Retailers located within shopping centres usually pay a portion of their rent into the shopping centre’s promotional fund, are you paying promo levy?
While you might be paying into these Marketing funds, some retailers don’t take advantage of the opportunities available. In today’s blog post I’m going to talk about 10 FREE marketing opportunities which might be available at your Centre and I encourage you to check with your Centre Manager or Marketing Manager to see if you can become more involved. If you are a shopping centre, you might like to share this post with your retailers as a timely reminder to get involved!
Most people will search for a Shopping Centre website when they want to find out how to get to the Centre, find out more about a particular retailer (eg. phone number or location) or the website might be used in the Centre’s social media strategy to drive traffic from Facebook (for example) to the website’s ‘What’s on’ section. The What’s on section is usually a list of things that are happening in centre, it can include promotions and retailer offers. Retailers can generally provide offers and content for the website by filling out a participation form and submitting it to Centre Management. It’s always a good idea to provide a professional image if you have one.
With 49% of the adult population* (May 2012) in Australia now using smart phones many shopping centres have started to invest in Mobile Apps. These apps usually include the ability to drive sales using offers. Retailers are again encouraged to participate by providing offers which will move people to action. Ask your Centre Management office if they have a smart phone app and if retailers can provide content. Make sure you fill out the appropriate forms and provide images if necessary.
Check to see if your shopping centre is on Facebook. You can do this by searching the shopping centre name inside Facebook or your shopping centre will advertise the Facebook web address on their promotional material. If the Centre is on Facebook, chances are they have opportunities for retailers to provide content. Ask your Centre Manager or Marketing Manager the best way to do this and always make sure you provide photos or images. When your offer is posted to Facebook always keep an eye on the page, like and comment, you might even reply to Facebook fans who are commenting with a view to increasing the awareness of your own Facebook page.
In Centre Signage usually takes the form of 30×40 poster stands displayed throughout the Centre. Often Centre Management will offer available space to retailers at no additional charge if you supply the posters. Local printers are always helpful in designing and printing your posters at a reasonable cost, expect to pay between $40-$60 depending on design. You might be required to book these poster stands in advance so always check with your Centre Management office for full details.
Throughout the year some shopping centre’s will offer free casual leasing or opportunities to trade out beyond your lease line. This is usually for key retail periods or special sale days and events. Always read marketing communication and take up these opportunities where possible. Even if you are a service orientated business there is always something you can display or you might be able to station a staff member at the site to hand out balloons and promotional material with a view to encouraging enquiries.
Customer databases are popular and usually target Seniors, Kids Clubs, Fashion and Customer Loyalty, this will of course depend on your Centre. Newsletters and promotional material are often sent out to these markets and marketing managers are always looking for fresh content. Be creative with your content and make it newsworthy not just promotional! Ask Centre Management if there is an opportunity for you to provide a regular column or offers.
If your shopping centre has an on hold message service, some Centre’s pay for these messages to be updated regularly. If this is the case you may be able to provide content. Customers who are on hold are a captive audience, sometimes sitting in front of their computers, so you could be driving them to your website, Facebook page or in-store. Think about competitions, increasing Facebook fans, newsletter sign ups or simply telling potential customers about a new product.
During key retail periods, shopping centre’s will provide opportunities for retailers to provide offers or prizes which form part of advertising or in Centre competitions. Always keep an eye out for these opportunities and participate where possible. By providing an offer your store will have a presence in the advertising taking place. Prizes are a great way to highlight new products or services and can encourage add on selling if you use Gift Vouchers.
Sometimes a percentage of the marketing fund is invested into retailer training. If your Centre is offering retailer training make sure you RSVP to events and make the most of them. Topics for retailer training usually include: visual merchandising, selling techniques, Facebook or social media training, online marketing or even key notes from other successful retailers. These sessions should inspire you to take action in your own business.
Often shopping centre’s will search for a panel of retailers to represent each category in the shopping centre, these retailers attend meetings and help to provide feedback on current and future marketing activity. If you have the opportunity to take part in these meetings you’ll hear about marketing and promotions in advance, gain insight into centre performance and feedback from retailers. You’ll meet other retailers and build stronger relationships with participants. Ask your Centre Management team if they have regular retailer meetings which you can become involved in.
Shopping Centres usually have a public address system which is used to disseminate important announcements and play music to set a vibrant mood as people go about their business in Centre. Every Centre is different, however most will have a facility for retailers to advertise their promotional material over this PA System. Depending on the Centre’s agreement with contractors you might need to pay a nominal fee for a recording (between $30-$60 usually), others will offer this service completely free. All you need to do is fill out the participation form and your message will be recorded and played throughout the Centre.
Now it’s over to you: Are you making the most of your shopping centre’s marketing fund? How often do you use these services? Is your shopping centre providing additional services that I haven’t mentioned here? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
Author: Celina Johnson
*Statistics provided are according to the Australian Communications & Media Authority, Communications Report 2011-2012 Series Report 3 – Smartphones & Tablets Take up and use in Australia.
• Customised social media set up
• Daily Monitoring of your social media
• Marketing Plans and Strategies
• Experienced in Shopping Centres
• Experienced in Retail
• Experienced in Small Business
• Media trained
• Experienced in stakeholder liaison