The only mantra that drives retail today is a customer-first approach. If we apply this logic to every aspect of our management, we can effectively be future-proof as well. If we measure our success by our retail offerings in isolation, we may soon smudge ourselves into a non-distinctive space overlapping with 40-50 percent mall-retail brands being available at multiple touch points. Hence our true success is driven by constantly answering the question – why patrons would still choose us over others. The only way to differentiate is via two critical factors – building experiences and added conveniences.
From a convenience perspective, we need to be able to off er the freedom to our patrons to offer multiple options of payment check-outs. Post, demonetization, we have seen a spurt in cashless transactions. With the growing number of fintech companies, touchless commerce through contact-less payment methods have increased even in the mall retail space. Net-banking, online cash transfers, mobile wallets, single touch payments, payment through scanning code, etc. have become an integral part of the payment checkout system across vendors in the shopping center. All targeted to build ease and convenience of purchase basis a preferred payment modality for the customer.
We still have ample ATM machines for convenience of withdrawing cash when needed as well. All of our stores off er cashless payment check-outs. Today, one can practically walk in to the mall without their wallet and only their mobile phones and have a complete shopping experience.
From an experience perspective, we invest a lot into building loyalty. At Select CITYWALK we have always positioned ourselves as a friend to the shoppers. Someone they can rely on, interact / experience and come back to for more every time. This loyalty is hard-earned and hence we realize it should also be rewarded. This is our basic ethos behind our loyalty program. Today a customer is bombarded with options and hence the fact that they skim above these options and choose to be loyal to us requires a justified program to cater to them.
Traditional loyalty programs which are brand specific are limiting. However, if a shopping center curates a program bringing together more brands and benefits it calls for a more cohesive offering.
The main objective is to get a good quality program in place. Simplicity is key here. The program should be easy to access and easy to engage with. The primary medium hence needs to be digital beyond the mall premise to extend the engagement beyond the shopping experience. Mobile loyalty apps are also gaining prominence due to ease and convenience to register and redeem when on the move. The program should also be easy to understand.
An over complicated point-based system would not be as effective in this case. The program also needs to be relevant to a variety of merchants across different categories like fashion, beauty, home and tech as well.
The loyalty program should also be constantly monitored with effective data points in the back end to support analysis. It can’t be left to a one-time initiative but rather needs to be constantly tweaked and evolved basis the customers feedback. Making the program dynamic lends to its success.
But just only having such a program is not sufficient. It needs to be effectively communicated and activated for customers to sign on and be aware of the benefits. Online capture and in-mall promotions via posters, kiosks and concierge are essential.
At Select CITYWALK we run a comprehensive rewards program for our patrons. They earn reward points against shopping with partner brands which can be redeemed for gift vouchers. The idea is to shop, show invoices at the Rewards desk and receive rewards in the form of gifts vouchers from brands present in the shopping center. We have also embedded special birthday offers to expand our engagement. The response has been fantastic, and we keep adding new brands and worthy gifts to the scheme.
All these initiatives finally work towards a robust and long-term customer engagement. Understanding the pulse of the consumer is essential in being able to effectively provide comfort and convenience for a holistic mall experience.