Retail Hacks by Arricano: 5 trends in commercial real estate marketing

Natalia Dmytrenko, Marketing Director of Arricano, visited the ICSC Marketing Conference and recorded 5 important marketing trends for shopping malls that may be applicable for the Ukrainian market

1. Digital illusion.

Many experts say that the advertising on the Internet and the social networks development affect such parameters as the shopping mall brand's recognition and the target audience loyalty. However, neither advertising on the Internet, nor the shopping mall's page on Facebook will allow predicting the growth of physical traffic to the shopping mall, or the growth of sales in the entire shopping mall, except for short-term promotional campaigns. Over the past year, skepticism has grown largely due to the huge amount of unverified data operated by Internet marketers, and which have harmed the financial results of some players. An example of companies that reoriented 1/3 of the marketing budget to the Internet and showed a significant reduction in sales is not the only one.

What should be done? You should deal deeper with online tools and check all the data, work with proven contractors and tie up adequate KPIs to the tasks.

This trend can be called the most ambiguous among others. In our business in Ukraine, we pay great attention to digitalization and, considering the pace of sales growth via the Internet, receiving information online and communication, we view the digital field as a huge potential for business opportunities that has not yet been fully explored and properly mastered.

2. Real estate objects' socialization

If we talked about urbanization before, now a new concept comes to the foreground, - the socialization of shopping malls and multifunctional real estate objects, as the most important factor of consumers' involvement. Socialization, which is actively spoken by foreign specialists today, implies not only marketing activities and events for different groups of the target audience, but also architectural features of the objects that allow perceiving the shopping mall as an extension of the urban environment.

The examples worthy of attention are very different. This is a huge staircase in the shopping mall, stylish and comfortable, on the steps of which, as in tourist locations, you can sit, take pictures, schedule appointments. This is the wedding in Donau Zentrum (the largest shopping mall in Vienna) with a real banquet, guests and a wedding ceremony. There are many such examples, it is important that the chosen tool matched the positioning of the shopping mall and its format.

3. Target audience segmentation

Today, marketers no longer segment the target audience according to the usual social and demographic criteria. It is proposed to focus on segmentation according to the customer's needs. Thus, older consumers, for example, increasingly pay attention to goods and services developed for a younger audience. This can be explained by the significant liberalization of society, the shift in consumer's interests in connection with the emerge of new trends (sharing economy, online everything, smart & healthy). We in Arricano, while making focus groups for the Prospekt shopping mall, also drew attention to this feature: women 35 - 45 years old named very young brands of clothes, which they pay attention to when planning their shopping route. Taking into account the tone of communication of these brands and their stylistics, it was more interesting to discover such a connection and consumer's reaction.

Segmentation according to needs is based on big data, the collection of which is a separate topic and a lot of work for marketing and research.

Does this mean that marketing no longer takes into account positioning and the target audience? Not at all. This means that we are dealing with surprises and should be more flexible when communicating with the consumer.

4. Marketing research and brand influence

The results of a wide range of marketing researches are important for the shopping mall's marketing, which make it possible to draw up a relevant picture. Today, a separate role is played by constant studies of the situation in the shopping mall, which are implemented with the help of sensors and allowing brands to influence the consumer unobtrusively. Mobile applications that «tie» the shopping mall's guest to the analytical system, provide two-way communication. On the one hand, the shopping mall receives an analysis of the flows movement through the shopping mall, reveals the interest or indifference of the guests to one or another retailer, on the other hand, the guest receives up-to-date information that stimulates him to stay longer in the shopping mall, change his shopping route, and come back again.

If we are talking about classical research, along with surveys in the shopping mall and beyond, telephone and online surveys, focus groups, researchers suggest that some new methods of qualitative research be used that will allow us better understanding the true causes of the consumer's reaction to the object itself or its features. In one example, experts from Great Britain told us about a study, the purpose of which was to understand the reasons for the low interest of the target audience to the shopping mall and the decrease in attendance. Classical surveys did not provide enough information, and the researchers used clippings from various magazines for various focus groups, which depicted people, events, or actions that caused emotions to differ. Participants in the study were asked to choose the picture or emotion they associate the shopping mall with. As a result, a whole list of problems was identified, it turned out that the visitors did not perceive the shopping mall as a safe and attractive space for the family visiting. Metaphorical techniques are an example of the researchers' top performance. However, it's up to us to decide whether to trust non-standard methods or to stop on the usual marketing research.

5. Me-Generation

The boundary-spanning between the representatives of different generations is the result of the same liberalization and socialization, as discussed above. «Me-Generation» has no bindings to the date of birth. A consumer, who is in fact a representative of «Y's» wants to live, for example, with the life of «Z's». The main signs of the «Me-Generation»: they create (as celebrities) the content by themselves, focus their experience and judgments on their own emotions and experiences, are not afraid to share it with the world and create their own «Me-World». It's needless to say that the «Me-Generation» representatives are not just trend setters for marketing, but also opinion leaders that can become brand ambassadors? It's definitely worthy.