Following Covid-19 closures, the portfolio which has implemented new hybrid services and opened with a host of new brands, has already seen encouraging results.
VIA Outlets – Europe’s fastest growing owner-operator of premium fashion outlet destinations – has moved quickly to reopen all centres in its 11-strong portfolio, with Zweibrücken Fashion Outlet in Germany the final centre reopening its doors today. With the exception of Hede Fashion Outlet in Gothenburg, all of VIA Outlets’ centres have been partially or completely closed for the majority of the period December to May due to in-country government-imposed Covid-19 restrictions.
During the closed periods, VIA Outlets worked hard to continue offering guest and brand partner services, for example by supporting virtual shopping – assisting brands to continue trading to the greatest extent possible. This allowed guests to shop from the comfort of their homes by setting up private shopping appointments via WhatsApp, Skype or Teams, speaking directly with a sales assistant to see products in store or via a Digital Catalogue, with purchases either available to be picked up in store or delivered directly to the customer’s front door. The service was deemed a great success and highly appreciated by both guests and brand partners. As a result, going forward it will remain a permanent service offered by many brand partners in the VIA Outlets portfolio.
VIA Outlets also trialled and successfully launched a dedicated “Plan and Shop” platform in its Batavia Stad Fashion Outlet in Amsterdam, which allowed guests to plan their visits in advance. This was in response to the Dutch authorities requiring customers to book visits a minimum of four hours in advance and the platform allowed guests to access a unified booking system for all brands in the centre, letting them book several appointments with one click. The system attracted a high number of customers with over 250,000 reservations in less than two months – allowing the centre to reach 25 per cent of normal turnover even during these extraordinary circumstances.