Customer Loyalty In The Next Normal: The Future of Brick & Mortar Experiences



Since COVID hit, people have become more willing to purchase online and, at its height, made contactless activities the go-to choice.

As health and safety concerns have gone down, business leaders have speculated about the future of physical stores and shopping experiences.

To look into the future of retail, particularly large-scale shopping destinations like malls, first, we need to understand what customers expect.

People do not go to malls to shop.  

We know, that sounds totally counter-intuitive. But hear us out. People seek out shopping destinations to pursue a kind of lifestyle.

In a recent interview, the Deputy Retail Director of Swire Properties said that in recent years, consumption patterns have changed a lot. Shopping malls no longer focus on shopping.

More and more mall shoppers—regardless of age or background—tend to spend more money and time enjoying new dining experiences and exploring innovative lifestyle and wellness experiences.


The Lifestyle Hub

From coast to coast, in major cities and small towns, shopping malls provide a local landmark that integrates shopping, dining, work, life, leisure and entertainment.

Shopping malls are beginning to take advantage of this unique position. They’re embracing the value they bring their communities and establishing emotional connections with customers.

Working with their merchants, malls are becoming experience tastemakers. Immersive events styled for seasonality or to coincide with landmark events create exciting opportunities for shoppers to experience something new each time they visit the mall.

While allow merchants to showcase relevant wares, lifestyle experiences like workshops give shoppers a chance to interact deeply with products and brands. Special, invitation-only events add a touch of exclusivity and greatly enhance your customer loyalty.

Pulling off a captivating event requires finesse—even when in a retail environment. Event planners know the trick to heightening the experience is pulling in elements that stimulate each of the senses. Scent can be used to add emotional texture to the experience and make events as powerfully captivating as possible.


Interior Design

The success of a shopping center depends on the interior design and the creation of zones that move people throughout the space. Using fragrance to separate zones makes strolling around easy for shoppers and pulls them in to explore more zones, which ultimately affects their buying behavior.

An exciting trend in retail experiences is the pop-up store. Shopping centers fully utilizing mall space to create a unique pop-up experience. These events allow shoppers to experience mall brands they love—and ones they’ll come to love—in a whole new way.

The benefits are twofold. For malls, pop-ups attract shoppers and perhaps even local media coverage. Mall tenants love participating in pop-ups to highlight their campaigns or promotions and get discovered by new customers. And both the mall and its tenants benefit from the excellent social media content they can generate from events.

Pop-up events become even more thrilling when a scent is added to the space. In a time when social distancing makes it harder for retailers to build human connections, fragrance is a contactless engagement tool.

To make the moment unforgettable, fragrance is zoned to highlight the small pop-up store space. Customers have a complete, unforgettable.


Exclusive Customer Value

Treating loyal customers to extra perks allows malls to redefine the meaning of physical shopping and attract merchants and customers along the way. As major businesses, shopping malls usually have the infrastructure to pull major brand partnerships that give their customers special privileges.  

For example, collaborations with credit cards to allow shoppers to earn extra reward points by spending at certain destinations or with their merchants.

Extending the rewards to customers' homes allows shopping malls to continue to establish emotional connections even after customers leave. Adding scented products to a rewards program lets customers remember your brand even when their binge-watching their favorite shows at home.

Beefing up customer loyalty strategy is an easy win for shopping destinations that want to stand out during the new normal and into the next normal.  

Meeting the public demand for offline consumption and experience with omnichannel solutions that integrate online and offline (O2O) experiences will keep customers coming in and optimize customers' post-COVID shopping experience.