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GIBS and Primedia Unlimited’s Mall Division uncover shopping mall gold
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The University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) and Primedia Unlimited’s Mall Division have joined forces to conduct a shopping mall survey to ascertain shopper behaviour and how advertising impacts them.

The research, which was undertaken by GIBS Senior Lecturer and lead project researcher, Kerry Chipp, with financial backing by Primedia Unlimited, takes into account, investigates and uncovers amongst others, the major mall draw cards, where the money goes, what drives people to shop and how advertising actually influences them.

Chipp elaborates: “The GIBS Primedia Unlimited Retail Shoppertunities study makes a valuable contribution to our knowledge of South African mall shoppers. Where so many studies focus only on surveying shopper intentions, this study sheds light on how intentions translate into behaviour.

The results highlight the need for marketers to align their offerings according to shopper segments, to capitalise on in-mall marketing opportunities and to grow sales by reassuring customers that they are savvy shoppers. The researchers have identified a myriad of insights that will enable product brand owners, retailers and property owners to grow revenues and meet shopper needs.”

CEO of Primedia Unlimited’s Mall Division, Molefi Moloantoa adds: “The study surveyed 4200 shoppers over a two week period. They were selected and interviewed randomly across major shopping centres of Gauteng, Western Cape and KwaZulu Natal. Intercept interviews were conducted across multiple days, Monday to Sunday, and across various times of the day. Sample data was weighted to reflect the catchment area.

We’re excited about the project as it proves the immense value in the mall node,” he says. “It shows that there is immense potential for brands wanting to speak to consumers at a critical phase of the purchase funnel, in the last retail mile. We have seen how interest and commitment to the mall space in SA has grown over the years, and our sponsorship of this survey gives credence to this interest.”

According to the results from the research, malls are rarely visited for a single purpose and browsing is the second biggest activity associated with spend. Interestingly, not only are malls draw cards for socialising and leisure activities but also for business executives. This category may not otherwise find the time to visit the mall for socialising and as such often make unplanned visits to retailers.

Shoppers vary in their requirements with the research identifying five key shopper groups.  Such segmentation, which was performed on purpose of the visit, found a set of “Purposeful/Goal Directed”, “The General Shop”, “Taking a break”, “Leisure Shoppers”, and “Business Users”.

The research also showed that mall advertising gets consumers to particular shops or brands where unplanned purchases happen. Advertising could take the form of washroom advertising, digital directories, underground parking billboards, escalator branding, lift banners, video walls or hanging banners. For example 62% of people who made unintentional purchases noticed the hanging banners.

Once in the mall, nearly half (45%) of consumers are deal prone or value conscious and respond to promotions spontaneously when they see them. What is most interesting though is that the cumulative effect of advertising – that is the more advertising seen and events participated in – is strongly associated with greater spend and unplanned visits.  The impact of advertising is associated with 36% of spend.

“What this means is that advertising builds on itself and so rather utilise multiple touch points within the mall than spread your advertising efforts too thinly,” says Chipp.

Within the research, individual malls are examined by catchment area, tenants and brands, what they are used for, social media usage and size and how these factors affect consumers.

“The research proves that advertising works, not only that it works but that the South African consumer is deal prone and responds favourably to advertising and marketing activities in the last mile,” says Molefi.

To download the, go to: Research Presentation

To view a CNBC interview on the research: CNBC interview

For more information on: GIBS