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Solving the Customer Data Dilemma

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As the digital world moves away from third-party cookies, companies are finding new ways to collect the data they need to better understand their target audiences. At VIA Outlets, we have a well-established solution. 

Over the course of 2024, Google will progressively block third-party cookies targeting its Chrome users around the world. It is the last of the big browsers to turn off the cookies that advertisers and marketers have relied on for years to track consumer behaviours and inform their campaigns. With access to these customer buying signals disappearing, capturing first-party data – where individuals provide direct permission to collect and use their information – will become gold dust. 

At VIA Outlets, our well-established Fashion Club loyalty programme is our vehicle for accessing this valuable data. 

Fashion Club can provide both our brand partners and our own business with powerful insights on who is shopping in our outlets and stores, and how. These insights, paired with the core benefits of an effective loyalty programme, create a powerful combination. With so much choice at consumers’ fingertips, it can be challenging for brands and operators to build and maintain customer loyalty. To achieve this, they need to deliver high-quality shopping experiences that keep guests coming back, which depends on understanding what they want and tailoring offerings to them.  


Rewarding Customer Loyalty 

Fashion Club is proving a powerful win-win-win: for our guests, our brand partners, and our centres. 

For guests, the loyalty programme’s generous benefits are a clear attraction. Every time a member shops at a participating store in one of our outlet destinations, 5% of the total amount of their purchase is added to their account as credit. These credits can be collected and used to save on future purchases. Members also get access to unique promotions, invitations to exclusive Fashion Club VIP events, front row seats to in-centre activities, and opportunities to win prizes in our portfolio-wide competitions. They even receive a special birthday gift. 

Our brand partners are seeing the benefit at the point of sale. Last year, Fashion Club members spent on average 32.9% more per transaction than non-members, producing a significant uplift in incremental sales. Brand participation is increasing in response, as more partners take advantage of the opportunities to stay in close contact with members and can even provide them with targeted communications. 

By keeping our guests engaged, and our brand partners’ businesses successful with a higher spend per visit from guests, the Fashion Club is cementing our reputation as Europe’s outlet centres of choice. The mix of exclusive brand discounts, engaging activities and attractive settings make our centres the perfect destination for an inspiring day out, creating value for our guests, brand partners and, by extension, the VIA Outlets business.  


Gold in the Data 

Since launching in 2017, our Fashion Club loyalty scheme has grown rapidly. In 2023 we saw a near 20% jump on new members versus the year before. With the total number of members exceeding 2.2 million by year-end, we have a huge dataset of customer information and shopping behaviours, intelligence we can share with our brand partners that will become ever more valuable as it continues to expand. 

With our pan-European footprint, we are in a unique position. Our portfolio of 11 outlet centres across nine European countries allows us to see a cross-section of shopping information covering multiple brands and their stores. By analysing Fashion Club data, we have created guest personas based on details such as lifetime value, the number of brands they shop at, and more. With these insights, we can better understand who our guests are and how they shop at each centre specifically. It goes without saying that we are always careful to adhere to GDPR requirements and not share sensitive data between brands, however, with this bird’s eye view we have the opportunity to provide our Fashion Club partners with high-level information about their guests and purchasing behaviours. With these insights, brands can refine their offering and enhance their appeal to members. 


Expanding the Programme 

Our omnichannel platform, which is being piloted at Batavia Stad Fashion Outlet in the Netherlands, is adding to our understanding. Integrating Fashion Club into the platform was key, as we wanted our loyal guests to continue collecting credits on their omnichannel transactions. At the same time, it allows us to gather more insights into the customer journey, as for the first time we have exposure to information like item-level data. 

The next evolution for Fashion Club is being rolled out over the course of 2024. We are introducing a new rewards structure that is a strong fit for food and beverage (F&B) operators joining the programme. The reward mechanics can be managed on a brand-by-brand basis to reflect the margin differences between F&B offerings and allow operators to customise how they want to drive guest engagement. By establishing this new rewards structure, this loyalty programme set up, designed for F&B operators in mind, will be the first of its kind in Europe for the outlet industry. We can then share the data gleaned on shopping patterns, when guests arrive at the centre, their visiting frequency, etc. with our F&B partners – data that, because it is localised and current, will be highly relevant and tangible, making it a powerful aid in operators’ business decisions.  

So, although we are saying goodbye to third-party cookies, we are exploring first-party data in the right way to provide a win-win-win solution for everyone. 

Contact us for more information on how to join Fashion Club and the benefits it is bringing to our brand partners.

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