Hello my shopping Gurus! Have you ever wondered why people are drawn to one Shopping Center over the other? Well, I have been doing some research and here are seven reasons I found as to why people may or may not be shopping at a Shopping Center.
1. Does your Shopping Center have an app and/or a mobile site?
People are all about convenience in the palm of their hand these days and there is nearly an app for everything. In fact, according to Google 85% of shoppers use an App while shopping. Simply placing a list of your stores, coupons, and maps can help shoppers search for stores and orient themselves before and during a shopping trip. Efficiency is key. Shoppers do not want to spend their time searching for a directory or a store. The convenience of a mobile site or app is also great for easy coupon access. Smart phones are easy to scan to redeem coupons which merchants and shoppers both find timely and nearly effortless.
2. Do you have a variety of unique stores as well as a blend of commercialized stores?
In order to keep your Center unique it is important to lease spaces to stores that are specific to your Center. If a customer is looking for a specific item it is beneficial that your Center is the only Center in the area that they can get that item. However, you should be careful in how unique you make your Center because if there is not a single commercialized store in your Center, there will not be much of a consistent pull to your Center. All in all, a mix of big box and mom and pop shops is ideal for generating customer traffic to your Center.
3. Do you have a diverse selection of dining options?
People love food so providing a variety of dining options is the best way to attract and keep shoppers at your Center! According to QSR Magazine (2011), Shoppers are predicted to stay at a Shopping Center 20% longer if the Center provides a variety of delicious dining options. Diversity is not only important in type of food but also the price range of the dining selection your Shopping Center offers. Not everyone can nor wants to spend $45 on lunch, so it is always good to include less expensive dining options that still have some flare like Freebirds, High Tech Burrito, FlatTop Grill, etc.
4. Does your Shopping Center have numerous vacancies?
No one enjoys shopping in a ghost town unless, well...you are a ghost, so having a good leasing team and keeping spaces occupied is a key component to keeping your Center thriving with customers and merchants! If your Shopping Center is hurting economically or you are waiting for an outstanding tenant to move in, try using Pop-up retail to fill empty spaces or putting a seasonally appropriate scene in the empty space. I've seen everything from Santa sets to a Halloween graveyard where kids can brush and dig for fake bones; both terrific ideas! These types of attraction take up empty space and create chatter among the community that will bring more shoppers to your Center.
5. This brings me to my next point, is your décor appealing?
Everything from flower beds, to Santa sets, to store fronts, visual appeal is huge! If your Center looks like it has been through a typhoon, the chances of people stopping to shop there are slim. However, if you have well-groomed flower beds and your maintenance team is keeping trash, faded paint, and store signs in-check you're much more likely to attract customers. Also, be consistent; if your Shopping Center looks stunning then people are going to expect your displays and Santa sets to be creative and well-presented as well. Put some effort into these types of things, it will make a difference. (P.S. try to get a Santa with a real beard, the fake beards are pretty obvious. The key to getting a good Santa is to book early!).
6. Do you have Center-wide gift cards?
Piggybacking off of my first point that customers love convenience, Center-wide gift cards are ideal for keeping customers in your Shopping Center to dine, shop, and enjoy. For example, Let’s say it’s your birthday and your friend gets you an Outback Steakhouse gift card as well as an Anthropology gift card and you want to shop and grab dinner but Anthropology is in one Center and Outback is in a Center across town. How inconvenient! Your Center could benefit from offering a “one-stop shop” type of gift card. This way recipients of these card can shop and dine in one place and pay with one, easy, convenient gift card! Plus, they are staying at your Shopping Center which is also a plus.
7. Next, does your Center host events/concerts?
People pay a lot of money to go to concerts, even cover bands, so having a fun band, free of charge will attract customers to your Shopping Center! Also something to note: many bands have a following regardless of how well-known they are. Band members are likely to share with their family and friends where they are playing. This brings potential new customers to your Center. These customers are likely to stay as long as the band is on stage, meaning they are likely to eat and shop at your center. Having a consistent concert series such as a ”Summer Concert Series" is a great way to bring traffic!
Alright Gurus, I hope this helped highlight how to center your Shopping Center in order to generate a greater appeal to the public! Until next time, stay centered, Gurus.