How much do you spend on marketing? Shopping centers often allocate tons of money to radio spots, commercials, print ads and more, all to attract new business.
However, according to experts, retaining customers — repeat visitors — is more profitable than acquiring new ones. A mere 5% increase in customer retention leads to more than a 25% boost in profit.
How can you attract repeat business to your shopping center? Follow the six tips below.
1. Develop a Loyalty Program
Everybody loves incentives. One way to drive customer retention is to offer value back in the form of a loyalty program. Most of these programs are free, though some brands charge a small fee. In return, shoppers gain access to exclusive sales, receive member-only discounts and rack up points they can exchange for merchandise.
According to one study, the average person has more than 13 memberships, though they only use seven actively. Of those with loyalty cards, 66% will modify their spend amounts to maximize points. Plus, if they like your program, they’re likely to recommend it to others.
2. Commit to Community
Turn your shopping center into more than a place to find stellar deals. Develop a community, which builds trust and gives people a reason to return. Host events, like a visit from Santa, an Easter egg hunt or a meet-and-greet with animals from the local petting zoo.
Events get customers in the door. Once inside, they’re more likely to peruse stores and make purchases. Don’t be afraid to collaborate with other organizations in the area, like an art museum, robotics school or public library. Try to implement a mixture of adult- and kid-friendly themes.
3. Think About Personalization
Today’s consumers are picky about where they spend their money. They seek out brands that speak to them one-on-one. According to one survey of 1,000 people, 90% claimed they found marketing personalization very or somewhat appealing. What does it mean to personalize your customer retention efforts?
You can’t type an email to each name on your list — that could take days, even weeks. Yet you can use marketing automation software to complete the work for you. The program addresses emails to specific customers, and you can segment campaigns based on people’s interests and past purchases.
4. Invest in Indoor Play
Set your shopping center apart from the competition with interactive playground equipment, including climbing structures, slides, stairs and more. Parents love malls with play areas because their kids can stay active — and have fun — while they shop. It’s a win-win.
Indoor playgrounds are more creative than ever. Why not put your shopping center on the map with a custom theme that represents your location? If you’re near the mountains, for example, you could add a ski resort play area. Kids will love to climb up the faux mountains while parents sit on the lift.
5. Stay Social Online
If you stay active on popular social media sites, like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, you remain at the forefront of shoppers’ brains. In 2019, 72% of American adults used at least one social platform — up 11% since 2013. If you want to reach your audience, an online strategy is crucial.
Highlight videos of hot sales and holiday-inspired photos. When customers post praise on your page, thank them and share it with others. Announce new stores, deals, events and more. You can also use social media to target specific visitors, such as those who’ve visited your website or physical location.
6. Consider Customer Service
Shoppers don’t want to feel ignored. Pay attention to any and all feedback, whether it’s through word-of-mouth, email or anonymous note. Make people feel comfortable enough to ask questions and be prompt with your responses. Questions give you insight into how you can optimize marketing strategies.
Beyond answering questions, the key to customer retention is to consider complaints. Some shoppers will never be satisfied. Yet others will offer an insightful look at operations. Take note when necessary, and make appropriate changes.
How to Retain Customers at Your Shopping Center
If you want to maximize profits and turn your shopping center into a success, a customer retention strategy is a must.
Start by developing a loyalty program, something as simple as an app. With the right tools, you can have a program up-and-running in a few days. Consider how to build trust with your audience, whether through personalization or holiday-inspired events. You can also invest in some new equipment — a themed playground that sets your business apart from the competition.
Follow the six tips above to retain customers at your shopping center. As you optimize your efforts, you’ll start to see results.