The lifeblood of a shopping centre is its shoppers. Put simply, they are the eyes that see your bargains, the ears that hear your messages, and the cash flow that funds your existence.

Therefore, understanding what brings them to you is an integral part of not only ensuring they turn up in numbers, but also that they enjoy their experience enough to return.

So what is it that will get shoppers talking about you in a positive light, helping strengthen your reputation by word of mouth? As a company who analysis shopper behaviour, we ran a survey at the end of 2016 that allows us to highlight the 5 key reasons why people visit your centre.

1. Your location
There are some things you can control easily, and others you can’t. There’s no doubt that location wins a lot of shoppers’ custom due to convenience, but of course that doesn’t explain why some shoppers will trek half way across the country to visit certain centres whenever a big shopping spree is in order. Also, a recent survey showed us that more than a third of shoppers landing on your website are tourists passing through your location, so don’t be passive. Put yourself on the map and make sure you optimise your website so Google searches lead shoppers to you instead of the high street.

2. To socialise
There are countless reasons for friends to choose a shopping centre as their meeting spot. Maybe they work locally and have decided to catch up over lunch, or it’s a friend’s birthday and they’ve agreed to buy a gift together. It could be that a Saturday shopping trip is routine among a group of friends, or if you have a cinema in your centre, you may be seen as the hub for all local entertainment needs. Either way, these shoppers have come to you to spend, which is great news. But are you making the most of catering for friends in your mall? When you consider that 84% of shoppers are more likely to eat at your centre if they see good content on the dining options, we’d say it’s important to represent your eateries well online.

3. Out of habit / loyalty
A repeat customer is the greatest commodity to any business. To have shoppers visiting your mall through a sense of loyalty means you’re keeping them satisfied, and with habitual shoppers, you have the opportunity to win their custom for many years to come. Shoppers who know you by name are more likely to visit and mention your social media channels, so make sure you posts relevant news and offers often to encourage their further engagement. After all, 61% of shoppers are more likely to follow you on social media if you have a good website.

4. For convenience
Some people will run in to use your facilities, or maybe simply park their car before heading off elsewhere. There may also be people who duck in to evade the rain, or who’ll need to kill time before they meet someone. Customers who ‘drift’ through your mall without necessarily having a need or desire to buy anything represent the greatest opportunity to drive up your profits. Although they may be there by chance, the fact they’re in your centre allows you to influence their mood, which drives their behaviour. Playing good music can put/keep them in a positive mood, and radio messaging can inform them of exciting events and offers that are available in the centre

5. They love your retailers
If shoppers are your blood, then shops are your bones, and people will visit your centre primarily based on how attached they feel to the retailers. With online offers infiltrating their phones and click and collect becoming ever more popular, it makes a great deal of sense to invest in mobile content to motivate shoppers to visit physical stores. You can also piggyback off the reputation of your retailers just by having them in your centre.

If you like our content, click the link to get a free download of our survey What Your Shoppers Want in 2017.