AL Marketing is working with its clients and REVO to build a picture of what best practice will look like as we emerge out of this pandemic. Based on decades of experience in the sector, AL Marketing has prepared guidance through the REVO Safety and Security Committee, a communications checklist for centres to follow.
The Shopping Centre industry faces a unique communications challenge over the coming weeks. Shopping centres are faced with the dilemma of welcoming back customers into a familiar but radically changed environment. Centre messaging needs to be clear, confident, consistent and creative. There is a huge amount to consider and it is imperative marketing and management teams work together to deliver a package of communications that welcome and instil a level of confidence in the processes making the shopping centre safe and hygienic for all customers and staff. Managing expectations is important, as for many this will not be a carefree return to the UK’s most popular leisure pursuit – shopping.
Queues and restrictions in malls and shops, fewer cafés and restaurants, concerns over cleanliness and social distancing are all alien experiences and will take time to become comfortable. In welcoming back customers, centres need to show they care about everyone’s wellbeing – kindness and consideration will need to be at the heart of all communications. For instance should changing rooms still be used, should shoppers be advised not to touch products they don’t intend to buy, will parking bays be reduced, how will people use escalators and lifts and where does the onus lie with some of these steps – tenant or centre management? The steps and considerations that need to be made are vast and REVO will be supporting the industry with the help of on-line resources and member expertise.
Eileen Connolly, Joint MD of AL Marketing said, “Our customers need ongoing reassurance and all the information they need to enjoy a structured return to shopping centres. We need to be consistent and clear in our communication and above all flexible in meeting new demands as the picture unfolds. Already other parts of the world are experiencing a slow release from lockdown but it’s clear no-one has yet established best practice – we have no doubt the UK market will rise to that challenge!”