8 Marketing Ideas for Shopping Malls

Increase Foot Traffic and Create an Engaged Community with These Tested Marketing Ideas for Shopping Malls   

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shopping mall marketing ideas featured image showing a shopping mall with a tree in the middle and buyers walking around with masks

The daily challenge that shopping center managers face is increasing traffic flow. That’s one of the main reasons why they invest time and budget in marketing. Here are a few tested marketing ideas for shopping malls that will help you attract more foot traffic and create a lasting connection with your customers.

1. Create a unique hashtag for your shopping mall

Hashtags make it easier to search for conversations and participate in them. Of course, this goes for the private use of social media, but user-generated hashtag campaigns are also something many businesses leverage nowadays.

Having a unique hashtag for your shopping mall will help you easily monitor and collect the content that visitors post on social media while sharing their shopping experiences. It’s also a great way to discover your true fans. Here’s a great hashtag campaign guide to help you choose a good hashtag.

Encourage your customers to use your official hashtag and post about their experience at your shopping mall, stores, or interactions with customer service. People enjoy sharing unique products and experiences with their community on social media, which is powerful authentic content you can use in your marketing.

The shopping center chain VIVO does a great job creating a unique hashtag for each location. For example, for their Shopping mall in Baia Mare, Romania, they are using the hashtag #VIVOBaiaMare – a combination between the name of the shopping center and the location.

Shopping mall marketing ideas example screenshot from the VIVO Baia Mare Shopping Mall Social Wall with the official local hashtag #VIVOBaiaMare highlighted.
VIVO Baia Mare Shopping Mall Social Wall

Track posts shared by customers using your hashtag using a hashtag wall

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2. Organize events on weekends and during holidays

People no longer need to leave their homes to shop; they do so to interact with each other, join a community, and get a sense of belonging. That’s why malls should focus less on the notion of ‘shopping’ and more on their function as centers for socializing and culture. 

Marketing actions should target the general public through musical, artistic, and social events. Over the weekend or during holidays, everyone is looking for different events they can go to and enjoy their time off work. Your current unused mall space is large enough to serve as an event venue. This opens up opportunities for community groups and non-profit organizations to hold events year-round and increase foot traffic.

You can also host competitions with attractive prizes. For example, you can leverage photo contests to promote your brand and that of the tenants, as well. You can get lots of user-generated content by asking your customers to take photos or selfies of their experience at your mall. You could also do cross-promotions by asking the store owners to share the pictures on their social media accounts. Finally, gather all that fantastic content on a social wall and allow people to vote for their favorite photo using Reactions.

Here are some more event ideas that work well for Ivana Ljušić Ristić, Marketing Manager at Rajiceva Shopping Center.

Ivana Ljušić Ristić

Ivana Ljušić Ristić, Marketing Manager at Rajiceva Shopping Center

We are constantly organizing various events inside our shopping center. We had a couple of fashion shows and presentations of novelties from the fashion world but also a different type of event, such as the organization of group baby showers.

3. Use social media channels for news and promotions

It would be best if you used all your social media channels to promote new stores, the events you organize, new collections, new movies at the mall’s cinema, or the sales and giveaways your tenants are running. 

Generating a sense of anticipation and making followers feel they are the first to receive the latest news will guarantee positive reactions. In addition, it will drive people to your shopping mall.

If you’re searching for inspiration when it comes to great social media content for your shopping mall, make sure you check out the Instagram account of the world’s biggest mall. The Dubai Mall does a great job mixing different kinds of engaging content on their social media profiles. They have over 1 million followers on Instagram alone.

Dubai Mall Instagram profile screenshot

Source: Dubai Mall Instagram profile

4. Engage website visitors with a social media widget

The content you invest time creating for your social media fans should go beyond the platforms you publish it on. For example, a social media widget lets you display content on the shopping mall’s website from all your social media accounts.

Every new post published on your company’s profiles will be automatically added to the social widget. You can further curate the content, only choosing content around a specific event or campaign.

Apart from the content you create, you can use a social media widget to collect and display posts that customers and influencers share on social media. They will make valuable social proof for your website.

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If your shopping mall has locations in different countries or cities, you can create a customized social hub that displays content relevant to each site. 

Here’s a great example from STOP SHOP – an IMMOFINANZ-brand for retail parks in Central and Eastern Europe. They have over 90 retail parks in nine countries and do a great job sharing relevant social media updates using Walls.io social hubs on websites in different countries. Each social hub aggregates content from STOP SHOP’s social media accounts suitable for that location and language. Here are two examples from their Austrian and Slovak websites.

