Mall dwell times and conversion rates a ‘jackpot’ for brands

Date of post: 2017-11-15

Brands tend to think carefully about what to do with their marketing spend when economic conditions are less than rosy – but when it comes to out-of-home (OOH) advertising within a mall environment, it pays to take the plunge, says John Faia, General Manager of Mall Ads.

Malls are not just centres of commerce – we associate them with pleasurable experiences. A recent study by media planner USA TouchPoints confirms this. Respondents were asked to visit OOH media environments and use an iPhone app to indicate where they were, what media they consumed and how they felt. Perhaps unsurprisingly, malls were ranked highest when it came to feelings of happiness, excitement, confidence and hope, followed by bars and restaurants. This highlights the fact that malls offer experiences as much as goods and services, and mall advertising can rightly be viewed as entertainment, creating a sense of anticipating and joy in shoppers. It seems logical for brands to want to be part of this hype – especially since it has the potential to influence consumer attitudes and convert browsers to buyers.

Latimer Appleby’s market research indicates that shoppers spend more money when they’re in a good frame of mind. Malls have become our ‘happy places’, particularly if we receive good service, we feel safe, and the atmosphere is pleasant. These hugely popular spaces enjoy consistently high footfall – in fact, a recent Establishment Survey shows that 46% of the South African population above the age of 15 visits a mall each week. It therefore makes sense for brands to advertise in malls in preference (or in addition) to other media platforms – they simply get a lot more exposure.

A further reason why brands shouldn’t miss out on mall advertising is the fact that it is considered the last window of influence on the customer’s path to purchase. Branded Cities, a leading Canadian media owner, points out that customers can be influenced up to 30 minutes before they spend, which means that brands are absolutely guaranteed an audience receptive to their messaging. Branded Cities research shows that 36% of shoppers will visit a store after seeing an ad and 43% will make unplanned or spontaneous purchases, which is evidence of its effectiveness throughout the consumer journey. An impressive 73% of shoppers come to malls in a happy, positive frame of mind, which also influences purchasing decisions.

All this means that, if advertising recall is high – which seems to be the case – then brands will hit the jackpot. Even brands that do not have retail presence in a mall (like motor vehicles, housing estates or retirement villages) can take advantage of the relaxed environment, growing footfall and high dwell times associated with malls. In fact, the higher the dwell time, the greater amount of money spent – so there’s good reason to keep shoppers coming back for more. Indeed, creative advertising can enhance the aesthetic of the mall environment, which incentivises consumers to remain within the mall precinct.

Finally, there is solid evidence to show that shoppers are readily converted from browsers to buyers. According to Latimer Appleby, retail parks and regional malls enjoy conversion rates of up to 90%. Browsing can lead to conversion levels of around 50%, with the average being 60%, with special offers and seasonal messages increasing the likelihood of conversion. This is excellent news for brands, because it offers the opportunity to create a wide variety of appealing campaigns on the shopper’s path to purchase. The South African Council of Shopping Centres (SACSA) shows that mall goers visit nine retail categories per visit and only three of those are planned, leading to unplanned purchases – something else that works in a brand’s favour.

Brands are already on consumers’ radar as they walk through the mall environment, whether they realise it or not. Sure, mom may be shopping at the mall because it’s more efficient to do so and she wants to save time and money, while wives want to escape their husbands or teenagers their parents or teachers for a couple of hours – but this ‘me time’ exposes them to influential OOH messaging. Nielsen’s Africa Prospects Indicators (APi) report shows that 80% of audiences in sub-Saharan Africa are aware of OOH platforms, underlining the high visibility of OOH in any environment.

It is in the mall environment, however, that brands can truly capture the attention of consumers in a relaxed, acquisitive frame of mind, open to new ideas. These prime leisure destinations are ideal for brands that want to target various segments of the population – and with the holiday season just around the corner, malls really are the place to be.

At Mall Ads™ we have the knowledge, the data, the strategic capacity and the platforms to create and implement exceptional campaigns for brands wanting to engage with consumers within the mall environment. For more information, contact John Faia on 0861 776 826 or