Every industry sector approaches loyalty programs differently. For example, rewarding every tenth-or-so purchase has been a staple for coffee chains and fast-food restaurants from almost the beginning, while fashion and cosmetic companies tend to focus on experiential marketing and engaging customers outside of the buying cycle. Mall loyalty programs, on the other hand, weren’t that widespread. Today’s customers are seeking experiences to enrich their lives, and a cross-brand loyalty program for malls could be the differentiator mall owners are looking for, as it drives footfall and creates an unforgettable experience at the same time.
A new rival appeared, and it wasn’t the neighbouring shopping mall, it was e-commerce. Hence, it’s time to build a deeper relationship with customers, and bring the customer’s preferences and needs to wherever he or she is. Loyalty needs to be revamped. It’s not about the physical place anymore.
So what makes shopping mall loyalty programs truly special and next-gen? This guide will provide you a detailed breakdown.
Key Takeaways – TL; DR
- Mall loyalty programs are meant to boost footfall and to evolve the role of physical stores
- The aim is to provide convenience, meet customer expectations and provide a great experience
- Coalition loyalty programs in particular are a great fit to solve these challenges
- Other loyalty solutions include in-store treasure hunts, social media contests and mobile passes
- We gathered six loyalty program examples for inspiration
Table of Contents
If you wish to learn more about loyalty program trends in general, as well as how reward programs can be revenue centers, download our Global Customer Loyalty Report 2023.
What Are Shopping Mall Loyalty Programs?
Shopping mall loyalty programs are generally referred to as an incentive system where customers can earn points when buying in-store and using services inside the mall, such as diners or beauty salons. The appeal comes from the cross-brand nature of the program: customers can earn points for ordering a meal, and then redeem it for a discount while having their hair cut. Therefore the rule of thumb is that the more services and brands that are incorporated into the program, the better.
Shopping malls are facing strong competition, and effective loyalty programs boost customer retention. The retail industry is very competitive. Through memorable and strategic loyalty programs, shopping malls can outperform other retail centers. Rewards earned from purchases will attract new customers. Loyalty programs offering memorable rewards make the customer feel emotionally connected to a specific retail business and it encourages customers to return and conduct more business.
The Goal of Mall Loyalty Programs
Mall loyalty programs differ greatly from traditional, retail-based loyalty programs. For the mall itself, the goal is to attract as many customers as they can and ensure they have an enjoyable time. Malls want all these customers to return and rely more on their services. In other words, the volume of traffic determines the size of the profit.
For this reason, mall loyalty programs should focus on providing people with a superior experience, as well as benefits that are consistent and readily available at every store.
Convenience Is Key
An important characteristic of shopping center rewards programs is convenience. Customers don’t have time for hassle at the counter. They like the idea of being rewarded, but they’d rather skip it if the admin takes too long. Creating long lines would also cause trouble for staff, resulting in an overall bad experience.
Therefore the integration of mall loyalty programs should aim to:
- Be swift and seamless across all stores and services
- Work in every store, with every phone, and with every credit card
- Be touchless, it’s not only safer but more convenient as well
- Give tenant brands additional value, instead of being a pain point, to strengthen the relationship with the mall
The Biggest Customer Retention Opportunities for Malls
Shopping malls are experiencing a renaissance. People want to go out and meet their family and friends, and malls are a perfect place for spending quality time together. As such, malls need to realize that their function is more than just a shopping hub from this point on, so they have to shift their focus to providing memorable experiences as well. That’s right, shoptainment is making strong waves, and mall owners who integrate it into their strategy can make a lasting impression on their customers.
The Five Commandments of Shoptainment
1. Put an Emphasis on Entertainment
Create cafes and workshops within stores where shoppers can enjoy themselves while looking around. Insert a smart mirror in the fitting rooms allowing customers to virtually try on different styles of clothing. Include upscaled customer services like concierges and personal shoppers. These elements create a unique and memorable experience.
- Convenience and Accessibility
Mall owners require new technologies in order to hold everything in one hand and to provide a coherent experience for customers who want every aspect to be convenient and accessible. For instance, digital commerce platforms that allow targeted selling or advanced computer vision analytics that support real-time store management. These features also make it possible to deliver a great shopper experience and create more personalized reward campaigns.
