NEW YORK — A recent test in 12 shopping centers with the Adspace Digital Mall Network showed that when a major anchor department store discounted $145 Cole Haan men’s loafers to $99, Adspace increased promotional lift 38 percent.
Adspace Networks, the owner and operator of the Adspace Digital Mall Network, a network of 1,400 Smart Screens in 105 upscale shopping centers reaches 100 million people per month and is now proven to move merchandise. In stores that did not promote the sale on the Smart Screens, the Cole Haan men’s loafers sale trended 15.1 percent above average. In stores where the sale was advertised on the Smart Screens, sales jumped to 20.8 percent above average.
Build-A-Bear Workshop also tested a promotional program on the Smart Screens in June, with impressive results. “Over the summer Build-A-Bear Workshop successfully tested an in-mall program with Adspace that engaged guests with exclusive offers and drove incremental traffic to our stores,” said Teresa Kroll, chief marketing officer for Build-A-Bear. “In an effort to build on that success, Build-A-Bear Workshop is implementing a holiday program with Adspace in more than 35 malls nationwide.”
Additionally, a major plus-size women’s clothing retailer engaged in another test on the network during a new product launch for its jeans. Eighteen percent of women that purchase plus-size clothes and were in the mall during the promotional period visited the store as a result of the campaign on the Smart Screens. Importantly, 71 percent of those visitors made a purchase as a result of seeing the ad.
“Marketers traditionally rely on promotional budgets to generate immediate sales lift, using vehicles such as free-standing inserts,” said Dominick Porco, Adspace chairman and CEO and former president of News America Marketing, the largest supplier of free-standing inserts. “Our mall-based clients that have used price-point promotions on our Smart Screens have seen immediate sales lift. They are also finding that, compared to other forms of promotional vehicles which can take weeks or months to produce, Adspace can create and have an ad playing on the network within a day or two.”
“Mall shoppers expect to see sale information on the Adspace Smart Screens because the network’s editorial content is designed to showcase some of the best deals in the mall each week,” said Warren Christopher, Adspace editorial director. “Mall retailers can take advantage of this promotional medium by advertising their best sale items, right at the point of purchase, in a way that is consistent with their branding message.”
One of the biggest issues facing potential mall advertisers is the perception that mall traffic has fallen dramatically in the face of higher oil prices and the reeling economy. According to Shoppertrak’s Mall National Retail Traffic Index (NRTI) measure, enclosed mall common area traffic was essentially flat for the first half of 2008 versus 2007, declining a modest 0.5 percent. In July, with the price of oil accelerating to an all-time high, enclosed mall traffic declined 3.4 percent versus the prior year period. In a supporting chart that is available upon request, there appears to be a strong reverse correlation between the price of oil and mall traffic. In August, as the price of oil started to decline, mall traffic’s negative trend moderated. This trend continued into September as the price of oil continued to fall. During the month of October, shopper traffic in the common areas of enclosed malls has actually increased versus October 2007, contrary to common perception.
“It is particularly encouraging that the average price of oil continues to drop, suggesting that common-area mall traffic will be comparable to last year in the fourth quarter,” Porco said. “Our research shows that consumers are in the mall for about 77 minutes, yet they only visit an average of fewer than three stores. Our network offers retailers the ability to essentially extend their storefronts and promote sales in different parts of the mall. This alerts shoppers to sales and promotions in different sections of the mall that may be off their initial path when they came to the mall that day.”
Department store traffic, on the other hand, has been less positive. As a supporting chart shows, department store month-to-month traffic changes versus those in the prior year are significantly more negative than mall traffic overall, suggesting that, while mall traffic is back, visitors are less inclined to go into retailers’ stores.
“People are still going to malls, even though specific retailer traffic may be down,” said Bill Ketcham, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Adspace Networks. “Shoppers are looking for value, and smart retailers that put compelling items on sale and communicate that to mall shoppers near the point of purchase will fare best in this value-oriented environment.”