Retail Marketing

How Engagement Shapes Consumer Behavior Across Retail Settings

The rise of e-commerce, digital marketing, and mobility have radically transformed the ways shoppers engage with brands and stores. The Medill Spiegel Research Center is studying these changes and uncovering data-driven insights that retailers can use to maximize the value of their engagement to drive increased purchases in both brick-and-mortar and online settings.

Our first study in this series looks at how shoppers engage with brick-and-mortar stores in a mall setting. Subsequent reports will analyze how this behavior changes when shoppers are in a digital mall and other settings.

Study No. 1: Engagement in Malls

It’s Complicated: Analyzing the Relationship Between Malls, Stores, and Today’s Consumers

Questions We Address

  1. Do shoppers go to malls to visit one store or to browse among several?
  2. Does engagement at the mall-level matter?
  3. Is real-time, location-based marketing effective??
  4. Does engagement have a different impact on “planners” than on “impulse shoppers?”
  5. Is it more important for stores in a mall to play offense or defense?
  6. Does engagement exclusivity matter?
  7. What type of engagement has the greatest impact on sales?

Insights into How Shoppers Engage with Stores in Shopping Malls

Number of Stores Visited Per Mall Visit

Our research found that the lion’s share of mall shoppers are either one-store shoppers (36%) or serial browsers who visit four or more stores (44%).

Graph shows 44% visited 4+ stores, 36% visited 1 store, 20% visited 2-3 stores

Impact of Real-Time Push Messages on Store Visits

Shoppers of all loyalty levels visited additional stores after receiving real-time, location-based push notifications (RTMs). The impact, however, was greater among the most-loyal shoppers, who were 2.70x more likely to visit additional stores after receiving a message, whereas shoppers of all other loyalty levels were only 1.78x more likely.

Graphs show 2.70x Most loyal shoppers and 1.78x all other loyalty levels

Likelihood of Visiting Additional Stores After Receiving Real-Time Push Messages

For shoppers who plan their mall trips ahead of time by liking or clipping ads in their news feed, their decision of how many stores to visit was largely unaffected by receiving RTMs. Non-planners, however, were more likely to visit additional stores after receiving an RTM.

Graph shows a check box next to Impulse Shoppers are more likely to visit additional stores after push message and planners are not.

Exclusivity’s Impact on Store Visits by Potential Customers

Shoppers who “favorited” only Store A were significantly more likely to purchase from Store A than shoppers who favorited Store A and other stores.

Graph shows +2.1x Favorite only Store A and +1.7x favorite store A and other stores

Exclusivity’s Impact on Purchase Amount by Existing Customers

When existing customers favorited only Store A, their future purchases increased by nearly 8%. But when existing customers favorited Store A along with other stores, it had a slightly negative impact on future purchases.

Dive Deeper Into Branded App ROI

To learn more about Spiegel’s research into how engagement via branded apps influences purchase behavior and customer value, we invite you to explore our full library of content on the subject.

Academic Journal Publications

White Papers and E-Books


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