Stop Shop mall Austrian website screenshot with social feed embed
Source: Stop Shop mall Austrian website
Stop Shop mall Slovak website social feed embed.
Source: Stop Shop mall Slovak website

5. Combine user-generated content with digital signage

Displaying your social media feed and the user-generated content you collected using your official hashtag on digital signage is a great way to connect your online and offline marketing efforts. 

Setting a social media screen benefits your marketing communication strategy in many ways. It enables you to connect with the audience, boost sales and brand awareness, promote your events and tenants, and keep your community engaged.

Here’s a great example of how shopping malls across South Africa used social media displays to feature authentic user-generated content from Cadbury’s holiday campaign. Cadbury SA encouraged customers and fans to share a message of appreciation using the hashtag #CadburyFestive. The best posts would be featured on billboards throughout the country every Friday. The social displays gave people a good reason to participate in the campaign and share their messages on social media using the official hashtag. Read more about the hashtag marketing campaign.

Marketing Ideas for Shopping Malls: digital signage social wall by Cadbury inside a shopping mall.
Cadbury display by Primedia at a shopping mall

Set up social media displays for your shopping mall and encourage visitors to share their their experiences.

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6. Leverage user-generated content in your advertising

Product reviews from other people influence us. Existing customers provide social proof for potential ones that your brand is worthy of their time and money. Most importantly, you are now selling your products to the first generation of digital natives. And they are incredibly ad-averse. They prefer authentic, inspiring content echoed by the voices of real people. 

Someone might not click on a regular ad for your brand, but they are likely to click on a post their friends have shared about it. Drive conversions with authentic UGC from existing visitors raving about how happy they are visiting your shopping mall, joining events or fun competitions organized by your tenants.

User-generated content lets consumers see what other shoppers say about your shopping mall and can help foster a sense of trust that motivates them to visit and make a purchase.

Through social media advertising, you can maximize user-generated content to attract new customers, establish a positive reputation, and provide value to first-time and frequent visitors.

7. Use influencers related to your target group

When it comes to marketing ideas for shopping malls, influencer marketing cannot be left out. It’s a great way to expand your reach. Find a handful of influencers relevant to your market and ask them to promote your hashtag, tweet, retweet, and create content around events happening at your shopping mall. You can even involve your tenants and get influencers to promote new collections or giveaways your brands are organizing. 

Collect the content shared by your influencers and customers on a social wall!

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Involving influencers works great for Ivana Ljušić Ristić, Marketing Manager at Rajiceva Shopping Center.

Ivana Ljušić Ristić

Marketing Manager at Rajiceva Shopping Center

Regarding social network communication, we cooperate with leading influencers related to our target group. We organize a photoshoot at least four times a year; it’s essential to cover the products our tenants offer and the various promotions and benefits we provide. On our social profiles, we often show the specificity of the range we offer.

8. Validate all your shopping mall marketing ideas

You can get creative when it comes to marketing ideas for shopping malls, but it can be that you end up with a bunch of great ideas on the table. Would they all work for your target audience, though?

If you can do it, ask before you invest a lot of time in a new initiative. Validating ideas with the social media community works great for Rana Abdelkhaliq, Senior Marketing Manager at Fairlane Shopping Center.

Rana Abdelkhaliq

Rana Abdelkhaliq, Senior Marketing Manager at Fairlane Shopping Center

At our shopping center, I like to survey our followers before introducing a new concept/event at the mall to ensure an audience for it. For example, we started monthly Zumba and Salsa classes as part of our wellness Wednesday health initiative. We have 60,000 followers in our database, so I first suggested the idea on Instagram, and people took a liking to it. We got reposted, and email open rates were higher than ever; that was our green light, so I would always try to get a feel for something before applying it. We also had a sip and dip event for valentines/galentines; people loved that concept!

Instagram post from the Shop Fair Lane profile showing a photo of a couple with heart paintings in their hands. The text of the post says: "Thank you to everyone that came to our Sip&Dip event! You all did a wonderful job on your paintings."
Source: Instagram
Instagram post from the Shop Fair Lane profile showing a photo of couples sitting at tables in a shopping mall painting on Valentine's day. The text of the post says: "Thank you to everyone that came to our Sip&Dip event! You all did a wonderful job on your paintings."
Source: Instagram

Make those marketing ideas come true

It’s time for you to attract people to your shopping mall. 

So start benefiting from the marketing ideas for shopping malls shared in this article. Create your official hashtags and incentivize people to share their experiences. Make sure you monitor the hashtag across all social networks and use a social media feed widget to collect and display that content on your website or social media displays. Then, use that content to spread the word about your shopping mall and attract more visitors.