According to a recent survey, Forum is the best-known and most frequented shopping centre in the Helsinki metropolitan area. A previous brand image and awareness survey indicated that Forum leads the central business district’s shopping centres in attracting customers with high purchasing power.
Sponda's shopping centre Forum achieved two significant results in a recent survey conducted by the market research company Taloustutkimus. According to the survey, Forum is the best-known and most frequented shopping centre among the 29 retail properties in the Helsinki metropolitan area.
Forum’s brand awareness was as high as 99 per cent in the survey. In addition, 95 per cent of the 1,052 respondents indicated they use Forum’s services or have done so in the past.
Why is Forum so popular?
“Forum has been developed with a long-term approach in cooperation with consumers and tenants. The results are now plain to see. The shopping centre’s occupancy rate is a full 100 per cent. Forum is also at the top of the list for new brands opening their first shops. The most recent examples are the Hehku chain of well-being shops and the new JYSK city concept that will make its way to Forum in August,” says Katja Hatakka, Shopping Centre Manager at Forum.
According to Hatakka, Forum’s popularity is also explained by the shopping centre’s attractive public events.
“Events like the meet&greet with Saara Aalto and the pop-up stores and autograph signing sessions of Antti Tuisku, JVG and Marcus&Martinus have been tremendously popular, as was the visit by the celebrity auctioneer from the Huutokauppakeisari reality TV show,” Hatakka explains.
Hatakka also highlights responsibility as a factor behind Forum’s popularity. The shopping centre’s comprehensive approach to responsibility includes customers, the environment and personnel.
“We are currently working on our BREEAM environmental certification with the aim of improving Forum’s energy efficiency and waste recycling rate. We also participate in youth employment projects and the Joulupuu charity campaign, which gives Christmas presents to children from low-income families in Helsinki. We maintain the Forum spirit by organising three recreational events each year. We want everyone who works at Forum to feel proud to represent this shopping centre,” Hatakka adds.
Customers value good café and restaurant services
The survey also looked into the factors influencing the choice of shopping centre. The most important factors were accessibility, the selection of shops, safety, cleanliness, the price level of shops and the availability of daily consumer goods.
Accessibility is still clearly the most important factor in choosing a shopping centre, but safety has emerged as a new factor as the third most important selection criterion among customers. It is also noteworthy that customers are increasingly evaluating shopping centres based on their cafés and restaurant services. The café and restaurant offering is even perceived as a substantially more important selection criterion than the service offering in general.
"Customers are increasingly evaluating shopping centres based on their cafés and restaurant services."
Customers are also paying more and more attention to the cleanliness of shopping centres. Having clean and tidy premises is seen as more important than the overall comfort of the shopping centre.
“Cleanliness, safety and customer comfort are the highest priorities at Forum. We are currently in the process of modernising the shopping centre’s toilet facilities with the aim of providing our customers with the best public toilet facilities in the city. According to our surveys, the sense of safety has always been high among our customers, thanks to the visible around-the-clock presence of our professional security partner Securitas on the premises,” Hatakka explains.
Forum also attracts the hottest target group in the market
Forum’s strong results in the latest survey are nothing new for the shopping centre. A brand image and awareness survey conducted by Dagmar in January 2018 indicated that Forum leads the central business district’s shopping centres in attracting customers with high purchasing power.
A demographic that stands out in Forum’s customer base is women between the ages of 15 and 35, who constitute the target group with the highest buying potential in the market at present.
"We are actively maintaining the Forum spirit – we want everyone who works at Forum to feel proud to represent this shopping centre.”
The women in this age group are more active shoppers and users of café and restaurant services than people in other demographic categories. They are also more eager to recommend the services they enjoy and listen to the recommendations of others.