Do we still visit shopping centres?

It’s clear to all retail professionals that online shopping is showing huge growth. The convenience, competitive pricing and speed which online shopping offers appeals to lots of us.  We have previously discussed how this affects stand alone retailers but it also begs the question of whether it affects shopping centres.

We decided the best way to find out more was to undertake a short and simple poll to our online panel. We simply asked 1455 people how often they visit a shopping centre on average? Here were the results which were very interesting:

  • Daily – 24
  • Several times a week – 96
  • Weekly – 350
  • Monthly – 332
  • Every few months – 288
  • Rarely/never – 365

It would appear that shopping centres still have a very large part to play in the way we shop with 75% of customers visiting one at least every few months.  So what about the other 25% who rarely or never use them, you may ask? Well, online shopping will clearly be a factor although it’s not always the only reason people don’t visit their local shopping centre. The fundamentals still need to be right such as having a clean and safe environment with the stores and activities available that consumers actually want to see.

The convenience and enjoyable atmosphere of a shopping centre including all the leisure activities, eateries and retail stores is still a very important part of the shopping experience. Though online retailers may have competitive prices, many people shop for the experience of it. People enjoy trying on clothes, speaking with staff, testing out gadgets, window shopping and simply spending time with family and friends. This experiential edge is something online retailers will always struggle to compete with.

Our initial findings bring into sharp focus why it is so important for shopping centre managers to listen to and understand their customer’s needs. If you want to improve your customers experiences and learn how to get reliable feedback, Retail Maxim offer mystery shopping services and customer insight. Find out more here.