- Evolving the Role of the Store
Malls have to support their tenants when it comes to smart use of commercial real estate. Instead of a static shopping area, the stores can be dynamically rearranged to respond to the needs of customers. Reinvent the store area to function as showrooms, where customers can interact with or try out the products while having fun.
Being able to live up people’s expectations in the current customer reality could provide an unprecedented opportunity to forge an emotional connection with customers.
- Adapt to Changing Customer Habits
Malls want customers to visit more frequently, spend more time shopping, and use the mall’s app to keep up with offers. Besides collecting and keeping track of their points, customers can also use the shopping mall’s app as a guide to help plan their visit, bringing attention to retailers that they might not already be aware of. Also in the post-Covid world with the help of new and existing technologies malls are able to improve the overall shopping experience by providing touchless solutions and creating a seamless customer journey.
- Implementing a Loyalty Program
Launching a shopping mall rewards program, such as a coalition loyalty program, is also a great way to manage every aspect of the loyalty experience in one hand. You can channel the loyalty program into every store easily and simply. Moreover, customers can enjoy more freedom and a wider range of incentives as they earn points with several brands which can then be redeemed with different brands.
In terms of customers, it is important to make the distinction between the Brands themselves and actual Guests. For Guests, the biggest challenge is clarity of message. Guests must understand the mall is a safe environment to be in and all the Brand experiences they are looking for are available. Any loyalty program plays a key role in the recognition & appreciation of the Guest experience. It is so vitally important, now more than ever, that the Guest feels valued for their mall patronage in such challenging times.
What Is a Coalition Loyalty Program, and Why Is It a Perfect Fit for Malls?
The most straightforward way to ensure that a loyalty program checks all boxes of shoptainment is to turn it into a coalition loyalty program that unites multiple unrelated brands under one roof. In a coalition loyalty program the loyalty currency is shared among all participants, but each brand decides on its own what kind of rewards to offer, and how accessible their rewards are.
Coalition loyalty programs are created by a single company (in this case, the company running the mall), and then extended to a number of tenant brands. The owner of the program manages and oversees the entire program. A major characteristic is that they generate interest for the program itself, and not the participating brand.
In the case of malls, tenants benefit from the overall popularity of the loyalty program, as it draws in more customers to the building who also end up spending more time there. Also, all participating brands are in one place, therefore customers won’t miss out on any of the offers.
Benefits of Coalition Loyalty Programs for Shopping Malls
Coalition loyalty programs help malls and businesses in a variety of ways, such as creating an enjoyable, personalized experience for customers, while also supporting tenants, and of course the company running the mall.
Benefits for Program Owners
- Increased footfall and repeat purchases: Create a thrilling shopping environment where customers can earn points at any store in real-time, and then immediately redeem the accumulated rewards even in another store.
- Collecting valuable customer data: With the help of a coalition loyalty program, malls and multi-brand retailers can gather customer information which they can use for better personalization
- Added value through joint offers: Antavo’s platform allows tenants to upload offers and campaigns directly to the loyalty platform, which you can then easily monitor. This way customers also see all the relevant offers in one place.
Benefits for Tenants
- In-store customer identification: Choose from a wide range of technologies and integrations to create a holistic customer journey where shoppers are identified and rewarded in an easy and seamless manner.
- Gamified customer engagement: Run co-branded social media contests, organize in-store treasure hunts, introduce a multi-brand referral system, and encourage user reviews to increase as well as engage customers in a non-discount-oriented way.
- Better customer experience: Use the loyalty program to entice customers to spend more time in the mall. Collect loyalty data through the tenants to supercharge your marketing automation systems, becoming better in personalization.
Benefits for Customers
- More memorable experiences: Customers earn rewards no matter which tenant they shop from. This reinforces the idea that their engagement with the brand was worthwhile.
- Earning points on a larger scale: As point collection is easier, the emotional high associated with reward redemption is reached more frequently.
- Surprise & Delight: There’s a great chance that a new reward will await a customer each time they visit, encouraging them further to keep coming back.
