The Building Blocks of a Site Seen

Formerly known as Developers Diversified Realty Inc., SITE Centers Corp. is a publicly traded REIT that invests in centers across more than 30 American states and Puerto Rico. Simple, strong, and stark, its website—more specifically, its homepage— offers a sense of character within its details. The print is clean, the imagery basic, and the design modern in a way that grabs and holds the attention of the visitor.

Balancing black and white vs. a mix of pink and purple, the site captures the perfect pop of color. Scroll down the lengthy homepage and letter-by-letter keywords are highlighted with black vs. color backgrounds, lines expand horizontally across the screen, dots expand vertically down the screen, and graphics zoom in and out or change color.

Exchanging a main menu for a barely-there header, the top line shows a trio of click options: A vertical menu, a brand logo, and a “Latest Supplement” tab to access the latest quarterly financial details available. The homepage opens with the statement, “Retail is Evolving,” and a link to the group’s launch video, which features a sit-down interview with president and CEO, David Lukes. He touches on adapting to the cultural shift within the retail industry and changing the brand identity as a response. He notes that the switch in name, logo, and identity reflects who the SITE Centers team wants to be in the future.

“I would say that our new brand is a little edgy. It changes, it moves; the colors move, the shapes move. They’re squares, squares are the building blocks of most everything we do,” he explained.

“What we are going to do is challenge the existing assumptions of the rest of our industry.” The same could be said of the company’s website.

Because Mother Always Knows Best

With collections like Mother Superior and taglines like “The Jeans You’ve Been Praying For,” Mother Denim is known for its irreverent disposition and model cult following. Based in LA, the boutique brand with an indie spirit evokes memories of growing up in California in the 1970s and explores the duality of the parental role. With a static main menu, Mother’s website is easy to read, search, and navigate. 

Click on the “About” tab at the bottom of the homepage and, as part of the “Who We Are” section expanding on Bedtime Stories, the paragraph reads: “Mother tries not to take herself too seriously—and neither should you.” This one sentence perfectly captures the essence of the website—especially, its Gift Guide page.

Leading up to the holiday season, the lifestyle brand flipped its not-so-serious side into party gear. Juxtaposing the site’s main menu, the page’s header features a moving visual of a spinning dessert cover that displays a series of rotating covered objects and the flashing word: HOLIDAY, in all caps. Along with a festive fruit tart, branded items such as a “Mother’s Little Helper” flask move across the screen.

Scroll down and the lengthy page is evenly divided into horizontal bars of different-sized widths: thin bars (each with a different solid color background) and thick bars (each with a different strong visual background).

In addition to fun and funky visuals that correspond with quirky titles and catchy phrases, Mother Denim’s homepage consists of a number of links, multiple shopping guides, and a help button in the bottom right corner. As the brand says to reassure fans and potential customers visiting its website: “Mother’s Got Your Back.”

It’s Time to Get Fitched

Ever heard of Fit:Match? Combining the latest in data science and 3D measurement technology, the platform offers a highly integrated online/offline apparel shopping experience and a transformative retail opportunity for consumers, retailers, and brands. It functions on Fitch, proprietary Al-powered technology, and matches shoppers with products that fit them based on biometric data and preferences. The mission of the program: To eliminate “fit risk” and provide a more personalized and rewarding overall experience, achieving shopper relevance and satisfaction, increasing loyalty and retail sales conversion, and decreasing the rate of purchase returns.  

In partnership with Baybrook Mall in Texas, the American company’s team opened a Fit:Match Pop Up Studio to generate awareness of the platform. After answering a number of questions about their fit and style, consumers will experience Fitch, which collects 150 body measurements in mere seconds.

“The final step in the experience [at the Baybrook Mall Pop Up Studio] will present [shoppers] with a personalized assortment [of apparel] that delivers their best fit matches, based on their accurate biometric and fit profile data,” the Fit:Match team noted in a brief.

Following that process, shoppers can browse and buy the selected items in-studio on digital touch screens or at home via the company’s website.

Layering brand-provided tech pack data and Fitch-generated measurements, the team aims to empower consumers to make better apparel purchase decisions. Exceeding its initial expectations, 80% of shoppers who enter the Pop Up Studio get “fitched” and complete the matching process. 

“[Only a minor subset of items in the universe of ready-to-wear apparel fit each individual perfectly, yet shoppers are presented with thousands of products on a brand’s website or in-store. In order to find the right products, shoppers bear the burden of wading through an extensive assortment, reading complicated sizing charts, and/or spending time trying on clothes. This results in a very hit-or-miss experience. In the modern age of AI we knew there was a better way, so we decided to invent it,]” explained Fit:Match co-founder and CEO, Haniff Brown.

He added that Fit:Match’s core team of advisors and employees comprised of experienced marketing professionals and entrepreneurs who had deep knowledge across all retail channels and could work with clients with a wide range of budgets—from start-ups to established brands.

Describing the platform as powering a pro-active approach to personalization, Haniff noted: “Fit:Match is a perfect partner for mall developers because we drive traffic to the property, bring digitally native brands offline to their [customers], and help create something truly innovative and experiential…We believe the future of retail is experiential in nature, tech-enabled, data-driven, and digitally enhanced.”

