How to Create A Comprehensive Shopping Centre Marketing Plan
Wondering if your shopping centre truly needs a marketing plan? The answer is absolutely. The era of relying on natural foot traffic and proximity alone is over. To stay ahead, malls must have an effective marketing plan to outshine their fierce online competition.
Whether you’re looking for a major brand overhaul (check out our full rebrand execution with Stratford Mall) or just a small tweak in your marketing strategy, circus is here to guide you. Let’s walk through the essential steps to transform your shopping centre into the ultimate local hotspot.
Do an Audit
Let’s kick off your new marketing plan with an audit. Start by taking a detailed look at the current marketing setup and evaluate the effectiveness of each strategy in achieving your goals. Dive into your marketing budget and break down the spending across all channels and campaigns to identify which areas are bringing the best results and which might need an adjustment.
Next, put on your detective hat and investigate the competition. What marketing strategies are they employing? What’s working and what’s not? Understanding what others are doing can help you position your brand and give you the insight you need to devise a new and improved marketing plan.
Make Your Shopping Centre a Destination
Transforming your shopping centre into a sought-after destination is the key to success. Beyond being a retail space, it should be a place where people want to stay and explore. To do that, you will need to have a clearly defined identity, a.k.a. what makes your shopping centre unique? Whether it’s exclusive boutiques, exciting events, or a one-of-a-kind dining scene, fostering an atmosphere that resonates with your target audience encourages them to stay so that time spent translates into dollars spent. By consistently positioning yourself as the go-to spot in your area, your shopping centre will thrive as a must-visit destination.
Invest in the Aesthetics
Investing in the aesthetics of a shopping centre isn’t just a nicety; it’s a strategic move. Imagine your shopping centre as not just a place to shop but also a visually appealing location to hangout. People naturally love places that look good and are easy to explore. So deck out your centre, ensure smooth parking and sprinkle in some cozy spots to turn visitors into loyal fans. You can even make it an Instagrammable paradise with trendy backdrops and fun and vibrant storefronts.
Find Good Anchor Tenants
Securing top-notch anchor tenants is a pivotal move for a thriving shopping mall. These major players not only bring in consistent foot traffic but also enhance the overall appeal of your retail space. These anchor tenants with strong brand affinity become magnets, pulling in visitors and transforming your mall into a must-visit destination.
Once you’ve secured an anchor tenant, don’t be shy about promoting them with strategic positioning and engaging visuals to build anticipation. Check out how we leveraged an award-winning hoarding in Lynden Park Mall to capture the attention of shoppers and new tenants alike!
Pick the Right Tenants
The success of a shopping mall hinges on curating the right mix of tenants. It’s not just about filling spaces; it’s about selecting tenants with potential and drive to succeed. You can empower your tenants by offering support and encouraging them to work together and co-promote. Make sure to also take consistent feedback from tenants to understand their challenges and actively address their needs. A well-curated blend of diverse and thriving tenants has the power to transform a shopping mall into a prime destination for both businesses and visitors.
Gain Exposure Through Traditional Advertising Channels
In today’s digital world, it’s easy to forget the timeless power of traditional advertising. Think print, flyers, billboards, outdoor ads, TV and even bus ads. These channels offer a broader reach by tapping into audiences that might be missed online. By blending the best of both worlds, digital and traditional, you ensure a comprehensive approach to reach people wherever they may be, maximizing brand exposure and awareness.
Target Through Digital Advertising Channels
It’s no secret that digital advertising is a must for any business. Unlike old-school ads, digital platforms like Instagram, Facebook and X (Twitter) let you connect and influence shoppers in real-time. It’s the perfect way to showcase your shopping centre’s personality and engage them with fun content, from sneak peeks of new arrivals to behind-the-scenes glimpses of the centre. Plus, with search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM), you can make sure your shopping centre is easily discoverable by potential visitors. Picture this: someone Googles “best shopping near me”, and voila, your centre tops the list.
But here’s the real gem— the targeting and tracking capabilities of online channels. With precision targeting, you can tailor your ads based on your target audience’s preferences, behaviours, and locations, ensuring your promotions reach the right shoppers. Tracking, on the other hand, provides valuable insights into the performance of your campaigns, so you can understand what works and adapt your strategy accordingly.
Nurture Your Local SEO and Online Presence
With people turning to the internet for nearly everything, being findable online is a non-negotiable. Your online presence is often the first interaction people have with your shopping centre and having a well-crafted online image is the first step to building trust and enticing potential visitors.
In general, shoppers should be able to locate your centre effortlessly, making their journey to you smooth and hassle-free. To do so, make sure that your centre is featured on platforms like Google Business and Bing Business Profile so that essential details like opening hours, location and contact information are readily available. Being on mapping services like Google Maps, Bing Maps and Apple Maps is also a must.
Next up: your centre’s website. Think of it like a digital storefront for your shopping centre. It should be intuitive, easy to navigate and provide a seamless user experience to keep visitors engaged. Ensure your website has a comprehensive directory of your tenants so visitors can easily find and search for specific stores.
Finally, actively manage your presence on review sites like Yelp. Review platforms are the modern-day word-of-mouth. By responding to reviews, addressing concerns and showcasing positive feedback, you can build credibility and assure potential visitors of a delightful shopping experience at your centre.
Host Events and Promotions
Regular events and promotions play a crucial role in creating excitement, fostering community engagement and driving foot traffic in shopping centres. It’s an opportunity for your centre to become a vibrant hub, offering more than just a typical retail experience. While interactive events, such as workshops, live performances or experiential activations, enhance the overall shopping experience, promotions, such as discounts and special sales, further incentivize shoppers to visit and make purchases.
The key is to align these activities with the interest of your target audience as well as your tenants. We suggest working closely with your tenants to create joint promotions like cross-store sales, loyalty programs or even giveaways like our breakthrough giveaway campaign with Stratford Mall. By curating unique events and promotions, you can create memorable experiences that go beyond traditional shopping and transform the centre into a social hub.
Organize Seasonal Events and Themes
Want to stay relevant and engaged with customers throughout the year? Organizing seasonal events and embracing thematic campaigns is a strategic move for any shopping centre.
Shoppers naturally change their preferences and expectations as the seasons change and aligning your marketing efforts with festive occasions, holidays and cultural celebrations ensures that your shopping centre stays in sync with what people love at different times of the year. Imagine vibrant back-to-school deals, transforming your mall into a winter wonderland or hosting a beach-themed bash when the sun is out. These events make your mall a happening spot and shows that it is responsive to visitors’ interests.
Customer Loyalty Programs
A well-crafted customer loyalty program can transform your mall from just a place to make purchases to a community where shoppers feel a sense of belonging and are rewarded for their loyalty. Whether it’s exclusive discounts, early access to sales or even members-only events, your loyalty program should make your loyal shoppers feel valued and appreciated.
Want to take it a step further? Incorporate feedback mechanisms within your loyalty program to allow shoppers to voice their opinions. This not only enhances the shopping experience but also shows your commitment to meeting customer expectations. It’s a win-win.
Check out how we built an award-winning comprehensive loyalty program app for Bramalea City Centre!
Beyond the aisles and storefronts, the heart of a shopping centre is the community it serves. Embedding community involvement and public relations into your marketing plan is more than a strategy— it’s a commitment to becoming a part of the local community.
By actively participating in local events, supporting charitable initiatives and fostering relationships with neighbouring businesses, you generate positive publicity and create a favourable image that resonates with both existing and potential shoppers. Consider this an investment in goodwill that plays dividends in loyalty and positive word-of-mouth for years to come.