an app, allows shopping centers to send out push notifications and have their logo displayed on the customer's home screen - staying top of mind, even in the living room.

Those push notifications can be the gateway to draw existing customers to the mall through loyalty marketing. It also allows you to show your customers that you value and appreciate them, by offering enticing rewards and experiences, something that will be even more important in the coming months.

Focusing on existing customers rather than new customers might seem like unusual thinking, however, it can be a very smart strategy. After all, on average, it can cost up to 7x more to secure a new customer, compared to retaining an existing one (Invesp, 2021). Focusing on this profitable customer segment will be an especially good choice right now.

This is where loyalty marketing can be especially valuable. As customers are cutting down their non essential spending, they will feel especially cherished when they sip on the cup of hot cocoa given to them as a token of the center's appreciation for their visit. Indeed, it might just be the influencing factor as to where they shop for their children's Christmas presents.

Interesting examples to consider for loyalty marketing this year could be:

Nivy had a very popular loyalty app reward last year, offering Christmas trees to the quickest 20 customers.

Patriot Place is growing their visitor count by giving customers a discount on transportation cost to the mall.


While there is no getting around these unprecedented times, there are ways to minimize the impact on your center, retain a loyal customer base and perhaps most importantly, stay present in your customers' lives and social plans.

Focusing on your own digital platform is a cost effective and accurate method of achieving these targets and maximising your marketing spend and impact.

While no one knows exactly how long these challenging times are going to continue for, it is important to make smart choices in how you communicate and interact with your customers both digitally and inside your centers to retain their loyalty and spending power.

If you are interested in learning how to effectively leverage the power of your loyal customers, book a demo to hear about the possibilities of Emplate's digital loyalty platform here.

Back to Blog