Consumer behavior has undergone a dramatic shift since the introduction of the internet. Virtually every aspect of retail has been impacted. The most significant change for shopping centers isn’t the variety of things you can buy online, but how the internet has fundamentally and irrevocably altered “how” people shop, a process that has remained the same for over 100 years. Now shopping centers are challenged with determining where they fit in the new retail ecosystem, and how to tailor their offering to meet customer expectations. We wanted to know exactly what shoppers want from a physical shopping center, so we conducted a survey of 1328 Americans to find out what a shopper really wants in 2019.
First things first, many have claimed “shopping centers are dead” – these claims have been happening for more than a decade (check out this Time Magazine cover from August 1998 “Kiss Your Mall Good Bye”). And who could forget all the “Retail Apocalypse” prognosticators of the last 24 months? Though these claims are attention grabbers, they’re just not true. Only 4% of respondents said they never visit a shopping center, while 70% visit at least once per month. Furthermore, 23% of respondents actually visit a shopping center weekly.
When looking for a shopping center to visit, it’s not surprising that most (64%) respondents reported that location was the most important factor. Nearly half (45%) of the respondents also mentioned “specific retailers” as a factor when planning where to shop, followed by “the brands carried by the retailers” at a shopping center – proving that shoppers do in fact care about the tenant-mix your shopping center houses.
Of the respondents who said specific retailers were important, 22% listed a big box store/superstore, 18% mentioned a department store, and 10% listed a grocery store.
They’re looking for more than just shopping.
In addition to having strong retailer tenants, we wanted to know what other factors drive consumers to visit shopping centers. Eighty-three percent of respondents listed restaurant selection as a driving factor, followed by grocery stores (58%) and movie theaters (49%). Of those that mentioned dining selection as a factor, a majority (52%) said they seek out local restaurants and nearly 40% want fast casual options.
Mixed-use developments are on the rise as consumers are looking for more than just retail options when planning their trip to the shopping center.
It’s time to get personal.
Even though two-thirds of respondents stated they had a favorite shopping center, only 18% said they were a member of that location’s loyalty program – and 80% didn’t even know if their favorite shopping center had a loyalty program.
On a positive note, 82% of respondents would be interested in joining their shopping center’s loyalty program in exchange for special discounts or personalized offers and 38% were interested in joining for monthly prize drawings.
So, now that we know what shoppers want, why don’t we give it to them?
Need help implementing a loyalty program or looking for assistance with your personalization efforts? We can help with that – just contact Jeff Fraser. Looking for additional insights from our shopper survey? Reach out to Hannah Wilson or Channing Childs, and they’ll be happy to let you know what we found.