St. Modwen is a UK based development company with a property portfolio of £1.7bn and a focus on the long-term regeneration of commercial property and residential land. In November 2015, St. Modwen purchased Kirkby Town Centre with hopes of redeveloping the area; creating a town centre which would thrive and of which the community would be proud. WiFi was a key element of this redevelopment and in April 2016 Purple’s WiFi and analytics solution plus Ruckus hardware was installed by Essensys. Thousands have gained access to WiFi whilst St. Modwen collects valuable demographic and behavioural data about town centre visitors.
When St. Modwen purchased Kirkby Town Centre one of their core aims was to help businesses operating in the vicinity to thrive and allow shoppers to enjoy a more interactive and memorable experience. The team was keen to become more digitally focused and believed that free town centre WiFi would not only allow them to provide customers with a service that is in high demand but it would also allow them to better understand their customers and utilise the detailed data to create an offering relevant for their visitors.
Without any form of customer database, St. Modwen had limited ways of communicating with shoppers. Therefore, the company sought a new, innovative way of understanding who their loyal and first time visitors were; they wanted to improve engagement through the distribution of digital marketing campaigns. Insights around visitor movement, dwell time, common behaviours and traffic flow were also of interest to St. Modwen as it would help to improve marketing output and operational efficiency.
Ruckus Wireless hardware and Purple’s solution was expertly rolled out across Kirkby Town Centre by Essensys in April 2016 as part of a three-year contract. Purple was deemed a suitable fit for Kirkby Town Centre as it had already been successfully rolled out by Essensys in Wythenshawe Town Centre, another commercial area owned by St. Modwen, and this site had achieved some notable results.
With Purple, the residents and users of Kirkby Town Centre can rest assured that the system is fully GDPR compliant. Users are asked to accept terms and conditions and agree to the fact that their details may be used for marketing purposes during the initial login process. All WiFi users gain access to a unique ‘Personal Profile’ that allows them to see what details are stored about them, who has access to it, what communications have been sent and the opportunity to withdraw permissions for marketing.
In August 2017, location analytics were also rolled out across Kirkby Town Centre, allowing the Centre Management Team to gain access to much deeper insights into the behaviour of their visitors. This includes presence analytics, which allows the team to see how long people stay for and the busiest periods, as well as heat map data that pinpoints areas with the highest footfall density and measures how people move around the town.
In just over 18 months almost 9,000 people have logged onto the Kirkby Town Centre WiFi network, enabling the town’s management team to build a solid, reliable customer database which can be utilised for marketing purposes. Previously, email addresses had been collected manually at key events throughout the year; however, this was labour intensive and the data was rarely utilised due to the time involved entering the information into one central database. With Purple, the cost and effort of manual data collection have been eliminated, instead, this data is securely captured in the Purple Portal whenever someone logs onto the WiFi either via social media or a short form.
Communications are now digitally distributed to visitors via email, allowing the team to publicise upcoming events and news to drive loyalty and spend amongst visitors. The ability to send emails is particularly useful when promoting seasonal events such as the Christmas lights switch on.
Commenting on the ability to digitally interact with visitors, Mike Matthews, Town Centre Manager for Kirkby, said: “We’re now distributing news and promotions with ease over email, something that we’ve never been able to do before. Open rates have been very positive with on average 25% of emails being opened by the recipient; this has helped drive turnout for events. I put this down to the fact that we are communicating with people through more relevant channels. Prior to Purple, we spent a lot of money on print advertisements and paid placements in the local press but we’re now completely digital, using mainly email and social media. This is a massive cost saving for us and we are able to reach out to the people who actually take the time to visit Kirkby. We’re driving loyalty whilst also reducing our expenditure.”
Social and Feedback
As part of the effort to become more digitally focused, an official Facebook page was set up in February 2016. Since using Purple, the number of Facebook page ‘likes’ has grown by 838%, which will be supported by the fact that visitors are asked to ‘like’ and ‘follow’ the Kirkby Town Centre social media accounts whenever they attempt to log onto the public WiFi network.
The Facebook page has also acted as a great way to obtain feedback from town centre visitors, building up a 4.2-star review rating and almost 50 reviews. Many of the comments praise the work being carried out by St. Modwen and the high rating will help to entice new customers to the town.
Purple’s Customer Success Management Team also encouraged the creation of a TripAdvisor page for Kirkby Town Centre. 50% of the reviews on the page are thanks to Purple’s TripAdvisor connector which sends an automated email to all WiFi users within 24 hours of their visit asking them to leave a TripAdvisor review about their experience.
The town centre is also gathering customer feedback from Purple’s Micro Surveys feature. Since February 2017, visitors to Kirkby Town Centre have been asked ‘From our Easter farm event to the Christmas lights switch on, which event did you like the most in 2016?’. The survey, which is asked during the login process, has had a 100% response rate, from approximately 2500 people surveyed, and the data highlights that the Christmas light switch on was the most popular event, with 52% stating that this was their favourite.
Discussing the different methods of obtaining customer feedback, Mike adds: “Feedback is very important to us as it enables us to determine whether the things we are implementing are what people actually want to see happening in the centre. Loyalty is also extremely important as we pride ourselves on being a community focused shopping centre so listening to people and encouraging local residents to come back is key. Thanks to Purple we can see that during the last three months 65% of visitors are repeat shoppers so through the use of various tools and improved engagement with visitors we are seeing some great results.”
Location, Location, Location
Following the rollout of Purple’s location analytics in August 2017 by Essensys, Mike can now see where people go, how long they dwell, how traffic flows and where the most popular locations are.
Mike adds: “Location analytics are helping us to build stronger relationships with our town centre tenants. Recently one business refurbished their unit and informed us that they were worried they wouldn’t make their money back. We sat down with them, selected a date and time and showed them Purple’s heat map. It was evident that they are in the most densely populated area so if they take the right approach they could make a return on their investment in just a short space of time.
“Another tenant came to us wanting to discuss their rent, so once again we used Purple’s heat map to show them exactly how much footfall passes their shop. We identified that they were in the busiest area of the town and so there was an excellent opportunity for them to take advantage of the passing traffic, which they hadn’t utilised up until this point. Previously we wouldn’t have had this kind of information to support important discussions like this, but with Purple we are able to act smart and take a more professional and analytical approach when communicating with our tenants.”
Location analytics also allow the team to identify if works affect trade. Recently some work commenced around the mall and a number of shop owners were worried it could affect their profits, but despite this work footfall remained steady and people were not put off by the disruption.