There is a ratio of great importance in shopping center operations and performance today. It is essentially the number of customers visiting the property in a regular ongoing way.
When you know the number of customers coming to your shopping center, you can do something about increasing it. A successful shopping center can be driven from customer growth and interest.
Methods of Tracking Sales and Customers
The way to track customer numbers and the impact those customers may be having on the property is best handled through a combination of the following:
- Door counters to track visitors to the property on a daily basis – See if you can track those visitor numbers on an hourly basis on all the days of the week where the property is open. Soon you will know the shopping patterns of customers.
- Compare your visitor numbers through the calendar year – Some segments of the retail and merchandising year will have peaks and troughs of customer visits and involvement. From this information you can structure your property marketing efforts for the tenants in the mix. You can also compare numbers from year to year to see how the visitor numbers are improving.
- Watch your competing retail properties – On a monthly basis check out all locally based retail properties that could be regarded as ‘competition’ for you. What are they doing to attract trade? How do they compare to your property?
- Design the property leases to allow the tracking of tenant sales turnover figures monthly – Some tenants will have special indicators to watch in retail sales. Some tenants will be marketing their products and services more successfully than others. It is good to know where your top tenants are in the property and how sales are working for them each month.
- Track your sales turnover across the tenant mix in merchandise groups – Depending on your property type and size, you will have quite a few merchandise groups to watch and monitor. Retailers respond differently during the year to shopping seasons and customer interest. Look for those patterns in the sales turnover numbers.
- Talk to tenants in the property – Given that your tenants should be interacting solidly with customers every day, they will get some valuable feedback that will help you with property issues. Meet with your tenants at least monthly to pick up on what customers are doing and looking for.
- Ask customers how they feel – Direct customer surveys in a retail shopping center are a valuable indicator of trends to watch. Ask customers how they feel about shopping center changes, the tenant mix, and product offering.
- Seasonal marketing – You can build specific marketing campaigns to roll out at certain times of the year (Easter, Christmas, and School holiday times). Watch how the sales respond to special marketing efforts at certain times of day.
In putting all of these things together you can build a reasonable set of facts relating to shopping center customer intention, profile, and interest. That information can make your retail property performance plan all that more successful and direct.