In partnership with Capital Factory, one of Texas’ most active accelerator programs and venture capital funds, the team is allowed to leverage its network of mentors, investors, and industry experts. Additionally, following months designing the pop-up space to optimize the consumer journey, the team collaborated with The Lionesque Group, an industry-leading pop-up architect to construct the studio in less than a week.

Coming up: Fit:Match will be hitting the road to attend a series of major retail trade events throughout the year.

The Marketing Strategy & The Public Response

Prior to its launch, the team targeted a specific demographic, namely aspirational female consumers (ages 16 to 40 years old) and implemented digital marketing across social media.

The team allocated most of its marketing budget to creating a highly engaging and vibrant experience that represents the future of apparel shopping.

To date, Fit:Match has allotted a minimal spend on inorganic marketing (i.e. social influencer marketing). This is why it’s excited about the continued success of its concept, especially with the upcoming execution of a broader marketing plan to drive brand awareness and expand nationwide.

As an active member of Fashion Group International, Fit:Match is able to team up with the organization’s local Houston chapter to promote its platform  

Having engaged with local influencers and hosted several launch events and activations, Fit:Match received coverage from multiple industry-leading publications, including Women’s Wear Daily, The Houston Chronicle, and Innovation Map.

The team has received an overwhelming response from the press, investors, consumers, brands, and professionals in the real estate industry.

Virtually all consumers who agree to try Fit:Match and get “Fitched” for the first time have never heard of the program.

Continuing to expand weekly, Fit:Match is currently partnered with more than 15 brands.

The Launch’s Media Mix (by share of the overall budget)

  • OOH and on-site: 30%
  • Digital: 30%
  • Social: 20%
  • Traditional Media: 10%
  • Events: 10%

intu: Link Up & Loyal On

As the largest shopping center landlord in the UK, intu owns more than a dozen retail destinations across the country (and three in Spain) and welcomes more than 400 million visitors annually. Looking to drive footfall, strengthen ties with participating retailers, and blend the digital experience and physical shopping habits of its customers, it launched an in-store cashback app that rewards shoppers for spending among the resident tenants’ rows and racks.

The app offers shoppers 2%-10% cashback on any item purchased offline from participating retailers and restaurants across intu’s 14 UK retail destinations. As an extra, it also provides a number of bonus offers (up to 90% discount) to influence shopping behavior in a particular location on a specific day. With continued daily growth, the team has close to 40 brands and 200+ stores signed up.

Using innovative card-linking technology to track the transactions made by the same cards in-store, customers can add their traditional payment cards to intu Pocket and use their cashback in-store or transfer it to their bank account once the equivalent of US$6.50 has been earned. The intu team also notes that anonymized data that it collects through the app will give retailers access to real-time customer insights. Before the launch of the app, while intu benefited from a large user database, the team sought an effective way of engaging with users.

“Online shopping data is used to build loyalty and drive sales, and we wanted to provide some of the same benefits to intu’s customers and retailers. intu Pocket enables us to reward shoppers for spending their money at an intu center and helps to increase [traffic] and sales at our retailers’ stores,” explained Trevor Pereira, intu’s digital and commercial director.

Discussing the scale of the owner, Pereira believes intu is positioned to elevate the consumer experience and ensure the continued success of its retailers. Following the developing of a proposition deck, it generated awareness of the initiative by reaching out at a center-to-center level and promoting the app via e-mail and social media to each property’s database. Next, the team implemented SMS promotions to visitors in-center, such as via Wi-Fi and social media channels. The company established a dedicated unit that is responsible for working with key brands and introducing them to the platform.  

Posted on intu’s website is an interview featuring Pereira. During the back and forth, the representative describes intu Pocket as a loyalty program and explains why card-linking works better than open banking alternatives. He shares that the purpose of the app is to reach people in a way that’s relevant to them wherever they are and expand their shopping experience beyond a single transaction with a brand.

As a result of personal experience in the space and extensive research, the team decided that card-linking was the only way to re-create an online reward system in the physical world. With changes in open banking regulation a major consideration, intu partnered with Fidel’s card-linking API to establish a quick, easy, and successful implementation process.

“Card-linking enables us to consolidate a lot of in-center rewards and is the simplest possible way for [intu] to reward visitors. It’s the most direct route for us to speak to our rent-paying customers and get their offers into visitors’ hands…The granularity of the data and the flexibility of the program means [participating retailers and F&B operators] can set up different offers for specific times of the day or week, or even for individual stores across their portfolio or spending thresholds,” Pereira added.

“Our next step is to work more closely with brands to see how tactical use of rewards can influence behavior while visitors are physically in-store. At this time, we’re largely using static offers as an incentive to get more footfall to our centers, but when we have more scale, we’d like to see how we can move customers around using the app.”

Key Takeaways

The goal of the initiative: Signing up as well as tracking brands and visitors, and analyzing spend metrics.

The primary benefit of card-linking: Getting a better idea of the value of the company’s database (i.e., gathering of transaction and spend data).

The result: In the first three months since the app’s launch (March to June 2019), the average intu card-linked amount increased by 47%. The conversion rate of those who downloaded the app and became members to having them actually link their card and spend in-center exceeded intu’s initial targets.

Volume 24: Winter 2020 Edition Sample

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