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7 examples of creative shopping centre engagement that work

Tuesday 11 December 2018 Property DevelopmentRetail ConsultancyShopping Behaviour

Alex McCulloch's picture
By Alex McCulloch

Retail landlords: it’s your moment to innovate

Innovation is a buzzword that’s easy to say but hard to practice. Retail development is a business that is heavily influenced by finance, law and institutional investors. These are conservative, slow-moving, cautious businesses for whom risk taking and being nimble don’t come naturally. Retail is a sector that rewards risk-taking and rapid evolution.

This creates a challenge for landlords who need to innovate to keep footfall high amongst those valuable shoppers who increasingly visit a shopping destination with high expectations and looking to be engaged.

Think like an event planner not an asset manager

How do you create an engaging shopping space that attracts those customers? Small changes can make the space more comfortable: more creative thinking can inspire shoppers in their choices and experimentation with brands and products.

Here are 7 examples.

1. Street Food Markets

Street food markets are all the rage: create a space for exciting, innovative food stalls to provide trendy and enticing snacks and meals. They create atmosphere and variety and constantly evolve keeping customers coming back. They also thrive in off-pitch, less used spaces and are relatively painless to implement.

2. Balance Out Catering

Balance out the catering by including the familiar. Not everyone is adventurous: mundane as it may seem a Costa or Pizza Express gives a reassuring, accessible alternative for rapid refreshment and broadens the shopper base beyond urban foodies.

3. Include Leisure Space

Include leisure space in the shopping centre. Operators like Rockup fit climbing equipment, which is well suited to cavernous spaces and atriums and provides an extra attraction for accompanying family members and creates a spectacle and atmosphere for shoppers. Even utilising vacant units to deliver temporary engagement like table tennis tables gives a more engaging experience. 

4. Create a Community

Foster a sense of community by using off-pitch space for artisan or seasonal craft markets or pop-up stalls. Work with local charities, schools and operators to enliven the space.

5. Put on a Show

Create an event space for musical and dramatic performances, like the theatrical area in Westfield Star City in LA.

6. Be Family Friendly

Upgrade the family facilities: provide a family room, changing and restrooms that are clean, comfortable and spacious, likewise benches and planting should be bountiful.

7. Be an Incubator

Try incubator leases that let affordable space in the centre for new retail brands or trial concepts, that change every six months. This diversity and spirit of experimentation makes the space more appealing to regular shoppers, with new outlets and the latest concepts to explore every visit.

If you would like support in how your centre can innovate, speak to one of our experts.


Retail Landscape

Retail landlords: it’s your moment to innovate

7 examples of creative shopping centre engagement that work