When it comes to retail destinations, the importance of an enlivened environment cannot be underestimated, particularly when you consider the unrelenting growth of the online sector. As well as being clean, safe and secure, Liverpool ONE aims to surprise and delight customers, aspiring to ensure shoppers never experience the same visit twice.
Hear from Liverpool ONE’s Head of Commercialisation, Cathy Maddock, to get her take on the role of entertainment within the retail sector and how it is helping Liverpool ONE stand out from the crowd.
Why do you think enlivenment so important to retail destinations such as Liverpool ONE?
We aim ensure that each visit is different, and enlivenment is one of the many ways we do this.
Within our enlivenment programme, we work with many key partners across the city, including the Liverpool Empire Theatre – who play a pivotal role in animating our spectacular Christmas launch event. Open Culture programme our annual piano busking festival and The Reader provide storytelling workshops at our spring Reading Trees.
The experiences we deliver further complement the retail and leisure offer, encouraging visitors to stay longer, enjoy their leisure time here, and share their experiences with friends – both through word of mouth recommendations and digitally through social media reviews.
What do you look for when aiming to enhance the visitor experience?
As well as enlivenment, we work closely with a number high profile brands to bring live activations and close up experiences to Liverpool ONE. Brands we’ve worked with this year include Coca Cola, who return with their iconic truck this Christmas from 5 – 6 December! Guest experiences by Transformers and My Little Pony bring further enjoyment to family days out.
Not forgetting LEGO, who’ve popped up on several occasions with everything from the world’s tallest LEGO wind turbine, to Santa’s sleigh complete with reindeer! Bringing the best and newest experience to Liverpool first is something we strive for.
Over the past year, we’ve even seen luxury brands such as Mercedes and Porsche open temporary pop-up stores – pushing the boundaries customer experience even further. In the past we’ve even seen pop-up stores perform so well, they’ve returned to join our line up full time – the White Company being one of the best examples of this conversion.
What is your favourite piece of enlivenment delivered over the years at Liverpool ONE?
We’ve had a few memorable ones, from our Balloon Drop event to summer launch, covering the iconic Sugar House Steps in Astroturf. However, my absolute favourite has to be Tickle the Ivories, our piano busking festival that’s now been running for an incredible seven years. This year more than ever, we’ve seen a real peak in with Tickle from our social fans – they love unearthing new local talent and we love providing the platform for them to do so.
We even had Grammy award winning artist, Diana Krall turn up to play – totally unexpected! Tickle the Ivories creates these magical, user generated moments and we know our visitors love to pause, take a moment and soak up the atmosphere.
Seven years in, Tickle is totally embedded within the city’s culture, people anticipate it… it’s almost become the signifier that summer has officially arrived!
Do you think a bigger emphasis has been put on delivering unique experiences with the growth of online retail?
Generally, Liverpool ONE continues to embrace an omni-channel service through initiatives such as our own dedicated Click & Collect service, delivered in partnership with Doddle. Often, it’s less about online versus the physical experience and more about listening to customers and giving them a choice, and if they happen to experience something they like whilst they are here picking up a Click & Collect item, just maybe they’ll visit again.
Liverpool ONE is a destination where people choose to spend time with friends and family – here, they know they’ll get a great experience, different from any other, which is also aligned with the wider city’s vibrant cultural and creative offering.
We are the most recommended retail and leisure destination in the UK by customers and we strive to create a bond that keeps visitors coming back whether that be for the retail offer, diverse choice restaurants and bars or to spend some precious down time on the award winning Chavasse Park.
Whatever the reason to visit, the environment visitors enjoy is vibrant, unique and different every time, something that online, for now, just can’t compete with. Our innovative enlivenment and event programme is a key part of that.
Do you think enlivenment plays a key role in the future of retail destinations?
Liverpool ONE has always been at the forefront of providing consumers with the great experiences they demand. We are seeing traditional retail centres shift quite dramatically towards curated environments, with modern retail offerings consisting of Click & Collect, diverse food and drink offers and pop up events that add to the customer experience all year round.
The future of destination retail lies in continuing to create immersive, unique experiences and events, and Liverpool as city continues to do that better than anywhere else I know.