In retail shopping centre management today the presentation and appearance of the retail property in the eyes of both the tenants and the customers will be a fundamental fact that will influence sales and future rental potential.
Ultimately everything of an ‘appearance’ nature is linked. There is no other investment property type quite like it. Shoppers like to feel good as they shop and as they move through any shopping centre. If that magic ingredient is missing, then they are unlikely to return to the property for their shopping needs.
Assess all the visual things
The appearance and the convenience of the shopping centre will have direct impact on sales and tenant business. When you are looking at the performance and the configuration of the tenancy mix, have a serious look at the common area functionality and the property design. Are there any weaknesses to be addressed? Can the appearance of the property be improved?
So why is this so important?
The presentation of the property will influence the customers purchasing decisions and future visits to the property. The success of the tenants business will also be influenced by customer interest and sales.
If you are looking to improve the performance of a retail property, start to focus on customer interest, shopping convenience, property appearance, and sales improvement on a tenant by tenant basis across the overall mix.
Some other retail factors to watch
Here are some other factors to focus on as part of shopping centre performance and business operations:
- THE MIX: Understand the complexity and the relevance of the tenancy mix. The tenancy mix should be matched to the customers shopping patterns and shopping needs. Every property will be different as will be the customer demographic. On a regular basis and at least once a year you should be surveying the customers visiting the property to understand exactly what they are looking for as part of their retail purchase.
- THE TENANTS: Interview the tenants within the property on a regular basis. The tenants and particularly the successful ones will understand what customers are looking for and how customers are feeling when it comes to spending money. Certainly customer sentiment will change throughout the year given the trends of the local economy; catch up with your tenants on a regular basis so you can understand what they are seeing and experiencing when it comes to customer and sales activity.
- THE SALES: Track the sales activity on a tenant by tenant basis. When you manage or lease a large shopping centre there are some real advantages to be had from the monitoring of the sales activity on a tenant by tenant basis. You can see weaknesses within the mix and you can also identify the tenants that are trading successfully.
- THE ANCHORS: Understand the relationships between the anchor tenants and specialty tenants in the shopping centre. A successful retail property will always be a careful marriage of the two tenancy types in daily retail property operations and customer sales. A good anchor tenant will always attract more customers to the property over time. As the leasing manager or property manager for the shopping centre, get involved with the anchor tenants to encourage them to boast marketing activities and help them to get involved with specialty tenants in the overall marketing plan.
- THE LEASES: Establish a lease management process within the property as part of the leasing business plan. Within that lease management strategy, you can remove the weak tenancies in the shopping centre at lease expiry and replace those tenancies with new retail businesses. You can also target successful retail businesses from other locally competing properties.
The Retail Future?
So there are some good things that you can do here to improve shopping centre performance and the lease management systems monitoring the tenant mix.
A successful shopping centre will always be a careful marriage of ideas and actions between tenants, landlords, customers, and the property manager or leasing manager. When you get the basics right, and you match your property to the customer profiles and trends in the local area, the potential to boost retail sales will always be significant.