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Eastland taps into omnichannel to reach customers

Most shopping centres bank on the quality of their tenants to attract customers. QIC’s Eastland shopping centre in Ringwood, Victoria, however, is bypassing the retail middleman in an effort to connect directly with visitors and build its own brand as a cultural hub in the community.

Its collaboration with Australian fashion blogger and social influencer Margaret Zhang to produce a series of photographic essays in a limited edition book is the latest example of the shopping centre’s customer engagement efforts.

Released on September 8, In the Youth of Our Fury delves into the people and places behind some of Australia’s most recognisable brands and features real-life Eastland customers. It is the first offline work from Zhang, who is more well-known as a creative force in the digital world.

While this collaboration bolsters Eastland’s mission to create customer experiences in the physical environment, it also cleverly taps into Zhang’s built-in following of young, digital consumers.

“We’re certainly targeting millennials by working with Margaret. We want to be highly engaged with social influencers who speak directly to that base,” Eastland’s general manager Steve Edgarton said. “You can expect that any [Eastland] project going forward will have a creative, artistic, digital and social bent to it.”

This strategy is apparent in Eastland’s own click and collect offering powered by delivery provider ParcelPoint. People can purchase items from any online retailer signed up with ParcelPoint and have them delivered to Eastland’s guest services suite, even if the brand doesn’t have a store presence in the shopping centre.

Fitting rooms in that same suite mean customers can try on items before taking them home. If they don’t fit, Eastland takes care of the return process. The space also provides customers with a place to do their online shopping, where they can compare prices advertised online versus instore.

“We have an opportunity to fill gaps in the omnichannel offering currently provided by retailers,” Edgarton said. “Shopping centres haven’t always played in that space, but customers today have an expectation that their experience will be both physical and digital. And we want customers to see Eastland as being a total solution for them.”

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