Unless you are running a campaign where you are giving away expensive stuff for free, a digital strategy alone will not suffice to increase foot traffic at your mall. But a solid digital strategy can help coordinate and streamline all your campaigns together.
So before we get to increasing traffic, one important question: how are you currently tracking that traffic? How often are your visitors coming? Where do they spend the most time? It is critical to track these because when we are running campaigns, these are the areas we’ll work to improve. Such a tracking system will help us understand each visitor’s interests, purchase patterns, visiting frequency and a number of other data points. If you are looking for such a product, shameless plug: you should definitely consider checking out our in-house tool, ProximityMX (which does a lot more than just analytics!)
Let’s also assume you have stores/brands/outlets which directly get the attention of your target audience to bring them to the store. If not, then you’ll need to re-strategize and define your target audience better.
Consider adding these to your strategy:
- Campaigns: When we sell, we have to understand that our target audience’s attention span is less than that of a goldfish. Once your benchmarks are set in place, it’s easier to design and execute campaigns. Campaigns are nothing but different promotional methods which could be around a theme, or a festival, or promotional events to get your target audience’s attention. Figure out what campaign you want to run, at what time of year, then plan it and delegate people to take ownership.
How are you going to digitally let your target audience know that this campaign is going to be run? There are 4 ways to do it:
- Promote the campaign on social media,
- Get local online media to run an article on the campaign,
- If you have a database of your target audience from their previous visits to the mall (email ID/ phone number), then send them emails and SMS, and
- If you have an app, send push notifications!
- Deals & Contests: These are offshoots of the campaigns you can run. More importantly, whenever words like offer/discount/contest/competition are used, they’ll draw attention immediately. But this has to be a regulated strategy. If you are running offers and discounts 365 days a year, there isn’t any exclusivity which will bring them to the mall. If you feed a cat the same food for 2 days and if there is a different food choice the next day, the cat will at least acknowledge the other food and give it the attention it needs.
Similarly, when you are running deals and contests, ensure that they are seasonal and have a strong value proposition. Shopping malls are one of the best indoor places to do things like host a scavenger hunt. This could include multiple races, like economical shopping within a limited budget, finding clues from bills, clues under chairs in the food court and so on. Also consider running a campaign where the deals and offers can be accessible only if they complete x number of tasks which are a combination of finding clues, problem solving, and team building activities.
Running deals and competitions is always fun, especially on the ground and even while creating the plan. The digital factor here is to not just utilize the internet to promote these events, but to put some missing pieces on the web for them to discover certain aspects in the game. With things like QR codes and barcodes in the picture these days, get creative and start working on those competitions already!
- Retargeting: If there is a database that you have on the already visited customers/regular visitors, it’s not a bad idea to retarget them through emails/push notifications/SMS. It is essential that you don’t become generic here; instead, push a custom note to them as they already know of the mall’s existence. If they spent their time mostly at footwear shops, target specific campaigns which will make them do a double-take and eventually convert them to visit the place again. This is a combination of using data analytics to bring in more customers, and I think this article sums it up well to pick and choose which data points to go after.
- Coupon Codes: When promoting events and offers, create a specific coupon generation algorithm which will exclusively give codes on targeted platforms. This will create the impression that these coupons are only available on those platforms, and customers appreciate exclusivity. This can also be used to track how many products are sold under each coupon code.
- Digital Signage and Stories: When you are running campaigns on the internet, with enough on-the-ground activities there will be a lot of stories to share. These stories have to be put together either in a video or pictures and even blogs. These could be customer stories, their feedback on events, incidents at the mall, behind the scenes glimpses, a mall tour, what it takes to run a mall and so on! There is no ceiling on what these could include: keep collating them and putting them out on your websites, apps and social feeds to start with. Encourage your target audience to share stories too and engage with them. Utilize digital signage at the mall to share some of these. This will help you follow an organized storytelling method across the web and at the mall.
There are several strategies that you can adopt to increase traffic. With features like a product locator, virtual tour of the mall, or 360-degree view, you are never short of ways to engage with customers. Creating a digital strategy will help you manage the projects and timely execution of the events. It’ll be easier to achieve long term and short term goals with a solid strategy. We would love to hear the stories from your mall. Good luck!