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  • Mall to Mobile
  • MM2
  • MM1

Centre Perks for UK Shoppers

Client: Centre Perks
Brand: Mall to Mobile

Shopping Centres across the UK are adopting a new mobile digital product that puts store promotions, news and local interest stories in the palm of shoppers’ hands. The product, called Mall-to-Mobile, has been developed by the Destination marketing team at communications agency, Bray Leino.

You can visit the Center Perks website here:  http://www.centreperks.co.uk/

It provides a seamless service for shopping destinations - gathering information on every retailer to showcase their offer and sharing it with customers through a new, dedicated mobile website, as well as via social media channels.

Simon Baldwin, Head of Bray Leino Destination, who heads the team, has over 20 years experience in the UK's retail, tourism and leisure industries. Through 2011, he oversaw development work on the project – and test cases were run shortly before last Christmas to prove its value and return on investment. He explains: "It is complex in its design but very simple in its delivery and use – and that has been the trick, to create something that meets so many requirements whilst maintaining a focus to ensure Mall-to–Mobile benefits those for whom it is designed – shoppers and retailers."

Baldwin has worked with almost 100 shopping centres in the last two decades and has seen a "massive shift" in how centres promote and market themselves to customers. He says: "Twenty years ago, it was all about new developments and shoppers lining up to see shiny new malls full of retailers. Today, shopping centre owners and their retailers have to work much, much harder to win and retain the loyalty of customers – and that premise has been at the heart of our work. Driving visitor numbers and dwell time to improve loyalty and spend."

He claims Mall–to–Mobile is "unique in the market place" adding: "The product is a 100% integrated service – overseen by our own staff from start to finish." He explains: "I know and appreciate shopping centres and retailers seldom have the time at the local level to really engage with their customers. As shoppers, we all want local engagement and service. We don't just want 'top down' brands. We want communication to be relevant, engaging and deliver real value."

Mall-to-Mobile sees Bray Leino's own brand ambassadors in each location visiting every store within the centre to capture content. "We photograph all kinds of things – from new products to sale items, offers to items that just really catch our team's eye." Baldwin adds: "Our staff then upload the information via our CentrePerks app, feeding it to members of our own PR team who write the content so that it is relevant and engaging for shoppers and visitors in that given location. Those messages are then issued online - via both desktop and mobile web sites as well as through the centre's own Facebook and Twitter feeds - to ensure maximum reach."

Centres in counties across the UK are adopting the service – from Greater Manchester to Devonshire, mid-Glamorgan to Middlesex. One of the first to embrace the new Mall-to-Mobile service is Kingfisher Shopping Centre in Worcestershire.

Perminder Dhillon, General Manager of Kingfisher, says: "It supports the Centre seven days a week by featuring offers and news from every retailer, every month, we also know we are getting the message 'out there' on the breadth and depth of our mixed retail and leisure offer.

"We are seeing better engagement online with our shoppers – via Facebook and Twitter as well as through our desktop and new mobile sites."

Baldwin explains the focus on mobile saying: "We track dozens of client websites to monitor online traffic. Mobile access is growing rapidly and is definitely the way to go as more and more customers are using mobile to find online information. It also provides free and open access to customers when they are out and about - with no issues of compatibility and no requirement to download apps."

The uptake has been swift. In the first quarter of 2012, a dozen centres have signed up and seen the service launched, but Baldwin knows they are "scratching the surface" as far as the wider opportunity is concerned. He adds: "We have proposals with individual centres as well as with interested owners and will soon be launching the service for the direct benefit of town and city centres. That will be a very exciting development – opening the opportunity to hundreds of businesses in each location."

A Mentor on the Portas Pilot scheme, Baldwin has a passion for driving local retail engagement and adds: "Many schemes and plans are too grand. They are simply too top heavy and require too much time and investment to make them work. We are a small and specialist team within a well resourced communications agency, so have been able to bring Mall-to-Mobile to the market in a short space of time. It is demonstrating through independent evaluation that we are best engaging with shoppers and retailers – 365 days of a year - providing a new way of communicating that delivers what customers expect, enabling them to interact, share with their friends, family and work colleagues – as well as providing a fantastic opportunity for retailers to get their offers and news out to their customers as never before."

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