18:51 3 June 2020
Post by: WBJ

Post-lockdown Poland. How to make retail marketing work

Tomasz Opiela, CEO of Valkea, a marketing agency, discussed with the WBJ consumer behavior and attitudes, and how retailers and shopping centers can use this to their advantage.

Post-lockdown Poland. How to make retail marketing work
Source: WBJ

Interview by Morten Lindholm

WBJ: We have been locked down for months. What are your observations so far?

Tomasz Opiela: When the announcement was made that shopping malls could open again, it didn’t give – neither asset managers nor tenants – much time to prepare as it was communicated just before long May 1 weekend. [May 1 and 3 are national holidays across Poland.] Fortunately, most of the malls we cooperate with have been continuing a solid social media presence and online customer service. So these channels were key contributors in providing communities of malls’ customers with information about opening hours and shops with delayed openings. They also provided all key information regarding safety, social distancing, number of visitors per sqm, parking space, etc.

There were many prognoses about the number of footfalls and transactions when “business is back.” In general though, in my opinion, the numbers were higher than feared and lower than hoped. We were presumably down by an average of 30 percent year-on-year in May. We have seen huge differences and interesting patterns between local-community shopping areas and big-city malls. This is something we are analyzing to provide guidance to our clients in terms of their marketing investments.

WBJ: What are the key consumer attitudes and behavior changes? What do you advise the marketeers to do?

Tomasz Opiela: There are currently no formal restrictions holding back owners to increase the number of clients to their shopping complexes anymore. [As of June 3, gyms and cinema are yet to open to the public.] Despite that the first and worst part of the Covid-19 pandemic is over, people are still seeking safety. Something we call “smart shopping” – an extremely important issue. So what is it?

Our research and analysis show that consumers don’t buy things they don’t really need right now. They check prices. They look for promotions. They like to get more for the same price. And they are willing to drive longer to go to shops/shopping centers where you can get some extra benefits with your purchase. All that said, premium brands are still attractive in these times. It is the recognition effect where wearing a brand gives you a status symbol and also the feeling that you bought good quality products that can last longer. The conclusions give us answers on how to effectively use this mindset in marketing in the coming months. We have spent time analyzing how this new behavior can be combined with the needs for marketing that malls have.

Valkea is now ready to launch a new innovative product, based on online channels, that presents offers of almost all tenants of a shopping complex, content in video, photo and text formats, individual pricing and incentives, and guaranteed and measurable reach of potential clients. We also recommend our partners to organize PRO-sale (smart sale-enhancing) actions with carefully selected prizes. While organizing them we have to make sure they are customer-focused – safe, easy, quick, touchless: four pillars of success, given the current situation.

WBJ: What media selection do you recommend to shopping centers?

Tomasz Opiela: First of all, their activities right now need to be agile and swiftly adjustable. We are still and will be for some time in a changing and new reality. Therefore, the solutions we choose need to be easy and fast to implement. They need to be measurable and adaptable. So success can be quickly attained while campaigns less effective can be scaled down. Naturally, digital and social media campaigns that can be tailored to reach 100 percent of a shopping center’s potential customers is something we recommend and work a lot with.

Valkea provides solutions that give our clients a guarantee of reaching people they want to communicate with. For example, using mobile phone data we can target campaigns at everyone who shopped in shopping complexes in the last six months. We can then invite them back using special offers. We can also adjust the campaigns based on demographics, behavior and online users’ patterns, giving us great insights for how communication must sound and look.

We have to remember that people still spend more time at home than ever before. They analyze and prepare shopping more carefully than before the coronavirus times because they have more time to do it. Malls and retailers must use this opportunity to influence consumers at the time they plan their shopping. There is a great opportunity for home-delivered custom magazines that can present offers from all tenants of a shopping complex and inspire “smart shopping.”

Founded over 20 years ago, Valkea is a Warsaw-headquartered marketing agency with a strong foothold in the shopping center marketing field.

retail marketing

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