How centres are planning to deliver COVID-proof customer engagements this Christmas

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How centres are planning to deliver COVID-proof customer engagements this Christmas

(Pacific Square, Charter Hall)

Christmas, it’s a wonderful time of the year. Traditionally, shopping centres across the country would come alive with Santa’s, sleighs, and sweets. That was until COVID-19 hit.


Last year, many centres were forced to scale back the Christmas cheer due to restrictions brought on by COVID-19. Inevitably, such restrictions dampened the spirits of experience-driven shoppers who were forced to pose for socially distanced photos with Santa, miss out on sampling new sweets in-centre… among many other experiences lost in the battle against transmission.

As many look to plan for Christmas 2021, we’re reminded of the lockdowns and tightening restrictions that put in-centre activation plans into disarray. For this reason, this year some of Australia’s leading centres have turned a leaf, taking key learnings from the past 18 months to develop COVID-proof customer engagement strategies using innovative engagement platforms.

A digital dimension to the in-centre experience
Developer and operator of a suburban Melbourne shopping centres, Ranfurlie Asset Management’s general manager of marketing Lisa Charter said it’s imperative for centres to retain footfall by offering new experiences. However, with COVID-19 safety restrictions imposing an obvious challenge on physical activations, the answer lies with digital to secure cut-through engagement.

Says Charter: “With traditional channels becoming less effective and the new commercial reality of a post-COVID environment, our centre marketing wanted to find new ways to drive footfall, support retailers and build strong direct relationships with customers.

“We’ve been working with Komo Digital Engagement for the past six months to deliver a dynamic community engagement platform that we’ve coined externally as HQ. The hubs we’ve created for each centre allows us to create and launch interactive and gamified digital campaigns quickly and reward instantly, facilitating communication, interaction, involvement and exchange between our shopping centre and its community.

“We believe Komo’s platform is the first of its kind in Australia in this asset class, providing constant value, interactive content, competitions and rewards to our shoppers and is ‘always on’– while at the same time learning about the consumer to provide a more personalised shopping experience.”

Ranfurlie Asset Management has launched HQ across two of its centres, Tarneit Central and Manor Lakes Central, with the engagement hubs proving popular with customers. Charter says her team are now exploring additional ways to bolster engagement through the platform, including the use of digital coupons which can be seamlessly activated through Komo’s Audience Engagement software: “Komo’s trackable digital coupons deliver personalised offers based on user preferences to selected cohorts and result in a higher consumer uptake rate on prize offers and therefore an improved ROI for our retailers. We’re looking forward to exploring new and exciting ways to engage with our customers this Christmas.”

Seamlessly incentivising in-centre spend 
The ‘silly season’ sees the resurgence of an additional challenge for centres: online shopping. The latest ABS retail industry analysis shows online retailing reached a historic high in the quarter ending August 2021 with sales totaling $4,196.2m.

One could argue that likewise in-centre footfall is also rising. However, despite data showing a rebound in shopping centre footfall across Australia, it’s important that centres don’t become complacent. With online shopping initiatives such as ‘Cyber Monday’ now becoming a landmark day for price-savvy shoppers to pick up a bargain online, centres need to look at new ways to provide ‘value’ in centre.

Through innovative platforms such as Komo, centres can leverage digital coupons to seamlessly deliver on this customer want. Leading retail property group Charter Hall recently trialled the use of digital coupons in its Bass Hill Plaza and Pacific Square centres, with the campaign providing compelling results.

The campaign incentivised customers to spend more than $30 at participating stores to receive a $10 pre-paid MasterCard gift card, but unlike traditional in-centre activations where the promotion needs to be claimed at a physical pop-up, this promotion was managed digitally end-to-end. The seamless digital experience leveraged Komo’s purpose-built campaign engagement hub that allowed customers to upload their receipt, which once validated would see an automatic SMS confirm the addition of a $10 digital pre-paid MasterCard gift card directly to their phone’s native wallet, ready to spend in-store instantly.

How centres are planning to deliver COVID-proof customer engagements this Christmas How centres are planning to deliver COVID-proof customer engagements this Christmas

(Pacific Square, Charter Hall)

Says Joel Steel, CEO and co-founder, Komo: “The compelling results secured through our campaign with Charter Hall demonstrates the hunger for digital incentives in-centre. Offering digital coupons in-centre supports the broader growing consumer trend we’re seeing with contactless incentives and rewards as a society.”

Komo has plans to further expand its existing comprehensive engagement offering, which currently houses a variety of features including quizzes, polls, social integrations and more to deliver compelling digital experiences for consumers.

Adds Steel: “Our platform continues to grow its expansive suite of engagement tools, competitions and interactive content solutions to support our clients and their brand partners. By developing our digital offering, we’re supporting customers in delivering truly ‘COVID-proof’ campaigns that offer an extension of the immersive, personalised experiences that they’ve grown to know and love in a live environment.”

Dedicated to providing value for customers, this month Komo announced a new flexible pricing model whereby customers can purchase a digital engagement hub on a credit-based system. This will essentially allow centres to activate dedicated digital engagement hubs across one, or multiple sites, based on the number of credits they have — as opposed to one subscription for one site over a 12-month subscription.

For more information on Komo Digital Engagement and its tools, visit: