By Hannu Käki
The past months have been very different for our clients. When the first wave of Covid-19 hit Europe, shopping centers were faced with an unforeseen situation. In order to protect and care for their customers, tenants, and employees, shopping centers across Europe had to drastically limit their operations–all while preparing to deal with a potentially devastating economic impact.
At HyperIn, we saw how critical tenant and consumer communication was at that time. Commercial information was being updated and changed in accordance with the latest regulations. Also, our customer service team was a great support for many of our clients in distress.
Back in March, we wanted to help our clients by hosting a webinar on crisis management, which gained a lot of positive feedback. Also, as the world was preparing to let go of the commercial restrains, we set our goals towards supporting the retail real estate industry planning to “reopen again”. Reopening, while anticipated, would hold a lot of uncertainties and open questions. Also, information kept changing constantly. Thus, our approach was to identify some of the best practices to consider during a responsible and well-managed reopening.
In doing so, we partnered with Helsinki-based retail placemaking agency Propdea Oy to contribute a more holistic reopening approach to serve the industry decision makers during late spring and summer. Propdea has a strong presence and a lot of experience in retail real estate development. Particularly, their strategic and solution-driven take on consumer-user experience added significant value to HyperIn’s multichannel communication core and retail service platform. By joining forces, our aim is to connect the physical, social, and digital aspects of the shopping center experience with communication management.
As a first step of our new partnership, we composed a reopening package that we shared with shopping center operators. With this package we provide a few suggestions on how to re-connect with shopping center users. We discuss the temporal shift in consumer orientation and how to adjust the “customer journey” to cater to the current expectations, concerns and needs. We also pointed out how to respond to the increasing demand for both consumer and tenant communication as well as the value of participating tenants in communication operations.