In what can only be described as a surprising development a new report says that 79 per cent of Aussie blokes like going shopping in large shopping centres and a staggering 29 per cent admit they “love” the experience.
The report (admittedly by an owner of a major chain of shopping centres) by AMP Capital Shopping Centres (AMPCSC) says many retailers are ignoring an important category – and that’s blokes.
The report (which you can download here), titled When is a shopping centre more than just a shopping centre? was part of AMPCSC’s annual Recommended Retail Practice Report (RRP). It found 66 per cent of men visit a shopping centre at least once a week, and more men than women (74 per cent and 69 per cent respectively) are increasing the amount they spend on fashion items. This creates a strong opportunity for fashion retailers who can provide tailored styling services for men, such as M.J. Bale or Topman, the report found.
With the face of retail predominately designed for the female shopper, big changes may be in order for some retailers, as one in 10 males said they would spend more money if a retail offering was designed to cater to their interests and needs, as well as those of women.
Bryan Hynes, managing director of AMPCSC said of the (online) survey results: “The findings of the 2016 Recommended Retail Practice Report are truly fascinating, and the report will be a great tool for retailers looking to achieve success in a highly competitive and rapidly changing market.”
In addition to highlighting the need for retailers to engage more with men, the report found that the modern shopper looks to bricks-and-mortar retailers to go beyond just supplying goods or services to create a unique and memorable experience that cannot be replicated online.
Other findings of the study included:
Men vs Women
Technology also has a big impact on men. The Recommended Retail Practice Report found that 27 per cent of men would spend more with retailers who design and coordinate the online and in-store experience to make shopping more efficient and enjoyable, and 19 per cent would spend more if technology is used to enable them to shop with more confidence and ease.
Mr Hynes said: “The male shopper has certainly been overlooked by many retailers in the past, and it’s important that we as an industry re-engage with this important group of consumers. Retailers need to do more to provide an engaging experience for men that shows they understand their wants and needs, whether it be through the physical décor of the store or by serving them with tailored communications.”
Time vs Money
Most shoppers are time poor and looking for every way possible to cut down time spent on chores and errands, in order to maximise their leisure time. The uptake of ‘self-serve’ options at supermarket checkouts and discount department stores demonstrates this. The report found that 85 per cent of shoppers would spend as much, or more, if shopping experiences were designed to be more efficient and easy.
However, it goes beyond just providing efficiency, the report found that shoppers are looking to be rewarded for their loyalty in ways that go beyond discount cards. It found 73 per cent of shoppers are willing to spend as much or more if retailers reward them with special experiences or customised events. Essentially, retailers need to provide a face-to-face experience that cannot be replicated online.
Mr Hynes said: “For many people, time is money. Retailers need to be looking at ways to make the process of shopping for goods as efficient as possible, while at the same time creating special experiences for shoppers who visit your store which are just as, or more, compelling than the online option.”
Crowd vs Community
It’s not just mega-brands such as Apple and Netflix who can have cult-like followings from consumers. The report found that 84 per cent of shoppers indicated they would spend as much, or more, if retailers made positive contributions to the community. This is a key insight, especially for smaller retailers who are looking to foster brand loyalty.
This sense of loyalty can be fostered by connecting with local shoppers on an emotional level. Burger chain, Grill’d, has effectively adopted this strategy by giving customers the opportunity to donate to a local charity when purchasing meals.
Entertainment vs Mindfulness
Consumers are looking to retailers and shopping centres to provide them with new and diverse experiences to entertain them during their trip to the shops. This helps extend their leisure time and is a great opportunity for food retailers, who have been experiencing a boom in the last few years.
In fact, the Recommended Retail Practice Report found that 82 per cent of shoppers would spend as much or more if food experiences were designed to provide opportunities to relax and have time out.
Somewhere vs Anywhere
When it comes to bricks and mortar retail stores, the physical environment is of critical importance. The report found that shoppers want the destination to connect with the land around it, creating seamless transition between inside and outside.
Mr Hynes said: “Retailers who can give shoppers a sense of pride in a particular place will increase both shopper engagement and sales. At AMP Capital Shopping Centres, this is referred to as our placemaking strategy. A great example of how we put this into practice is the recently completed $670 million redevelopment of Pacific Fair on the Gold Coast. One of the key features of the new centre is The Resort – an unrivalled open air retail precinct, filled with lush palm trees, gently running water features and secluded cabanas for visitors to stop and take in the relaxed oasis in-between shopping and dining. This connects the centre to its unique beachside location in a way that is elegant, yet sophisticated and warm, creating a sense of luxury that isn’t flashy or superficial.”