While the skeptics believe that the retail industry (including shopping centres) is going through its biggest slump, we at Lemok Digital Agency believe otherwise. We believe that the digital revolution has mainly shifted the power from the retailer (or shopping centre) to the consumer and, has clearly brought an entirely new expectation about the ability as well as the ways with which to communicate.

In a changing landscape where consumer power is a force that can not be ignored, customer engagement is highly vital for any kind of business. Gone are the days when retailers (and shopping centres) chose what they sold in their stores, where to sell them and how to sell them. Emerging trends in the marketplace, such as heightened consumer expectations as well as technological changes have led to a shift in consumer behaviour and power. With the power firmly in their hands, consumers now choose what to buy, where they buy it and how they buy it. The real task for retailers (and shopping centres) now, is to identify ways to understand this digitally savvy consumer and cater for them respectively. 

It is common knowledge that the digitally savvy consumer usually does product research online before they go in-store to purchase the product, therefore information is required at lightning speed. This is where shopping centres can take advantage of the newly-launched WhatsApp business app.

Lemok Digital Agency is a township-based full-service digital marketing agency that specialises in shopping centre marketing. One of our clients is The Boulders Shopping Centre in Midrand, and we’ve recently launched the WhatsApp business app for the centre. Below are a few pointers we used in evaluating the platform for the centre:

Digital information desk

Consumers want readily available information in order to make their buying decisions. Shopping centres can utilise the WhatsApp Business App as a digital extension of their information desk. We can all be contacted, no matter where we are. 

The new WhatsApp Business App allows you to create a business profile with helpful, basic information for your customers like your address, operating times, how you can be contacted, as well as a link to your website for advanced browsing.

There are over 60 billion messages sent over WhatsApp daily, globally. Indeed, this is a platform Shopping Centres and retailers should be taking advantage of, considering it is one of those apps on our phones that are consistently open. And considering the fact that network providers such as Cell C have data plans specifically for the app, it makes more financial sense for consumers and therefore it is a prime platform to engage consumers as an online information desk.

Personalised experiences for consumers

Due to the nature of WhatsApp being a one-on-one text-based communication platform, it is a magnificent tool for endorsing a direct organic channel of communication. As a dedicated chat service for your customers, the opportunities to gain a better understanding on consumers and behaviours, through personal interactions, are more apparent. Factors such as the need for improved customer service, important queries and service recovery issues can be swiftly addressed in real time. 

Is your centre running an in-mall campaign? Maybe incorporate a WhatsApp group as a competition entry mechanism? The opportunities are vast.

Research is usually based on a small sample of the overall population that visits your shopping centre, making the research inaccurate. Daily interactions with your customer base, should give you a more informed overview of why consumers visit your mall, what they buy, frequency of visits, etc.

New form of advertising

WhatsApp status updates provide an opportunity to extend your centre’s advertising while granting opportunities such as launching 24-hour campaigns, only accessible through WhatsApp.

This gives shopping centres and retailers a more robust way of advertising to its customer base.

Whether your goal is to increase footfall, product of tenant sales or simply increase loyalty, we believe the WhatsApp business app is the platform you need to invest in.

Because of the real-time communication aspect of the app, it can be cumbersome to maintain the app on a daily basis. However, Lemok Digital Agency has built a team that is able to assist is managing your shopping centre’s WhatsApp with no hassles or delays in responses.

Contact Lebogang Mokubela on lebogang@lemokgroup.co.zato get you started

Source: Bizcommunity