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Since 2019 the real estate company Ceetrus Nhood has been leading a significant project in order to increase the views of shopping malls through proximity researches, Google My Business listings and the analysis of reviews in collaboration with RetailTune.

The crisis of the last year tests the physical retail, but the shopping malls are the ones which really suffered the most. They had to make sacrifices: closure of tenants, cancellation of events in Gallery, partial closure at the weekend and the loss of vital activities which caused the absence of customers.

The physical retail is a really important field for the Italian economics. It involves 1200 structures, 36000 stores, 587000 employees and a business turnover of
39.1 billion euros. Before the Covid emergency, this field counted, just in Italy, over one billion customers per year, but now it is facing a huge process of transition which leads it to evolve in an omnichannel way. 

With this in mind, in 2019 Ceetrus Nhood begun to collaborate with RetailTune, a technological platform specialized in Drive-To-Store strategies, involving 12 Shopping malls in the project: Vimodrone SM, I Fenicotteri SM, Olbia Mare SM, Cagliari Marconi SM, Rescaldina SM, Casamassima SM, Neapolis SM, Belpò SM, Porte dello Jonio SM, Porte di Sassari SM, Adda Center SM and Fanocenter.
The focus of the partnership has been challenging: on the one hand, the increase of the awareness of shopping malls by exploiting all proximity searches, also containing the names of the stores inside; on the other hand, providing the customer, quickly and immediately, all the information that acts as “driver” for the in-store traffic: timetables, addresses, contacts but above all, events and promotions which encourage him/her to go to the center. 

The project involves activities such as the complete revision and management of Google My Business listings, the creation of a Store Locator for 10 shopping malls with a dedicated page for each tenant and the review management and Q&A from Google listings. 

Simona Portigliotti, Marketing, Com CSR & Innovation Director Ceetrus Nhood, explains “In full-fledged health emergency, supervising these touchpoints in a uniform and centralized way has allowed a coordinated management of the continuous closures and openings, with the benefit of informing the customer always on time.” 

At the end of the first lockdown, the shopping malls have seen an increase of visits. In comparison with Google Analytics data, for the period May-August 2020 VS LY, regarding to the total views on Store Locator, it comes out an increase of 171% for Adda Center, for Rescaldina and Vimodrone, 95% for Fano Center, 86% for Casamassima, 74% for Neapolis and I Fenicotteri, 86% for Olbia Mare and 47% for Porte Dello Jonio.

During the same period, for Google My Business there is a growth of 32% for the discovery researches which allow to find out Google My Business listings of the shopping mall when the user searches for a store or a similar category. This index indicates a constant local SEO work aimed at increasing Google My Business listings optimization for general researches.
A significant growth also comes from Google My Business calls which, in the reporting period, may be associated with the increase of 41% in-store traffic.

A really important part of the project is represented by the review management, thus a more and more strategic activity to which many brands have begun to allocate part of their resources. This allows to identify not only the strengths of shopping malls, but above all the main difficulties highlighted by the customers to whom pay attention in order to improve the sales experience.
Therefore, doing a deep quantitative research allows to identify the main strengths underlined by the customers: wide range of shops, available services, current promotions and events, the quality of products, staff training and above all, the respect of Covid rules inside the shopping mall.

Portigliotti explains: “Replying to the reviews of the users in a rapid and accurate way takes advantages both in terms of search engine optimization, with a consequent increase in discovery searches, and loyalty. The best results are yet to come: in the first quarter January – March 2021, taking into consideration the 12 shopping malls, 92% of the reviews recorded were positive, highlighting the positive sentiment of customers and their loyalty”.

“The project with Ceetrus Nhood plays an important role. – Claudio Agazzi, founder of RetailTune, says- Started thanks to Simona Portigliotti’s omnichannel-oriented vision, who strongly believed in this partnership. Last year has been the annus horribilis for retail and for the shopping malls but it encouraged the acceleration of some digital processes. In this way, Ceetrus Nhood was ready to face the new challenge and the results achieved show that the path taken is correct.”