Customer Connections is a marketing and communications program focused on building relationships with customers and communities. The program is the most visible implementation of Phillips Edison's new mission statement: Dedicated to creating a great neighborhood shopping experience. The goal of Customer Connections is to provide opportunities for ongoing dialog with our customers and expand our involvement in the communities we serve.
The first phase of the program includes social media, community events, customer surveys, and other activities to connect each center and its merchants to potential shoppers.
Social media is a key part of the Customer Connections program, with Facebook pages engaging the rapidly growing number of customers who regularly use this forum to gather and share information. According to 2011 surveys at eight Phillips Edison shopping centers, approximately 50% of our customers use social media to some degree, especially Facebook. Through the Customer Connections program, we are using this popular resource to communicate with those customers. We are building a foundation that will help us reach the maximum number of potential customers as even more shoppers become social media users.
Facebook pages have been published for all Phillips Edison centers, with varying levels of active involvement to test results. A select group of centers is involved in a pilot program to assess the effectiveness of various initiatives. To build up the Facebook program, shoppers at the pilot properties can enter a monthly sweepstakes for a chance to win a $100 gift card from their neighborhood center.
Other aspects of the program include:
-Community events and activities
-Tenant meetings to encourage discussion and participation
-Additional customer and trade area research to learn more about our shoppers and potential shoppers
-Merchant newsletters with news about upcoming events, tips for using social media and other property news
The Customer Connections pilot program is under way at properties in Cincinnati, Ohio; Summerville, South Carolina; Tucson, Arizona; and Rochester, New York; and will soon be expanded to other markets. Merchants at each center are encouraged to participate in the program's social media, community outreach and promotional activities, giving them opportunities to build relationships with customers.