Market research


 Interview with SES CEO Christoph Andexlinger:

“The Level of Relevance to Our Customers Always Takes Top Priority”

SES Spar European Shopping Centers regularly commissions comprehensive market research surveys to determine the level of customer satisfaction among visitors to SES shopping locations. The results of the latest representative Gallup study are particularly positive and indicate a high level of satisfaction among customers. The survey was conducted between October 2021 and March 2022 across 23 locations and included 23,000 respondents in Austria, Slovenia, Italy, and the Czech Republic. Christoph Andexlinger, CEO of SES Spar European Shopping Centers, the market-leading shopping center operator in Austria and Slovenia, reveals in an interview what visitors find particularly praiseworthy, the significance of the results for SES, and where SES will be focusing its efforts in the future.

Mr. Andexlinger, what are your thoughts on the market research results?

The fact that we have been able to further increase the already high level of customer satisfaction at our SES centers is extremely gratifying. Not only that: According to our customers, there are a number of other issues that have further improved at SES centers since 2020. Given the positive results of the study, it is clear to us that the teams employed at our centers, along with our retail partners, have successfully navigated the past two years – in the eyes of our customers.

What areas were of particular importance to customers?

Customer expectations have risen as a result of the pandemic, and we have met those expectations in full, especially in terms of safety and cleanliness. Once again, we have managed to improve upon our high standards. We have also successfully improved the ratings for our parking facilities, the accessibility of our centers, and the “Mini Lollipop” and “Planet Lollipop” children’s play zones.

To what do you attribute the fact that three quarters of SES shopping centers are already the preferred shopping centers in their respective catchment areas?

Our ultimate goal is always the same: to create vibrant living spaces that are highly relevant to our customers. We breathe life into each center, and our events and other activities are always based on themes that are typical of the region, thereby ensuring authenticity. Our centers serve as a home away from home for many people.

Our ultimate goal is always the same: to create vibrant living spaces that are highly relevant to our customers.

Christoph Andexlinger
Chief Executive Officer

How has awareness of SES centers changed compared to the pre-pandemic period?

We have managed to significantly increase spontaneous awareness of our centers to over 55 percent compared to 2020. That figure is quite impressive – we always measure our performance against that of the next best competitor in the respective catchment area.

The study shows that customer loyalty at SES centers is above average. Why do you think that is the case?

Well, customer loyalty is measured in terms of intended return visits, recommendation rates, and overall satisfaction. In addition to the feel-good atmosphere and the shop mix, our ZEHNER, a cross-center gift certificate, certainly contributes to customer loyalty as well. Centers that offer the gift certificate perform the best in that respect. According to the study, the ZEHNER has also become much more widely known: 70 percent of respondents were familiar with the popular payment method.

What conclusions can be drawn from the results, and where will SES focus its efforts in the future?

As operators, we intend to use the excellent results of the study for the purpose of analysis and setting of goals. We see further potential in some areas, while in others, maintaining the existing high level is essential. As a result, we are in a constant state of investment in our stores and are continuously working on improving the segment mix. We have also remained attractive, authentic, and exciting by giving new, innovative start-ups the chance to gain a foothold at our centers. Furthermore, in terms of “experience”, our centers score points with their extraordinary and surprising events. Our guiding principle is this: Everything that we do must be relevant to both our visitors as well as our retail partners.