Setting shopping centers alight: why festive lighting is a crucial part of Christmas campaigns
#Shopping Centers    14/01/2020

Setting shopping centers alight: why festive lighting is a crucial part of Christmas campaigns

It might feel as if Christmas is far behind us, but in actual fact, it’s looming in front of us. In a mere 11 months, the silly season will once again be upon us and in order to make sure that your shopping center is shining brightly over the holidays, some forethought is needed.

Before thinking ahead, however, let’s look at the numbers.

An average 2%-5% year on year growth

According to NRF (National RETAIL Federation) in the USA, spending over the holiday season has been increasing by a steady average of 2%-5% between 2002 and 2018, with a similar forecast for 2019 (the numbers aren’t available for 2019 as yet). This means that, in spite of challenges to bricks and mortar stores and shopping centers from online retailers and changes in consumer trends, November and December are still an incredibly part of the retail year for both management companies and retail tenants.

The festive season is the time to get people into your center

Getting visitors out of their sofas, away from their screens and into your shopping center over the festive season is therefore critical, and retail spaces need to deliver more than fantastic shopping and eating opportunities. They need to go all-out and create an atmosphere and experience that is out-of-the norm, something that people don’t see every day. On top of that, the experience needs to meet the expectations that people hold about Christmas and the holidays AND be innovative enough to help a center stand out from the crowd.

In other words, a tired Christmas tree with a string of colored lights dug up from the cellar isn’t going to deliver the results you want and need.

Fortunately, a carefully curated experience that combines light, design and creativity can help you to create something special, exceed shoppers’ expectations and meet your commercial goals.

How light can help make Christmas even better

We humans are visual creatures. A significant part of what we learn from the world around us is due to perception, learning, cognition and activities that are mediated through vision. In fact, researchers say that “sight is without doubt our most dominant sense, yielding nine-tenths of our knowledge of the external world.¹ 

Light is something that see, which means that it taps into this dominant sense, and it affect us quickly: it takes around 1 second for the light of the moon to reach us, so just imagine how quickly festive lighting in your shopping center makes an impact!

And it does make an impact. 

Festive light has been shown to:

Affect and improve mood, increasing stays and making people happier. And happier people shop for longer.

Remind people of childhood experiences: light has been intricately tied into winter and Christmas celebrations for as long as we know, and it triggers happy memories that people want to share.

Bring people together to make brand new memories, and share them.

And festive decorative lighting is a relatively simple way to achieve all these things and to turn your shopping center into a literal “beacon in the dark” over November and December.

Why leave such an important campaign to the last minute?

Given the importance of festive lighting and decoration, it simply doesn’t make sense to leave your planning to the last minute. Väla Centrum in Sweden started their 2019 Christmas planning in March, because the center manager Ulrika Nordström knew that she wanted to create something special, and that doing so would take time.

It’s not too early to start thinking about how to make Christmas 2020 an unforgettable experience with light and design. If you think a chat might be worthwhile, we’d love to help.

Get in touch with your local MK Illumination office and let’s explore the possibilities together.

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