With retail sales shifting to online, the ever-growing market share of Amazon, and trends in downsizing retail footprints, are indoor shopping malls still relevant to consumers? In a March 2017 research study by Market Force Information®, we asked over 3500 consumers about their shopping preferences—and whether they still frequented malls.

Consumers’ top three places to shop included online (48%), at discount retailers (53%) and at indoor shopping malls (52%)—and of those, one third said they shop at an indoor mall at least once a month.  

Reasons for shopping at an indoor mall? 63% said they can touch/feel the merchandise before they buy and another 45% said they can browse and get ideas.

When asked what might motivate consumers to visit malls more frequently, three categories got the highest responses:

  • Sales events for all mall customers: 63%
  • Specific events for loyalty customers: 35%
  • Trendy restaurant, bars and night clubs: 33%

Mall retailers need to have the highest ROI possible in their mall lease space. To do that, they need to be laser-focused on both the merchandising strategy and the service provided in the store. (After all, if great service isn’t provided, why not just shop online?) To measure ROI, we highly recommend using conversion rate as a core metric and using sales efficacy as a way to improve conversion rates. As an example, see the commentary on our Fashion Retail research on the tremendous positive impact effective sales associates have on conversion rates. 

Knowing how your stores perform on conversion should be part of your store-level assessments so that you can take action to drive same store sales.  Your programme should include a measure of sales efficacy that includes suggestive sell (download Suggestive Sell white paper below) assessing:

  1. Customer needs assessment
  2. Association recommendations for additional products
  3. Associates closing /asking for the sale
  Download White Paper

It’s a pretty simple approach, and if executed consistently you see positive results.

Once you have intel on your conversion rates, include action plans in your training program and reinforce: 

  • how to effectively assess customer needs by asking open-ended questions,
  • how to match products to customer wants and needs, and
  • have associates practice closing the sale.

Don’t get distracted by the customers who aren’t in your store. Focus on the customers who are on your floor and find out what they need or want, make product recommendations, and ask for the sale.

If you’d like to brainstorm with us about how to improve conversion rates, schedule a briefing and we’ll bring our experts to the table.

Schedule a Briefing

Alicia Picard is a Senior Strategy Director at Market Force. With a background in marketing and operations, Alicia provides best-practice consultation to retailers on their customer experience programs.