Loyalty programs can support cross-selling by promoting tenants that are facing the strongest drop in sales. This includes gastronomy and entertainment brands as well as fashion boutiques. Loyalty programs also encourage clients to dwell longer in malls thanks to non-transactional social and culture initiatives. This creates a unique local identity and emotional loyalty for the place, which is the strongest asset for a successful mall. The key to all of this is to balance profit and cost among various stakeholders, mainly tenants and the landlord, as well as conformity to the brand positioning and strategy.
Best Technologies for Shopping Mall Loyalty Programs
You’ll need more than just strategy to make a coalition loyalty program work, as the whole experience fails without a technology that’s able to quickly, seamlessly and effortlessly connect both the tenants and customers to your mall loyalty provider.
Let’s see the technologies capable of capturing data and achieving a holistic customer view.
- Deep integration: Transaction data is directly tracked via each brand’s POS, and the POS’s UI is modified to handle point burn & product return. All information is sent to the loyalty provider in real-time, using APIs or files.
- Scanner device: Scan the customer’s digital loyalty card with the help of an application on a phone or tablet and then choose from three actions: grant points, deduct points or apply a discount.
- Card linking: Offer customer bonus points for linking their credit card to the loyalty profile, so when they pay, the system automatically links the transaction data to the loyalty ID.
- Receipt scanning: Customers are asked to scan their receipts by using their phone. Then they have to upload it using the mall’s mobile app or through a website sales page in order to receive points based on their spending.
Antavo’s Coalition Loyalty Hub
The Coalition Loyalty Hub is an Android-based application running on a symmetrical device with two screens: one facing the customer, and the other facing the staff member operating it. It helps customers enjoy a quick guided checkout experience and faster loyalty journeys. While enabling you to identify, engage and manage the actions of loyalty program members.
The Best Loyalty Features to Stand Out as a Shopping Mall
With the coalition program type and the integration serving as the backbone, it’s time to go through the meat of your loyalty program: the feature list.
1. Must-Have Loyalty Elements
Keep Up the Interest With Experiential Rewards
Go one step beyond simple discounts and coupons, and give customers something exciting they can work towards. Mall-themed goodie bags, VIP checkout, early access to upcoming product drops, bonus treats at the cafeteria: these are all benefits that motivate customers to keep racking up the points.
Loyalty programs are all about engagement. Programs need to have the right balance of a good proposition and value based benefits to entice the customer and increase engagement. Data is the key here. Successful programs effectively use their data to create relevant offerings so that members are continually engaged and transacting within the program. Once a meaningful relationship is formed, it is easier to keep the customer.
Create a Unique Loyalty Logic
Spice up your reward program with distinctive rules. Create a tiered system with incremental benefits to promote long-term engagement. Boost enrollment rates with a perk system, giving members instant access to certain privileges as a welcome gift.
Reach New Heights With Loyalty Campaigns
Use Antavo’s drag & drop Workflows to set up exciting loyalty campaigns with ease. Doing so allows you to A/B test the incentives to discover which reward type resonates the most with each customer segment. You can also create surprise & delight campaigns, including birthday emails, giving customers another reason to visit you.
Keep Them Informed Through the Membership Page
The loyalty program’s membership page is the most essential place for customers. Here they can read about the rules, explore all the rewards and benefits, and review their progress. The membership page should also feature the loyalty ID in the form of a QR code, which people can show through the mobile’s screen to identify themselves during checkout.
Reach a Wide Audience With a Multilingual Program
Malls and shopping centers attract tourists from all corners of the world. If you wish to capture their attention, the loyalty program should be available in multiple languages, and showcase the transaction rate for multiple currencies as well.
2. Gamification Elements
Use Treasure Hunt to Push Store Exploration
Promote product discovery and entice customers to spend more time in your establishment with a cross-brand treasure hunt. Participants need to find a specific product or image based on a cryptic description and scan the barcode using their phones. After completing multiple objectives, they may win a prize.
Create Virality With Social Media Contests
The largest demographic frequenting malls are Millennials and Gen Z. Engage the younger audience and foster virality with a hashtag or Instagram contest. Contestants can enter by uploading a specific content, like a selfie in your mall, or by leaving a catchy comment under your social media post. Catering to them also involves a strong mobile focus, experiential offers and exclusivity.
