The survey indicated that 84 percent of people are willing to spend as much or more if retailers make positive contributions to the community, such as supporting local charities.
AMP Capital’s Recommended Retail Practice Report has been conducted for 10 years and is the result of three weeks of in-depth discussions with 750 shoppers in Australia and New Zealand, and an online survey of 1500.
The report identifies key themes and recommendations to retailers.
While international brand giants like Apple have millions of devotees, the survey shows small retailers can have the same impressions on customers.
AMP Capital managing director Bryan Hynes says the results are not surprising, as shopping centres are becoming the hub of communities.
“At the end of the day, shopping centres are the main streets of 40 and 50 years ago. There’s a very direct connection for consumers and when those environments are authentically local, people use them a lot more.”
Australian burger chain Grill’d is an example of how businesses can give back to their communities, he says.
Grill’d customers can chose a local community cause to support by dropping a token into one of three jars. At the end of the month, Grill’d donates money to each of the community groups based on the number of tokens in the jar.
Other ventures in shopping centres like Botany Town Centre’s community garden, which is run by volunteers in partnership with family-focused charity Bellyful East Auckland, enrich the shopping experience by giving it a community-focus, he says.
Tauranga’s Bayfair Shopping Centre has built an identity based around sustainability and accessibility. It was the first New Zealand shopping centre to remove all public waste bins from its food court and now diverts 70 percent of waste from landfill each year. It was also the first to start recycling rainwater and was the first business in New Zealand to achieve a Platinum accessibility rating from social change organisation Be.Accessible.
Hynes says making shopping safe for all customers is increasingly important.
“One in six New Zealanders have some form of accessibility issue, and we’ve putting capital in to fix problem areas so accessibility is to of mind.”
The report also found changes with male customers, who are not only shopping more, but also enjoying it.
According to the report, 75 percent of men like shopping and 56 percent of men visit a shopping centre at least once a week. More men than women are increasing the amount they spend on fashion.
Hynes says this change is likely to do with the number of corporates choosing to do without formal attire at work.
“A lot of corporates are dressing down and the Millennials have to be more fashionable Monday to Friday, they’re not just wearing suits. Men are becoming a lot more fashion conscious.”
The rise in retail technology is also luring men to the shops. Men’s fashion brand M.J Bale offers an online style manual, which can be used at home to design the perfect outfit and then replicated in-store.
The report is used by AMP Capital to inform future decisions about retail and shopping experience trends.
“Retail will continue to evolve and change and each centre has to be unique to its demographic to work, so we use the research to inform decisions and help our retailers.”