If you work in the retail real estate business, you’ll be only too aware of the role of the Christmas season when it comes to giving sales an extra boost. Around the world, both in countries that have traditionally celebrated Christmas for religious reasons and in countries that now do so secularly, people head to shopping centers to help them make the season “the best yet”.
Retail outlets of all shapes and sizes benefit from the increased demand for gifts, decorations, party food, and party dresses (all those business Christmas parties). Consumers are under significant pressure to celebrate friends and families, too, which means that shopping centers and malls that offer leisure options like restaurants, cinemas, and ice skating are able to capitalize even further on the season. Of course, to benefit from the season, shopping centers and retail spaces need to attract visitors in the first place, and today we’re going to take a look at how light and décor can help you make your center the most popular place to be over the festive season, so that you can drive footfall and make this year’s Christmas one to remember.
In shopping centers, Christmas lighting is your secret weapon. It’s something that many shoppers look forward to throughout the year: they love the glittering strings of lights and motifs that turn a shopping center into a magical space and make people feel as if, for a short time, they are the star in their own movie.
The next approach requires a little more thought. Instead of simply stringing up a few lights, turning on the “Jingle Bells”, and relying on your tenants to bring in their own Christmas trees, you can make a statement and create an in-center experience by incorporating stand-out pieces and highlights that double as selfie spots, places for families to take group photos, and for children of all ages to stare at in awe.
Include a theme as part of your seasonal center strategy, and place highlights throughout your center to encourage shoppers to make a special trip to see them AND to explore every inch of your space.
Or use light to turn atriums and large spaces into attractions in their own right with festive displays that combine light, design, and a creative touch.
It can be difficult to separate light and decoration from one another over the holidays, but combining decorative touches as part of your Christmas light experience can encourage interactivity and engagement, and create a subtly different atmosphere that will set you apart from your retail competition in the area.
Greenery is a must as it brings nature indoors, and that can mean wreaths and natural trees, or simple branches and banister wrappings.
Christmas baubles can be used throughout your space to reinforce a color theme.
They can become features in their own right, especially when they’re turned into giant seating places and photo areas, or hung from up high for people to crane their heads towards.
Often, when it comes to decoration, the details matter. Christmas tree décor that celebrates your city or country or a special event catch people’s eyes and capture hearts, or you can celebrate a current trend by incorporating wonderful and sometimes wacky elements that make people smile and encourage them to come again.
Walk-through trees can combine both light and décor, and encourage people to “do something”, like explore, take a photo, run through, and hopefully, tell other people. They can also hide special treats, like animatronic characters.
And if you love creating story-driven displays for your younger guests, or grottoes where you can offer activities like Santa visits and read-aloud hours, combine them with light to enhance the experience for families and keep them coming back for more.
Light and décor can transform both indoor and outdoor spaces
Although most shopping centers have some areas that could be enhanced with light, many modern centers, malls and retail centers are built in a way that allows shoppers to enjoy natural light and move fluidly between indoor and outdoor spaces.
The good news is that light and décor can work wonders outside, too, and in some cases, can make even more of an impact. Few shopping centers could justify installing giant light sculptures of wild animals like giraffe, elephants, rhino, and polar bears in their spaces, but in an outdoor space, these highlights become social media darlings and attract families and influencers from far and wide.
With their compliance to IP67, you won’t have to worry about the safely of your lighting displays, either, which means that you can use light in your outdoor spaces in creative ways to control visitor flow, boost mood, and create magical outdoor moments for people to share and remember.
Bringing it altogether
To misquote Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they will NOT come unless you tell them about it.” Your Christmas lighting, décor, and festive campaign will only attract people if you promote the campaign, and we certainly don’t need to tell you how to do your job.
What we will say is that festive lighting and décor makes for great publicity shots, and if you can arouse the curiosity of the local press and community influencers, you’ll have a winning holiday campaign that will once again prove the economics of Christmas.
Need help creating your best Christmas campaign yet?
Get in touch! We’d love to hear from you and help you combine your creative ideas with light and decoration to create an unforgettable festive experience this year.