Boost Word-Of-Mouth Through Referrals
Reward customers for inviting their friends to the loyalty program. Antavo’s platform allows people to share unique referral codes on messaging apps, while you can track important aspects such as value to identify brand ambassadors.
Collect Valuable Data via Customer Profiling
Collect data about each members’ preferences or personalities by asking simple, interactive questions and rewarding them for answering. With this information you can personalize each member’s loyalty experience or sync the data to your CRM to run segmented campaigns.
3. Seamless Omnichannel Experience
Reach Millennials Using Mobile Wallet
Deliver the latest loyalty coupons directly to the members’ phones and give them a convenient way to identify themselves through Antavo’s Mobile Wallet solution. It uses a native app that’s available on every smartphone.
With the Mobile Wallet, customers can easily access information about their membership, and see all their coupons and offers in one place.
Push Notification to Deliver Loyalty Messages
Use advanced geolocation or beacon technology to deliver location-based personalized messages. Send a push notification to customers’ phones the moment they enter the mall through your app. The message can feature all the relevant offers and campaigns from their favorite shops.
In-Store Community Events
The promise of a great experience, for instance an invitation to an exclusive brand event in the store, is a great way to reward your most loyal customers. Use the store space for community building events, like an in-store fashion show or a workshop.
4. Coalition Loyalty Capabilities
The loyalty logic of a shared reward program allows brands – or even the owner of the program – to build campaigns and journeys across multiple participating stores. The purpose is to promote discovery and encourage customers to spend more time shopping.
This feature allows tenants and participating brands to directly upload their campaigns and offers to your loyalty program. At the same time, you don’t need to give up control over the program, you can review and approve the campaign offers, as well as set up limitations if necessary.
Guest Customer Management
Guest customer management refers to a series of processes and features that streamline the enrollment journey so it becomes more appealing for guest shoppers. It is quick and easy, saving time for customers while they have the option to share more data later.
Batch Reward Management
The batch reward management feature of a loyalty platform means that you’ll be able to upload and manage large reward databases with a few clicks of a button, saving precious time for staff members who are managing the program.
Deep Insight Through Coalition Reporting
Through Antavo’s extended dashboard, you can follow the performance of your tenant’s loyalty programs and compare their results side by side. The reports are fully customizable and exportable, not to mention the data can be anonymized. Operating the platform requires no IT knowledge.
Clearing and Settlement
To ensure long-term viability a coalition loyalty program is built to be a mediator between three parties: members, tenant brands, and the owner of the program. The points that tenants hand out act as an actual currency, and at the end of the day the amount of points earned and redeemed will be unevenly distributed among the tenants.
6 Inspiring Mall Loyalty Programs
1. Fashion Clubs – VIA Outlets
Pan-European estate VIA Outlets comprises 11 centers across nine countries, with over 1,000 stores under its management. The brand’s loyalty program, Fashion Club, is highly popular among customers, even though it isn’t a unified system. Customers require separate accounts in each Outlet, credits earned in one Outlet cannot be spent in another one, and there’s a mobile app for every Outlet’s loyalty program.
- Customers receive 5% of the purchase back as credits and credits can be spent to receive coupons up to 25% off
- The program also grants access to member-only sales and Fashion Club Week
- Each outlet has its own list of exclusive offers and events
- To redeem an offer the membership QR code has to be scanned in the store
Why it works:
- Members-only sales and early access are excellent mall loyalty program benefits
- Allowing tenants to have their own offers creates a healthy competitive environment
- Using member identification – even if its based on QR code scanning – is a must have
2. Westfield Club – Westfield
Westfield Club is Westfield’s loyalty program that rewards customers for shopping and spending at Westfield shopping centers in the US, UK and Europe. Customers can simply register, link their cards, and automatically earn progress rewards. Loyalty points can be earned on qualifying products across all stores, which adds a coalition component to the reward program.
