Plenty of attractive offers, good timing and a multi-channel marketing mix. These are the ingredients for a successful price campaign at a shopping centre.
According to Pia Rosvall, Sponda’s Marketing Manager for the Forum shopping centre, price campaigns are a very important tool for shopping centres to increase their customer volume and boost sales.
Forum’s Hintasirkus (“Price Circus”) campaign organised in late March increased the shopping centre’s customer volume by 15–20 per cent compared to a normal week. Measured in terms of customer volume, the results of this year’s campaign were slightly better than last year. Some 45,000 visitors pass through Forum every day.
“It’s difficult to say how much a price campaign increases individual retailers’ sales, as we only receive monthly reports, but we can say that a price campaign often rescues the shopping centre’s sales for a full month. However, the differences between individual retailers can be quite considerable. Smaller shops that are very active in participating in price campaigns can achieve short-term increases in sales of up to 200 per cent,” says Rosvall, who has been involved in the Forum shopping centre’s Hintasirkus campaigns for nine years.
A major effort
Forum’s Hintasirkus concept was launched as many as 25 years ago. The campaigns are held twice a year, in March and September.
“March and September are the best months for launching new products. A price campaign represents a major marketing effort for a shopping centre. The participating retailers must offer significant special offers to customers for the campaign to achieve its targets, as consumers are very price-conscious. A discount of 50% on a product helps drive traffic into the shop and also inspires customers to buy other products at normal prices,” Rosvall explains.
A successful price campaign requires close co-operation between entrepreneurs as well as media and advertising agencies.
“Feedback from the entrepreneurs helps develop and revamp the price campaign to make it even more effective,” Rosvall says.
Slightly more than half of the 140 shops in Forum participated in the most recent Hintasirkus campaign.
“Certain brands and high-volume chains have an absolute policy of not participating in price campaigns. Nevertheless, we try to support these shops as well; for example, by communicating information on their new products,” Rosvall adds.
The visual appeal of the Hintasirkus campaign was most recently boosted by various digital signs and displays placed inside Forum.
The key factors for a successful price campaign
1. Attractive offers
A discount of 50% on a product serves as a loss leader that draws customers into the shop and also inspires them to buy other products.
Spring and autumn are good times for launching new products. In the autumn, for example, people buy a lot of winter clothes. The timing of the campaign should also coincide with typical paydays. Consumers are more prone to shopping around that time.
3. Avoid overlap
It’s important to consider that the shops in the shopping centre will also run their own campaigns from time to time. Price campaigns should be discussed with the various shops to find a time that doesn’t overlap with other campaigns. Ideally, as many brands as possible will be able to participate in the price campaign with their best products.
4. The catalogue is still going strong
A successful price campaign is supported by multi-channel marketing communication that drives customer traffic into the shopping centre. The price campaign’s own print catalogue or advertising supplement is still a significant communication tool. Many customers still come to shops carrying the catalogue or advertising supplement to find a specific product listed on it. In marketing the Hintasirkus campaign, Forum uses an eight-page supplement in the free Metro newspaper in addition to traditional print, TV, radio and outdoor advertising. Social media channels are important from an image standpoint, but they don’t necessarily contribute a great deal to making the cash registers ring.
5. Allocate sufficient time for planning
A price campaign requires close co-operation between shops as well as advertising and media agencies. Product descriptions, ad design, orders for display and decoration materials, reviewing draft advertisements and booking event entertainment and MCs all requires careful scheduling and can easily take 1–2 months. The planning of Forum’s autumn Hintasirkus campaign, for example, starts in June.
6. Be selective about events and entertainment
The event and entertainment programme of a price campaign should be carefully planned. While it can liven up the atmosphere in the shopping centre, it can also have a negative impact on sales. The main focus of a price campaign must be on increasing sales.
7. A price campaign must produce good results
For large shopping centres, a price campaign represents a major marketing investment, even exceeding EUR 100,000. Organising a campaign only makes sense when the co-operation partners are able to offer attractive products and substantial discounts.
8. Co-operation with various associations
If there are many associations, clubs or other activities around the shopping centre, it pays off to seek synergies with such organisations. A football team looking to gain publicity for its activities, for example, can bring more visitors to the shopping centre. These people will then see what is on offer at the shopping centre and perhaps buy products such as sporting goods.