How have UK shopping centres engaged audiences since re-opening?

It’s been over a month since the shops re-opened and we were allowed to visit our favourite High Street stores, independents, and shopping centres. Since lockdown ended, shopping centre owner Intu has announced it is going into administration, and customers are vocally still nervous about crowding. But who’s been doing the best job at engaging shoppers, and recognising the important need for clear communication and expectation setting? Who’s delivering an experience that aligns to the promises and assurances made? We’ve compared the top 5 UK shopping centres in terms of social media engagement so we can share with you what’s working well.

Comparing the UK's top shopping centres for social media engagement

Organisation Followers Posts on social channels Engagements on posts Average posts per day Average engagement on each post Average engagements per day. Includes likes, retweets and comments.
Intu Trafford Centre 133.9K 55 5K 3.24 90.56 293.00
Victoria Square Belfast 110.3K 20 4K 1.18 202.20 237.88
St. David's Shopping Centre 118.5K 31 2.4K 1.82 75.90 138.41
Westfield London 128.7K 37 1.9K 2.18 51.68 112.47
Cribbs Causeway 33.7K 30 1.4K 1.76 46.73 82.47

Re-opening messages land the highest engagement

Intu Trafford’s Centre has received the highest total amounts of engagements over the last three weeks. However not all the engagements were positive. A high number of complaints about the lack of social distancing measures being adhered to have increased the amount of customer contact. This increase in engagement, negatively impacted Trafford’s sentiment as we recently revealed. While Trafford’s best performing post scored over 500 engagements, other centres fared slightly better on their content.

In Northern Ireland, social distancing was not the highest driver of engagement for Victoria Square. The centre launched a shopping voucher contest in time for Father's Day, which moved them up the leaderboard into second place in terms of their average engagements per day. But the post on its own, was the best performing of any shopping centre in the UK top 40.

In Cardiff, St David’s best post announced their social distancing measures to earn it its best post accolade.

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A post shared by Westfield London (@westfieldlondon) on

But, Westfield London made social distancing measures a little more fun with a quiz mechanic delivered via Instagram. This put a creative twist on how to bring dry but necessary topics to life.

Meanwhile in Bristol, Cribbs Causeway’s best post was about the queues at Sports Direct. Proving that shoppers look to centres for updates about the brand and businesses within them, centres should follow suit and ensure they are engaging and communicating their tenants updates.

Westfield London leads in the sentiment stakes

As Westfield London re-opened, the volume of conversation and positive sentiment shot up. To keep sentiment positive the centre is doing what it can to actively respond to customer concerns about social distancing, making its communications more fun, and engaging with customers around their concerns.

Since re-opening Westfield London has seen 62% of the conversation about it is positive. By comparison the other centres in the top 5 see positive sentiment of an average of 30%. Westfield London also benefits from its retailers creating positive conversation about it.

Why Maybe* for UK shopping centres

While everyone is feeling their way out of the dark, Maybe* is here to provide some vital clues as to what retail and shopping centres can expect. The Maybe* platform provides a social media engagement tool that helps you listen to topical conversations and manage your own social media communications and engagement and learn from others.

Whether you’re a UK shopping centre manager, an asset manager or a marketing manager, listen to the relevant social media conversations about your shopping centre or assets, and the locations that you are in. Listen to the conversations created by your tenants and retailers and understand how shoppers are feeling and behaving, so you can tailor your communications to meet their needs.

Key takeaway

With face masks soon to be mandatory and growing concerns about crowd control, the perception and reality of the health risks are going nowhere. Centres still have a job to go not just to communicate measures, but to feed back to management on customer concerns about the implementation. 

In addition, now is the time to start paying attention to which brands and businesses customers want to shop with and are prepared to queue for, so that you can draw attention and footfall where it will benefit you the most.

Maybe* is a collaborative social media management platform that provides engagement tools, actionable insights, reports and access to training that enables organisations to make social media work for them.

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