For many consumers, the festive season from November through to February means increased time in the malls either for shopping, entertainment or simply catching up with friends and family over a meal or coffee. The challenge for shopping centres and landlords is to drive traffic to their malls and hold the attention and interest of their shoppers during a time that has many distractions.
“It’s the busiest time of year for our 45 malls across the country and shoppers are being more careful with their money, which means that retailers and landlords need to provide reasons for customers to spend additional time in their centres,” says Primedia Lifestyle Group’s Managing Director Doug Mayne. The Primedia Unlimited subsidiary is responsible for providing all encompassing marketing solutions to many of the major centres around the country.
“Photos with Father Christmas, gift wrapping services and extended shopping hours are a given at this time of year,” says Doug, “but the true mettle of a shopping centre is one that shows a bit of innovation. As a few examples, the Musgrave Centre has launched an online competition advertising for a ‘pro shopper’ that will receive R30 000 in spending money; Menlyn is creating window displays that are inspired by celebrities including Boity Thulo, Pier Spies and Rob and Fix from 5fm; Riverside Mall has created a digital advent calendar on its Facebook page that reveals a new gift idea every day while Cavendish has commissioned Magpie to create Christmas decorations from recyclable material.”
The Zone at Rosebank’s Magnum pop up store that is open until the 24th December is a further example of ‘riveting retail’. The store is providing customers a unique experience in creating their own Magnum ice cream from a variety of not the typical toppings. In KwaZulu Natal, Gateway’s Theatre of Shopping is offering consumers a chance to win a trip to Mumbai through its ‘So you think you can shop?’ competition in addition to R500 000 worth of daily prizes!
“It’s these kinds of ideas that will keep our shoppers interested and engaged in their respective malls, whether they are spending their time in their own neighbourhoods this festive season or travelling around the country,” says Doug.
Musgrave Centre’s Pro Shopper campaign will be advertised as a vacancy available at the centre. A social media savvy shopper will be chosen and given R30 000 in gift cards to spend at the centre throughout December and R12 000 to shop part time in 2015.
To position Menlyn as the best destination for holiday gift requirements, online, its celebrity influencers campaign will showcase five celebrity inspired windows. Consumers will find the very best of Christmas dining options, books, gifting guides, summer fashion trends and many more.
Riverside mall’s digital Christmas advent calendar will be hosted on its Facebook page, revealing a new gift idea every day as it counts down to Christmas. To attract engagement, shoppers stand a chance at winning the gift of the day by participating in the “Selfie with our resident Elfie” competition.
Cavendish Square has commissioned MagPie Art Collective to create Christmas décor. The company, based in rural Barrydale, practices situational creativity to keep the carbon footprint of their products low by sourcing local supplies and labour. Talented crafters from the area work with Magpie to produce beautiful items utilising items that are found and discarded.
“The centres that manage to achieve differentiation and keep their centres full this festive season will be the real winners,” says Doug. “Consumers respond to great ideas and promotions that are relevant to them, and importantly, will share their experiences with family and friends online.”