- Customers earn 10 points for each purchase of £20 or above
- Earning 200 points qualifies for a £10 cashback
- Points can be earned across all stores at Westfield
Why it works:
- Though very simplistic, cashback logic is the easiest to implement in a loyalty program
- If customers can earn points in all stores, it boosts the amount of touchpoints for the mall
- Cashback rewards doesn’t create long-lasting loyalty, but they are great at creating interest
3. ION+ Rewards – ION Orchard
ION Orchard is a shopping mall in Singapore, with 335 food and retail outlets. The company’s loyalty program is purely app-based, which is highly popular among the mobile-loving generation.
- ION+ Rewards offers three tiers in addition to the earn & burn system, with an exclusive club reserved for the top 100 highest spenders
- ION⁺ Points can be earned for every block of $100 same-day spend. Each receipt must be a minimum spend of $20
- Customers enjoy lifetime membership, parking rebates, voucher redemption and in-store privileges
- Members earn double ION+ Points on their first successful submission of every block of $100 spend on their birthday month
Why it works:
- A special VIP club for top spenders is a surefire way to nurture the most loyal and valuable customers
- Besides cashback and coupons, it’s always great to see service-related benefits in a mall loyalty program
- Double-point events during a customer’s birthday is a nice touch of emotional engagement
4. MetRewards – Metcentre
Metcentre is a shopping center in Sydney that caters to a variety of shoppers’ needs from fashion and food to health and beauty as well as other various services. MetRewards engages customers outside of the buying cycle by rewarding non-transactional behavior.
- Customers can earn 10 points by making a purchase in the mall, and having their loyalty profile’s QR code scanned by the staff
- Simply visiting the mall awards 5 points, but people have to identify themselves
- Referring a friend grants 20 points
- Completing the customer profile adds 100 bonus points, which is a smart way to collect customer data in a non-intrusive manner
Why it works:
- Rewarding small actions, such as visiting the mall is a kind gesture that can go a long way
- This loyalty program is great at teaching customers to keep their app at hand during checkout
- Friend referrals are still underutilized among mall loyalty programs
5. The Point – SHKP Malls
The Point is an unrivaled shopping mall loyalty program covering 25 SHKP malls around HongKong. Members can earn one point per HK$1 spent at 25 SHKP malls using electronic payment.
- Membership is free, and there’s a welcome gift of 500 points just for signing up
- Points can be converted into Point Dollars and spent as cash, or used to redeem fabulous rewards
- A wide range of fabulous rewards is available, including merchant gifts and parking offers
- Members enjoy double points on spending in birthday month
Why it works:
- Offering a generous welcome gift is a great way to boost the enrollment rates
- Parking offers and merchant gifts are the kind of rewards long-term members seek
- Giving customers something on their birthday is always a great idea
6. The Dubai Mall Rewards Programme – Dubai Mall
The Dubai Mall Rewards Programme is a first-of-its-kind partnership with Emirates Skywards, in which shoppers are able to earn Skywards Miles when they make a purchase at any store, dining outlet or leisure attraction at The Dubai Mall. To become a member customers only need to download The Dubai Mall app to register, then link their Emirates Skywards account.
- To earn SkyWard Miles, members of The Dubai Mall Rewards Programme can scan any receipt worth AED 100 and above
- The rewards program has four tiers: Blue, Silver, Gold, and Platinum
- Gold and Platinum tier members receive complimentary delivery with no minimum spend requirement
- Platinum members are also granted access to The Lounge at Fashion Avenue, VIP courtesy parking, and in-mall chauffeur service
Why it works:
- Most loyalty programs only have three tiers, going one step beyond is a differentiator in itself
- Free delivery is an excellent high-tier reward
- VIP and privilege-based benefits should be reserved for members in the highest tier
Destinations for Shopping and Experience
As you can see, mall loyalty programs — and coalition loyalty programs in particular — are a great fit for malls, plazas and shopping centers. With such a well-planned customer retention tool, malls can significantly increase footfall, encourage service consumption, and motivate customers to spend more time engaging with tenant brands.
And don’t forget to download Antavo’s Global Customer Loyalty Report, an in-depth report that showcases dozens of statistics as well as future industry trends to help you navigate the world of next-gen loyalty programs.