Stockland’s S Connect showcases brands to consumers in purchase mode

While the pandemic-accelerated digital age has brought unprecedented convenience to online shoppers, brand promotions remain most effective when conducted in the shopping centre environment. There is one simple and fundamental reason for this – shopping centres are where people go expressly to make purchases. This implies that the shopping centre retail space is critical for driving campaign outcomes, being positioned directly from carpark to cash register, or at point of purchase, often completing a brand campaign where it counts most.

“If you talk about advertising, we’re placed right at the moment that matters,” says Lisa King, national manager for Stockland’s S Connect advertising, pop-up and partnerships offering. “Businesses often showcase their brand position on TV, Social, Radio and many other brand-building media channels– but we are there at the only time where the consumer has their wallet in hand, right at that point in time when they are in purchasing mode. So we want to put someone else’s brand or business completely top of mind to give them the best possible chance to increase their sales.  It closes the loop for the entire advertising campaign, and plays a fundamental role – it is not the time to ignore the consumer in a media buy”

S Connect engages loyal shopping communities based around Stockland’s Town Centre with the brands and businesses that consumers love, whether they be large or small, national or local. The campaigns it offers range from sampling and pop-up spaces to large advertising takeovers that dominate the entire shopping centre as a complete advertising platform. Such large-scale centre campaigns ensure that every visitor to the mall is exposed to the advertising, from advertising shown on entranceway doors through to creative on every digital screen in the complex and appearances by brand ambassadors. This can result in major brand exposure at malls situated at the heart of community centres that can typically welcome around 105 million* shoppers annually. 

“Our suite of products solutions are pretty much everything you will see in the common mall that is not a permanent lease,” says King. “That includes pop-ups and even vending machines, which can be used for product sampling and so on. The key campaigns are experiential – they can be anything from cooking demonstrations to large and small-format digital screens, and there can be a social element if we’re doing a special promotion with a client. So we have stock standard, off-the-shelf solutions that can be as simple as putting a door decal up to advertise a business that’s new in the centre. When it comes to bespoke partnerships, however, it’s curated – we don’t sell those campaigns as a product or a widget, we look at what the brief is, and then we drill down to what are the client’s needs and their budget. There are a lot of different touchpoints and platforms that we can use to bring it together based on that. Then we can look at how we maximise the campaign to get the best possible outcome.”

This flexibility in the form of a brand’s presence in a dynamic mall campaign is what allows Stockland to offer bespoke experiences that are highly customer-centric. By drawing shoppers in to engage with activations, the campaigns are rich and relevant while interweaving with customers’ regular in-centre experiences, thus setting brands apart from the familiar shopping centre setting that regular visitors are used to. 

Working closely with brands to craft unique and memorable experiences, S Connect’s in-house media and activation specialists target specific audiences within a community, based out of shopping centres that each have their own distinctive flair. That experiential focus has been especially critical during this period of time as we move towards more in-person interactions while pulling out of the Covid era, and as more sophisticated customers show greater interest in the backstories of the products they consume.

“S Connect is dynamic, and what we do adds dynamism to the centres as well,” says King. That supports the revival of the retail physical retail stores because you can touch the product – there is a sensory experience that goes with it. And if that product is sold on site, we’re in an environment where the customer has the opportunity to act consciously and choose to buy that product. Of course, we do activations for local businesses that normally would not sell in a shopping centre as well, and that just highlights the key factor, that it’s actually our space itself that creates demand. A shopping centre visitor might not be thinking of buying a new car or sports bike, for example, but by bringing those products even temporarily into the shopping centre environment, you’re bringing that sensory experience to the consumer, so you’re actually helping create the demand and impulse purchasing opportunities for that product or service.”

To learn more about Stockland’s S Connect, click here.

*Stockland average as at June 2021