A recent Nielsen study determined that Australia leads the globe in average time spent per person on social media sites. Since the average Australian spends nearly seven hours a month on social media, it’s quite wise for the world’s largest retail property group to up its presence in that market.
Westfield owns over 100 shopping malls in four different countries but recognizes that the future of retail is driven by technology-enabled connectivity as well.
The retail giant has a slew of digital marketing tricks up its sleeve intended to provide relevant, personalised and timely information that helps customers shop throughout the entire shopper journey.
“Digital marketing is essential to Westfield marketing,” says Westfield Group’s Marketing General Manager John Batistich. “We are developing the best shopping destinations, delivering the ultimate shopping search and advisory experience as well as creating inspiration to influence the shopper journey and drive retailer sales online and in centres.”
In April 2011, Westfield launched Australia’s first “one-stop” online shopping mall with the aim to become Australia’s largest online fashion and lifestyle range.
Westfield signed 140 retailers with over 300,000 products on westfield.com.au. Over time, Westfield will continue to add new retailers to the site. The plan is to provide an unbeatable variety and availability so that shoppers can satisfy all of their retail desires within Westfield’s site without having to click out to a competitor.
By providing free shipping on all fashion and accessories purchases and offering free returns methods, Westfield has made online shopping a viable and well-received alternative to the old-fashioned way of going into a Westfield centre.
Westfield.com.au promo video
“The site is proving popular with online shoppers and is filling a clear gap in the market where shoppers can now search and compare products from hundreds of retailers and buy everything in the one transaction,” Batistich says.
Like any major retailer, Westfield operates a YouTube channel and Facebook page, but the company has introduced a twist to the typical social media formula by enlisting the help of a friendly and relatable ambassador of sorts.
23-year-old Gold Coast native Alyce Cowell was selected from a group of 1,450 applicants in a national competition to become the “Westfield Insider” late last year.
“Shoppers trust the advice from other shoppers,” Cowell says. “The benefit of researching online before heading out to the shops is that customers can be much more savvy.”
Cowell gives the inside scoop on menswear
Westfield’s additional social media creations include an online styling service that allows consumers to email a stylist and receive advice on wardrobe dilemmas 24/7 and a mobile app that can be used to locate shopping centres by GPS, search for and contact retailers, receive offers and discounts, create personalised shopping lists and check the balance on Westfield gift cards.
These digital initiatives were all introduced by Westfield within the past year but the company has been focusing on the shift in shopper behavior and adjusting its resources and investment for the past three years.
“Westfield will continue to innovate and look at ways to enhance the shopping experience—both online and in our centres,” says Batistich. “As shoppers increasingly adopt digital and mobile technology as a complement to their online and in-store shopping experience, we will continue developing technologies and services.”