Western Real Estate Business

MAY 2018

Western Real Estate Business magazine covers the multifamily, retail, office, healthcare, industrial and hospitality sectors in the Western United States.

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58 • May 2018 • Western Real Estate Business www.REBusinessOnline.com D riving customer traffic is the heartbeat of a retail center. Retail landlords are realizing they must improve on customer ex- periential shopping if they want to drive traffic to their centers in today's competitive market. The more sophis- ticated landlords are rising to the oc- casion, creating innovative strategies to improve the experience and secure their center as the community shop- ping destination, thereby increasing foot traffic and ultimately increasing sales for their tenants. One way landlords are achieving this is by creating an annual event calendar for their centers that enable these gathering spaces to become part of the customer's social sched- ule. With continuous communication, landlords can connect with their cus- tomers through email, as well as post their calendars, which include center and store promotions, events and spe- cial offers on the center's social plat- forms. Costumers engage by checking in frequently, looking for emails and SMS reminders (text messages) from their centers of choice, which can maximize communication and nur- ture customer loyalty. Landlords are investing in costly amenities to ensure shoppers have a stress-free experience from the mo- ment a customer arrives at a shopping center. This starts with technology- driven parking signage, which directs shoppers to available parking spaces. Once a customer arrives, landlords are able to communicate through digital marketing strategies using the center's application, SMS messaging and digital directories. Customers can now locate the store they plan to visit, learn about center offerings and receive special offers upon arrival. As customer relations become a crucial part of gaining customer satisfaction, landlords are encouraging their team, including personnel, onsite vendors, and staff, to engage with customers. Engagement not only allows a cen- ter's team to communicate with cus- tomers, but it enables them to capture information and monitor customer behaviors. Savvy landlords are also getting cre- ative to ensure their customers enjoy their shopping experience by offering amenities like: • On-the-spot text responses from concierge service • Transportation services • Trolleys • Complimentary shuttle services • Complimentary Uber/Lyft transportation • Valet parking • Free Wi-Fi • Child care services • Kids' play areas • Pet-friendly accommodations • Family lounges • Bike programs • Outdoor dining and seating areas • Fountain and fireside areas • Electric car charging stations • Community meeting spaces Many landlords work with their marketing team to implement strate- gic promotional events. These events are designed to coincide with sea- sonal shopping patterns. From spring to summer and fall through winter, shopping centers schedule events that will bring customers in. These events are usually determined up to a year in advance and are completed in close collaboration with the center's retail- ers. These events offer shoppers a per- sonal experience, involving them as an actively engaged participant. Spring and summer bring warmer weather and an opportunity to host outdoor events. These events may include Easter bunny visits, mov- ies under the stars, open-air concerts, firework shows and famers markets. Fall and winter bring new challenges as the weather cools down and landlords and retailers gear up to capture their share of the holiday shopping market. Fall events may include safe trick- or-treating, Halloween costume con- tests and pumpkin patches. Landlords are also utilizing vacancies for indoor experiential events, such as haunted houses, art shows, talent competitions and Santa's village. Speaking of Santa, Christmas tree and Menorah lightings, Santa's arriv- al, festival of lights, 3-D light shows, train rides and traditional caroling are all ways a center can come to life dur- ing the holiday season. These events give landlords the opportunity to en- gage with their customers through contests, raffles, giveaways, product and food sampling and much more. Successful landlords partner with their retailers on promotional events to achieve maximum results. Many retailers adjust their store hours, offer samples, tastings, how-to workshops and product training during these events. From the moment a consumer de- cides to shop, they've already deter- mined where they are headed. Land- lords who foster connections and make the customer's visit memorable will ensure those visits throughout the year and beyond. Heather Danko, President and CEO, Olivia and Rose & Associates in Los Angeles Spring and summer bring warmer weather and an opportunity to host outdoor events that the whole family can enjoy, including dog-friendly Easter bunny visits. Fall events at well-programmed shopping centers may include safe trick-or-treating, Halloween costume contests and pumpkin patches. RETAIL LANDLORDS AIM TO IMPROVE CUSTOMER EXPERIENTIAL SHOPPING Well-timed and executed events are a crucial component to garnering foot traffic in any shopping center, particularly when those events involve the whole family and holidays we look forward to all year round. By Heather Danko Danko Christmas tree and Menorah lightings, Santa's arrival, festival of lights, 3-D light shows, train rides and traditional caroling are all ways a center can come to life during the holiday season.

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