It’s also important to look at the wider scope of the shopper experience. I say this as property group Lend Lease have signed an agreement to provide guest experience measurement tools and analysis at Bluewater shopping centre.
In what the company is calling an industry first, research agency Service Management Group (SMG) has been called in to use online surveys and real time analysis of results to track the effectiveness of events, new shopper experience initiatives and the retailer experience at Bluewater.
The service goes live on 1 December, but will be fully rolled-out in January 2014, and it’s the first time SMG has been appointed to measure experience at a retail and leisure destination.
Expanding market research tools to cover a destination, in this case a shopping centre, rather than an individual brand looking at the effectiveness and experience of its store, for example, will provide valuable insight for both parties.
The research project at Bluewater will come at the right time for O2 as they are working with Circle Agency to activate a year-long experiential and media partnership with the shopping centre, with a month-long Christmas activation running right now.
The shopping centre will be able to determine the variables that effect footfall and retailers, restaurants and event organisers in the shopping centre will be able to see what effect the customer experience has on its sales.
According to recent research by SMG, customers that are highly satisfied with their experience are likely to spend 40 per cent more. Staff assistance has the greatest influence on overall satisfaction, with staff knowledge increasing basket size by 15 per cent, whilst effective problem resolution builds brand loyalty, increasing the likelihood that customers will both return and recommend.
All brands should look to run research on customer experience. As the SMG findings show, and eventually the findings from Bluewater, it will be worth the investment.