Community engagement

Consumer behaviours and shopping preferences are continuously changing. Creating market-leading experiences for our consumers requires an intimate understanding of local communities wants and needs from our destinations.

Our centre management teams serve as Vicinity’s day to day touch points with communities across Australia.

They are our front line for engagement with our consumers, retailers, local government and other community partners and through these interactions facilitate great in-centre experiences, keep abreast of local issues and garner feedback on the needs of our communities.

  

Providing a consistent experience for our consumers and communities

During FY18, Vicinity established a unified vision and consistent framework for customer experience across our centres to provide a better guest experience and create places where people love to visit and connect.

We have developed a guest experience strategy that outlines a suite of core and tailored guest experiences for different types of centres across our portfolio, considering the current and future needs of the communities we serve and enabling us to harness the opportunities that exist to tailor services to meet their needs. The strategy focuses on implementing a consistent suite of services, including providing the right information and recommendations to our consumers, understanding and advocating for our retail brands, and inspiring consumers to connect with our centres and drive increases in their overall satisfaction.

Vicinity has focused on delivering our guest experience strategy through an internalised model, via the appointment of guest experience managers across our portfolio and led by a National

39

Net Promoter Score

(inaugural) 

 

Guest Experience Manager to oversee the function at a group level. All guest experience managers have undertaken relevant learning and development programs through the Customer Services Institute of Australia which focuses on important skills such as communication, managing customer interactions, positive attitudes and resilience.

Data and insights

We recognise that digital technology and growth in online retailing is changing the way our consumers shop, how our retailers trade and how we manage our assets. Vicinity has strategically invested in both technology and internal capability to create an integrated intelligence platform that will facilitate better consumer experiences, enhance the productivity of our retailers and enable smarter building management. It also provides the foundation for digital innovation that will support the marketplaces we curate for our consumers.

In FY17, we connected our centres and corporate offices to a single high-speed digital network with WiFi capabilities throughout. The network is significant in size and reach, with over 2.2 million consumers registered on the network, representing approximately 20% of consumers with devices visiting our malls and signifying engagement equivalent in scale to leading Australian loyalty programs. This infrastructure supports the connection of and interoperability between all devices and applications within our centres – connecting both people and things.

The rich data we are gathering from this network is helping us to gain insight into consumer behaviours including dwell times, foot traffic and traffic flows, enabling us to alleviate their pain points and enhance their retail experience with us.  For example, wayfinding is a when they visit our centres. Using the converged network and consumer insights we are integrating wayfinding across multiple touch points such as concierge, web, app and kiosk. Other applications in the pipeline include the automation and personalisation of messaging, offers and shopper experiences, targeted media, WiFi network onboarding and consumer survey tools.

As a part of our ongoing consumer research program, we are directly and indirectly engaging with our consumers from each catchment to better understand their lifestyle needs, and inform the right retail mix at our centres to stay attractive and relevant to the local community.

Underpinning our intelligence platform is a robust cyber-security model, which provides high levels of security for connections uniformly across the platform. To learn more about our approach to digital and technology, as well as privacy and data security, see 2018 Annual Report (pages 38-39).

Engaging communities in centre developments

Developments offer Vicinity the opportunity to build sustainable and inclusive destinations, create positive outcomes for our communities, introduce the latest retail concepts and revitalise our offer.  

Our Sustainable Design Brief (SDB) guides how our development projects align with Vicinity’s Sustainability strategy and respond to the unique needs of the local community, be that through the design of our centres or the means through which we construct them. Throughout all stages of a project, from concept phase through to planning and delivery, the SDB requires that our teams consider,

  • engagement of the community during planning and construction stages,
  • significant community needs that can be addressed through the development (such as accessibility, social inclusion and placemaking)
  • enhancement of public spaces and common areas to support local placemaking initiatives such as community gardens, youth start-up or co-working spaces or child care facilities
  • how the construction phase might be executed to positively impact the local economy (for example, through use of local, social or Indigenous enterprises),
  • setting employment and training targets for youth or Indigenous Australians during contract delivery, and
  • initiatives that integrate Indigenous cultural significance aspects into the design.

We engage with local communities during the planning and construction of our development projects to ensure that our centres continue to evolve in line with community expectations, and do not create any unintended negative impacts.

During development planning, our development and data and insights teams conduct extensive consumer research, consulting with local communities about their lifestyle preferences, shopping habits and expectations from our centres. We incorporate these findings into our concept and design works to ensure that the final product meets the needs of our retailers, consumers and the local community.

Regular engagement with the community during planning and construction phases ensures they are kept informed, interruptions are minimised, feedback is received and any concerns are proactively addressed.

Vicinity submits environmental and community impact assessments and mitigation plans to local councils for all major development projects.  

Information about these projects and potential impacts are displayed in the centre and on its website. We also equip our centre management teams with key information to pre-empt potential community concerns and ensure a timely and sound response is provided.

Case study: The New Glen

In FY17, Vicinity commenced our ‘The New Glen - A place Inspired by You’ redevelopment, which will transform The Glen into a vibrant local community hub by early 2020- .

The local community is an important part of centre’s redevelopment. The Glen has appointed a community liaison officer to lead its community consultation program, which includes dedicated community information sessions and enables community groups to meet with the liaison officer on site.

The Glen is also providing regular updates to the community regarding the development through local newspapers, community newsletters, on our website and the centre’s Facebook and Instagram pages. The dedicated Frequently Asked Questions page on the centre website provides details of the development, impacts to consumers and disruptions to centre and retailer operations. 

For more information, visit www.theglen.com.au.