Loyalty; everyone is trying to do it, but very few are getting it right. Shopping centres are becoming increasingly experimental and, as the race is on to become the most digitally connected centre, a loyalty scheme is the obvious choice when looking to bridge customers online and offline shopping experiences.

Schemes have three main functions for shopping centres, which are; to reward shopper loyalty, strengthen the tenant / centre relationship, and to provide the centre and tenants with a wealth of intelligent customer data. Loyalty programmes also have a number of benefits for the tenants, shoppers and the centres themselves. These include; increasing a customer’s lifetime value, enhancing the shopping centre’s brand, increasing shopper dwell time and transaction frequency, the ability to track spend per customer and ATV (average transactional value) to better understand shopper behaviour, and improving the customer experience by rewarding their loyalty. Such schemes are a great way to more effectively measure marketing activity and to encompass trending customer behaviour into future strategies.

While there are many perks to implementing a loyalty scheme, occasionally these are not being experienced as shopping centres can fall into common pitfalls which prevent them from getting the most out of the programme. These avoidable stumbling blocks are as follows:


1. Disengaged tenants

It is essential that tenants are fully on-board with the loyalty scheme. The bottom line is that if centres aren’t able to present brand rewards or something ‘exclusive’ from their brands, then they won’t have a successful loyalty scheme. Shopping Centres need to approach tenant engagement with a focused strategy which clearly highlights the benefits and customer data that they will receive through the scheme. Most importantly, centres need to communicate with their tenants regularly or have dedicated brand engagement teams in place.


2. Over-complicating schemes

Loyalty schemes need to be easy to use for shoppers. Customers are typically busy and are often stretched for time, therefore schemes need to be easy for them to adopt – from sign up to points redemption and collection. As a rule, it is important that loyalty schemes contain a maximum of three barriers to entry for customers.

Furthermore, shopping centres need to consider whether their scheme is engaging and relevant to their customers. Rewards need to be relevant for shoppers and should be optimised to ensure that high value customers, for example, who have lapsed in their spending receive a promotional offer which entices them to visit again.


3. Ignoring tech opportunities

It is now widely recognised that the customer journey is complex and at times fragmented. Many customers do not shop via a single channel and often switch between visiting in-store and researching products online before making a purchase. As the customer is becoming increasingly connected, it is important that loyalty schemes are too.

There are various different types of technology to consider, but the most important are surrounding registration and redemption. Registration is often most effective when it happens at the point of sale (POS) and, for redemption, it is beneficial to offer numerous options to cover all tenant’s requirements. These options can range from standalone scanners through to POS app integration, by covering all bases for tenants it makes it easier for them to get involved, without disrupting their existing operations. This can also extend to including digital redemption built into the app, allowing the customer to redeem rewards on a channel of their choosing.


4. Going solo

Unless the shopping centre is happy to spend years developing and planning a scheme, and already has a data analyst team, loyalty specialists, and an ‘offer sourcing’ engagement department, I strongly advise shopping centres work closely with a partner. The partner needs to have the right technology to hand, and the ability to get the scheme off the ground across multiple centres, in a matter of months, to fully gain advantage over the competition in the area. Working with a specialist partner who has a dedicated tenant engagement team can help shopping centres to launch a programme that encourages the majority of the centre’s tenants to get involved.


5. Lack of promotion

A loyalty scheme is a great marketing opportunity to build a hype around a shopping centre, but without active and strategic promotion, no one will know it exists.

It is important that people not only know about the scheme, but that they recognise the unique benefits it presents, as well as how to use it, and how to get involved. When promoting, it is essential that centres carefully consider how the programme is going to be positioned, and the messaging behind the promotion. One effective way to highlight the scheme is to create a sub brand name for the programme, Trinity Leeds successfully did this with, “Love Trinity Leeds”.

To optimise reach, centres should utilise all channels such as email and social media. For example, we typically see more than 40% open rate from customers registered to loyalty schemes – which is over double the national average open rate for the industry.


6. Neglecting data

It is essential for centres to have a clear strategy in terms of how they will optimise and utilise the customer data collected, so not to get overwhelmed by the sheer scale of it. Data should directly inform marketing strategy through the visibility it provides on customer shopping behaviour.

Shopping centre-wide loyalty schemes can provide tenants and centres with detailed insights into customer trends and behaviours, presenting many benefits to both businesses. For example, shopping centres can even determine how much an individual shopper typically spends and how much they’re spending in specific brands. But if the scheme is set up or used wrongly these benefits will not only be unobtainable, but costly and potentially a cause for lost customer loyalty.

In a time where economic uncertainty is at a high it is more important than ever to ensure that customer experience is optimised and loyalty is encouraged, by ensuring that the above 6 pitfalls are avoided, centres and retailers will maintain a healthy two-way relationship with high value customers.

If you enjoyed finding out what our six top things to look out for to prevent your loyalty programme for falling at the first hurdle, we recommend watching our latest webinar! It includes input from shopping centres and retailers across the world sharing their experiences with loyalty and how they were able to secure success from day one.

Watch The Recording

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