The Role of Promotions in a Shopping Center

“Currently, the stiff competition among commercial plazas means that they have to increase and make relevant the level of experiences they offer their visitors.” With this statement, Ángela Sánchez, an independent marketing strategist, welcomed us when we approached her to ask about the basics to consider when a shopping center launches a promotion.

Sánchez explains that promotions are a virtually mandatory tool when a manager or sales director of a shopping center addresses its annual marketing plan. “It is essential that they be created to reward visitors, as this is a strategy that is highly accepted by the public, in addition to contributing to their loyalty.”

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Objective of Promotions

Our expert mentions that the first step is to decide whether it is a promotion that will include the physical participation of the visitor or not. “That is, do we want it to be just a raffle that will be communicated through print or digital media and that customers, ideally, will only be listed, without doing anything more than waiting for the result of the winning tickets? The reality is that the launch of a promotion is, without a doubt, a great opportunity to try to achieve other objectives of greater impact for the shopping center.”

Among them, Sánchez mentions the following:

  • Attracting more visitors to the mall,
  • Getting the promotion to become an event in itself,
  • Generating expectation among participants and/or visitors (convey the concept that something is always happening in the mall),
  • Promoting additional values/feelings, such as curiosity and, of course, entertainment, and
  • Obtaining a segmented and/or qualified database.

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Valuable Gifts

This phase of planning is probably one of the most complicated, since you can choose between giving away few, but very attractive, prizes or many incentives, but with little or no real attraction. “The truth is, the more gifts given, the better the impact will be. The idea is to try to reward as many visitors as possible. However, in addition to targeting the amount, I believe that a part of the budget should be dedicated to providing other gifts of greater value. The reality is that there don’t have to be many, but I insist that they should always exist to generate and maintain that feeling of expectation among the participants.”

In addition, our expert points out that it is vital to have a system or mechanism that allows precise and exact control of the incentives. “There are certain dynamics that are designed for shopping centers to distribute their gifts or incentives throughout the day. When this is the case, there can be no prizes left over during off-peak hours, nor can the organizers be left without them at times when the maximum number of visitors is present. It is vitally important to think about those control mechanisms to implement in order to eliminate breaks in stock during the promotion and/or that, when it is over, there are extra gifts.”

The participant and/or visitor must be at the center of a shopping center’s marketing strategy. It is essential to create valuable services to offer them a shopping experience that keeps them away from online stores and, above all, from the competition.

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Frequency of Promotions

How often is it recommended to run promotions? When asked, Sánchez explains that they can be on a monthly basis or three or four quality ones a year. “Our experience tells us that both strategies can prove to be correct, because they really bring with them positive points. For example, if we increase the frequency, visitors will see that every month there is a prize, and that is an incentive in itself. On the other hand, if we reduce it, it will allow a bigger budget to be allocated to each tactic, which means a higher quality incentive and, of course, a much more eye-catching launch and execution.”

Measurement of Results

In order to make the most of any promotional action and to efficiently determine if it really had the impact sought from the start, it is necessary to capture the data of the participants and/or visitors to the shopping center, which, well segmented, can be used to prepare a concise report that allows the pertinent conclusions to be drawn, not only from the promotion that has just been carried out, but also with regard to the subsequent actions that are being considered.

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