‘Tis the Season
With holiday sales representing nearly 20% of annual numbers (and even higher for some retailers), it’s not an understatement to say that making the most of seasonal shopping is a critical priority for landlords and tenants alike.
Capitalizing on the lucrative holiday shopping season needs to be a team effort. It takes collaboration between landlords who understand the importance of the moment—and are willing and able to commit both the resources and the creativity to create the kind of festivities and celebratory events that generate buzz and drive traffic. It also takes retailers willing to activate that support with enthusiastic participation and fresh ideas of their own.
When those ingredients come together, the result can be not just memorable, but almost magical.
The exciting thing about the holiday season is that it’s a target-rich environment: awash with opportunities to create the kind of immersive, animated, and engaging atmosphere that retail centers crave. With communities and consumers primed for seasonal celebration and all the memory-making excitement that surrounds it, that stage is set (sometimes quite literally).
Village at the Peaks in Longmont, Colorado, features an outdoor performance stage that includes a rotating selection of holiday entertainment: from gospel performances to themed musical offerings with creative spins on holiday favorites. The center’s annual tree lighting celebration is going into its sixth year, and the event has become a not-to-be-missed regional holiday landmark that draws a crowd from well beyond the immediate Longmont community. Santa even arrives for the season on a horse-drawn carriage parading down a red-carpet-lined avenue to cheering crowds. Unique touches like a Fire and Ice Tower add heat to the holiday season, and participatory events like ice carving competitions with social media-voting determining winners all help make the holidays in Longmont a true community tradition. And merchants like Xfinity participate and contribute to that tradition in a host of creative ways, offering everything from complimentary hot chocolate to a free selfie station with holiday-themed photo keepsakes for shoppers.
Merchants of Village at the Peaks are universally enthusiastic about the packed slate of holiday programming. Many haven’t experienced anything like this before—certainly not on this scale. That excitement and positivity translates to collaborative engagement and great ideas and planning support from retailers. Some of the best and most creative ideas that have become community favorites were originally suggested by tenants. As landlords, community engagement is obviously a hugely important piece of the holiday puzzle, amplifying holiday promotions and events through social media and on-site signage. When landlords and merchants work together, the result is a holiday event experience that keeps families coming back year after year.
Making a List and Checking it Twice
As landlords, it’s important not to make the all-too-common mistake of focusing exclusively on big box retailers and anchor tenants and losing sight of smaller boutique businesses and service providers. Not only are those tenants a critical part of the seasonal atmospherics, they often have close ties to the surrounding community and are a critical ingredient in your center’s recipe for success. Every name on your tenant roster is valuable and retail centers that recognize that synergistic value and support them accordingly consistently generate better holiday programming and collaborative year-round success.
Lighting a Candle
Another key to great holiday planning is recognizing that every center is different—and every community is different. The best owners and operators develop custom planning, programs, and promotions that are a good fit for their tenants and for their customers. The best holiday programs have marketing plans designed to not just support tenants but find ways to bring our community together.
Stuffing the Stockings
Holiday programming and seasonal promotions and activations aren’t just a fun diversion—they have a measurable and often dramatic impact on sales and performance. Some recent examples include:
- At Grand Plaza in San Marcos, California, the Good Feet Store saw a 30% increase in sales after implementing a fun and relaxing in-store holiday experience event
- At Winston Plaza in Melrose Park, IHOP’s partnership with the Disney Ultimate Toy Drive as a drop-off location for a Stuff the Truck event led to a 32% increase in traffic during the week of the event and a 24% increase in the following weeks.
- Live demonstrations as part of a tree lighting event at Piazza Carmel in San Diego helped Church’s Martial Arts convert $4,000 worth of new memberships.
- A holiday gift card promotion at Bad Daddy’s at Village at the Peaks sold 700 gift cards and more than $35,000 in total gift card sales.
When owners, operators, and tenants work together, they can leverage creative and impactful marketing, and foster an experience-heavy atmosphere of festive and celebratory engagement that not only drives traffic and boosts bottom lines but brings communities together in ways that resonate long after the wrapping paper has been recycled and the last cup of eggnog has been polished off.
Because reindeer aren’t the only ones who can fly...
Santa is soaring into the season at Janss Marketplace in Thousand Oaks, California and getting the holiday season off to a thrilling start with the 2022 edition of the highly anticipated Jingle Bell Jump.
The event, which takes place on Friday, November 25th between noon and 3:00 pm, begins with cheering crowds looking to the sky as Santa parachutes to a landing—and continues through the afternoon with a celebratory slate of fun activities and themed holiday entertainment that includes things like face painting, children’s crafts, raffle prizes, and Storytime with Mrs. Claus.
Last year’s Jingle Bell Jump attracted close to 2,000 attendees, collected email addresses from 1,200 customers who registered to win $500 in retailer gift cards, nearly 200 food items were also collected for Food Share of Ventura County, and 206 free photos were sent home with attending families. Santa’s skydiving arrival was a social media sensation, with impressions and engagements up significantly across all channels and platforms—unsurprisingly.
Consider this highlight of Janss’ 2021 Jingle Bell Jump your sneak peak of the shopping center’s upcoming 2022 event.