Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Leeds outlet mall launching new app and rewards program

By Dawn Kent Azok on October 18, 2013 at 11:45 AM AL.COM

LEEDS, Alabama – The Outlet Shops of Grand River is rolling out a new shopper rewards program that will mean special discounts and giveaways for loyal customers and new insights on consumer behavior for the Leeds shopping venue and its tenants.

Grand Rewards, set to launch early next month, includes a new website and smart phone app that will build profiles for members and track their visits, purchases and other activity related to the outlet center.

There won't be a points system, but shoppers can achieve bronze, silver, gold or platinum status based on their behavior. That includes spending, as well as check-ins, likes, comments and shares about the outlet center on social media.

"Certainly we want them to spend, and they get credit for that, but it's not all about spending," said Christine Szalay, vice president and general manager of The Outlet Shops of Grand River. "The deeper the engagement, the richer the rewards."

Those rewards are special discounts or giveaways that the outlet center and its tenants will offer members, which can be tiered by status. For example, in November, Tommy Hilfiger is giving away a $250 gift card to a bronze member and a $500 gift card to a shopper with silver status.

For the shopping center and its tenants, Grand Rewards is expected to encourage more visits and spending, but that's not all. It also will provide real-time data about shopping times, frequency and other preferences, a step up from the current research derived from online and in-person surveys.

The program was developed by Compco, an Australian marketing and research firm that specializes in retail properties.

The outlet mall currently has a VIP program with 32,000 members, but that's basically a list of people who receive emails about special offers and upcoming events. All of those people will be rolled into the new Grand Rewards program at the bronze level, and when they download the new app, they'll be upgraded to silver.

Szalay recently returned from the Value Retail News' fall convention, a gathering of retail industry professionals. At the corporate level, the outlet center's tenants are excited about Grand Rewards, she said.

"They're all trying to figure out how to use social media effectively," she said.

The Outlet Shops of Grand River opened in 2010 as the centerpiece of the 6,500-acre residential and commercial development known as Grand River.

The occupancy rate at the center is now at 90 percent.

Recent additions include Wet Seal and J. Crew Factory. Merrell is set for a November opening, while Old Navy will join the lineup in January.

The shopping center includes both outlet stores and other retailers known for value, such as Charming Charlie and Rue 21.

Nearby roadwork, which closed down portions of Interstate 20 earlier this year, took a bite out of shopper traffic this summer, Szalay said, as did 16 days of rain in August. Dreary weather hurts business at an open-air shopping center.

As for the upcoming holiday season, Szalay said she is cautiously optimistic. Still, political and economic uncertainty are expected to somewhat dampen holiday shoppers' moods, according to national spending forecasts.

Grand River developers Daniel Corp. and USS Real Estate are moving forward with plans for new homes in the community, with the first 100 lots being made available to builders next spring.

Long-range plans call for 2,000 homes and an elementary school, a plan that will fuel future business at the outlet center, Szalay said.

"You are now going to see Grand River as a community start to grow," she said.




Wet Seal will join Grand River tenant lineup

1 comment:

  1. My Wife loves going to outlet malls, she goes through a bunch of them on each of our road trips, she really likes the outlet malls down in San Diego, because it is a coastal city, so it has a different feel to it.