ICSC: International Council of Shopping Centers

Guestblog: What You Need to Know About Changing Consumer Habits

Publish Date: 02 June 2017

Topics: europe,experience,icsc

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By: Thomas Mark, President. MK Illumination 


No retailer disputes the fact that today’s shoppers are doing it differently. What we need to understand is why and how, and most importantly what we can do to capture their attention and draw them into our shopping centers. How do we ignite in them the desire to stay and to buy?


According to GfK, Germany’s largest market research institute, 73% of consumers now consider an experience as more important than owning something. 72% also said that when it comes to shopping, ‘flair’ and ‘atmosphere’ were important. So where does that leave us? How do we create this flair? What kind of an atmosphere will draw in customers and convince them to stay longer and to buy?


We can start by considering how we see, hear, feel, taste and smell what is around us. We can look at what it is that makes us feel ‘at home’ and comfortable. What makes us feel good, enjoy what we see, even have a desire to stay longer than we planned? A good first impression is gold. After all, you only have one shot at it. And that first impression is almost always visual. We see, and if we like, then we might hear, feel, smell and taste. Scientists also confirm light is the most efficient way of transmitting positive stimuli.


So our potential shopper enters a bright, attractive shopping environment, and yes, they like it - but what then? The next step is all about ‘Experience Marketing’. Create the surprise, tap into emotions, and give your customers an enjoyable shared experience. Draw them into your staged story and get to them to interact. Make sure they take the photo at your selfie spot. If you do, they leave with positive memories. And yes, they'll reward you with customer loyalty and they will come back. And by the way, this approach goes way past the standard festive season.


As a supplier of creative lighting, we understand that to satisfy shopping center management and their customers we have to go far beyond the illuminations of 20 years ago. We have expanded our products and services into the area of leisure parks, and we practise the art of storytelling. We create staged stories, we tap into fantasy to spark the imagination and awaken emotions. In other words, we give our customers – and yours – the ‘experience’ they crave.


The recent ChristmasWorld in Frankfurt was a perfect forum for us to show our customers, and the trade, what happens when you tell such a story. Life is a journey, so we created our own ‘Central Station’, a homage to the Victorian era of the 19th century, where travel came with a sense of adventure and grandeur, and the Industrial Age was all about discovery, research, invention, and experimentation. Our ChristmasWorld Central Station covered 400 sqm. It represented a timeless expression of a place to welcome, to farewell, and to celebrate a homecoming. It allowed us to engage with our customers at a personal level as they went on an interactive ‘journey of discovery’. Central Station allowed us to show them our art of storytelling. They loved it, and we achieved valuable personal contacts and enhanced our long-term customer loyalty.


You can do the same. Engage in Experience Marketing, and the benefits will unfold as quickly as you can tell a good story.



Thomas Mark, President. MK Illumination 

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