After you take all the necessary precautions to create a COVID-safe environment for shoppers to return to malls and other properties, it’s time to think about effective ways to boost traffic. While it’s true that many people have pivoted to online shopping, there is still enough appetite for offline experiences that are yours to capture with a clever mix of digital marketing and in-store activation. Let’s take a quick look at the marketing tools you can use to bring your space back to life.
Develop a creative campaign
We’re entering the festive season of the year, and now is the right time to start developing a campaign. It will be trickier than the years before, not only in terms of messaging which is already challenging for advertising, but also in terms of format. This year, large-scale promotional events to draw massive crowds and packed halls are probably not the way to go.
Instead, malls launching a promotional campaign will have to develop something creative to stand out and lean heavily towards digital channels. There are ways to blend online promotions with mall visits and in-store activities, but both awareness for and engagement with the campaign will have to come from digital marketing efforts.
We have already seen some partnerships with popular F&B shops and fashion brands that show how this can be done. For example, fashion brand Intimissimi gave people the chance to win a set of gifts if they posted pictures on Instagram having lunch at Madam Fu located in Tai Kwun, a mixed-use commercial space. The promotion took place on social media, while still driving foot traffic to a physical retail location.
Lift your digital marketing game
Regardless of campaign type and creative messaging, it all begins and ends online. If you haven’t already, get your social media marketing strategy in order and set up additional touchpoints to make sure you cover all your bases.
That could mean you need to develop a landing page or micro-site centred on your campaign, launch search and display ads to both raise awareness at first and drive recognition after through retargeting, create stories told through rich media on your blog, place advertorials related to those stories in relevant media publications, or perhaps team up with KOLs to drive interest in a targeted fashion.
That’s a long list and we could make that even longer. But of course, you want to balance resources and time. To do that, you need to be laser-focused on what you want to achieve with your campaign, and set digital marketing goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and rime-bound. Do your research to understand who your audience is, explore how they interact with your brand and content, and identify the most effective channels for engaging with them.
Without a campaign strategy, even the most creative idea leaves a lot of potential on the table.
Deliver a compelling experience with in-store activation
While online shopping has its advantages over shopping malls, mostly for the convenience and infinite browsing options, many shoppers do still enjoy going to physical malls simply for the ability to touch and feel products. Of course, that was before COVID-19 so retailers need to find new ways to deliver a similar immersive experience that is compatible with the new way of interacting in the real world. Digital technology still offers plenty of ways to deliver in-store experiences that are engaging but follow the “no-touch” preferences due to safety concerns.
Already, QR codes on products are used to provide shoppers with more information using rich media to replace close interaction with staff in stores, and malls can use a similar approach to offer an additional layer of information to the mall experience. The same way beauty brands use AR and VR to provide personalised product recommendations, malls can use the same interactive technology to provide recommendations on a higher level, and drive engagement on a multi-store level.
Integrating digital touchpoints with the shopping mall experience is critical to win over modern shoppers that expect a certain level of digital support in the offline world. Not only does this enhance the mall experience, it also allows mall operators to collect data and learn more about their customers. For example Hong Kong based start-up Neoma is using cloud-based AI technology with leading-edge location services to give mall operators more data on visitor behaviour. The data can be used to offer personalised services, deliver targeted discounts and reward loyal shoppers. We may even see an increased use of facial recognition technology in targeted contact with repeat customers.
All of this serves as food for thought as you make plans to drive traffic back to malls and other properties. Yes, it’s a lot work, but you don’t have to do it alone. We are here to help you develop creative campaigns, get the most out of your digital marketing strategy, and deliver in-store experiences to reactivate your retail space.
Get in touch to find out how we can help you.