Anna Chubotina, Arricano: how the patterns of customers in the shopping mall have changed

CEO Arricano on how offline retail has transformed during the year of the pandemic, and what decisions have been made in the company that support customer journey in the shopping mall.

At the RAU Summit 2020 "New reality – new retail", Anna Chubotina, CEO Arricano development company (manages the Prospekt and RayON shopping malls in Kyiv, City Mall in Zaporizhzhia, and Sun Gallery in Kryvyi Rih), spoke in a discussion panel dedicated to redevelopment and reconstruction in the era of changes in consumer preferences. Here is the most interesting part of her speech.

Marketing background of the shopping mall – 2020
This year, we have developed our competencies when it is necessary to quickly and confidently feel the market and buyers, analyze data, make decisions and act in accordance with the Pareto principle, to get into the very 20% that increase the turnover of tenants. This applies to targeted solvent traffic, popular product categories, as well as the choice of relevant communication tones in accordance with customer sentiment.

Our marketing activities were aimed at attracting new audience segments and retaining loyal customers in order to generate targeted conversion traffic.

Tactics were influenced by both external factors, such as the spring restriction of the shopping malls, weekend quarantine, changes in customer behavior patterns, and the formation of new requests:

After the resumption of the shopping malls operation due to phobias of social spaces and restrictions on the operation of cinemas, entertainment centers and food courts, a new pattern appeared that affected the quality of traffic: a planned visit to the shopping mall in order not just to walk and have fun, but to make purchases. This is confirmed by the fact that the growth rate of tenants' turnover exceeds the rate of traffic recovery.
The resumption of traffic was facilitated by the redistribution of traffic from street retail to shopping malls as a result of the growing demand for comfort and safety that large shopping malls were able to provide. Also, the audience of the primary coverage area stopped migrating outside their area of residence. This trend contributed, for example, to an increase in traffic to the RayON shopping mall, which increased traffic by 15-25% (compared to the previous year) after the spring lockdown.
The decline in the index of consumer sentiment and purchasing power of the population affected the growth of "investment" purchases. Traditionally, for such periods, there was an increase in the category "Electronics and home appliances". The parallel trend associated with the emotional motives of the purchase appealed to the desire to "please yourself" with the purchase. As a result, small purchases in the shopping mall prevailed over large ones.
In conditions of limited financial capacities, buyers paid more attention to prices and discounts. The cost of goods will remain one of the decisive factors when choosing brands. At the same time, speed, convenience and additional shopping bonuses remain as the other important factors.
Taking into account trends in customer behavior, we planned marketing projects and cross-branding collaborations that allow us to develop new attributes of the shopping malls' perception that correspond to the user's request. Our communication lines were based on unobtrusive humor, inspiration, motivation, empathy, positivity, and friendships. This is a mix of emotions that motivates and supports both visitors and the shopping mall team.

Direct access to influence users opinions
This year, we conducted more than 180 large-scale and more segmented collaboration projects with tenant brands. We also collaborated with well-known international FMCG brands, which perceived the shopping malls as an effective offline and online media platform in order to directly interact with their target customers and emotionally influence their opinion. Neither TV ads nor banner clicks in digital can provide such direct access.

The project "Prospekt shopping mall: Food plus Mood" is aimed at creating additional demand among food court operators, as well as stimulating motives for going to the cinema. At the intersection of two entertainment categories – delicious restaurant food outside the home and movie therapy, we created new attractive motives for visiting the shopping mall, as well as ensured an increase in the turnover of food court tenants by 17% compared to the previous month and an increase in organic coverage of brand manifestations in social networks by 23% compared to the previous period. Our partners were all the operators of the food court and the Multiplex cinema.

Another collaboration project in Prospekt shopping mall - the exhibition "ArtFashion: from the 20s to the 20s" - started immediately, as soon as shopping malls resumed their operation in Kyiv. The unique nature and relevance of the idea lies in several aspects: to demonstrate the linear nature of fashion over 100 years, integrate modern fashion brands into the context, and offer visitors contemplative content offline when museums and expositions were not yet working. By the way, this project was included in the top 25 Ukrainian marketing solutions according to the business edition "Power of money".

An example of cooperation and creating additional shopping bonuses for customers is the project with Uklon. After making a purchase in the shopping mall, the buyer received a promo code for the trip and had the opportunity to comfortably get home. The entry threshold, i.e. the equivalent of a receipt, varied depending on the event and region. For the shopping malls, we have created an additional argument in favor of choosing a shopping mall for a comfortable purchase. The main value is the formation of the image of a brand that cares about its audience rather than the promo code itself. For the Uklon taxi service, such cooperation had its advantages: expanding the customer base, stimulating additional app downloads, shifting priority when choosing a taxi service, and building brand commitment.

The partnership project with Uklon was continued in b2b communication. On November 26 and 27, that is, during the days of extended operation of shopping malls, employees of tenants received promo codes for a trip with Uklon from the shopping mall.

In 2021, we will continue to develop partnership projects with our tenants, increase our focus on attracting the audience of the primary coverage area and local communities to the activity of the shopping mall brand, and diversify the tenant-mix of malls, while expanding sustainable product categories. We will strengthen the positioning of our shopping malls, rethink marketing-mix and communication channels, taking into account changes in customer patterns. And most importantly, we will experiment and find new platforms for growth and engagement.