How can shopping centres make a difference and remain relevant in an ever competitive retail environment?

Firstly they can offer shorter term leases where they are experiencing higher vacancy rates – leases that are flexible enough to meet the needs of the businesses, providing support and expertise to assist with each stage of business incubation space; allowing businesses to grow and potentially take on larger units within a scheme. Shopping Centres making it easier for online brands to open physical stores, showcasing new concepts are making a difference and supporting the evolution of the high street.  These shopping centres will be winners and develop strong connections with the community.

Being an online business first allows businesses to gain real customer insights to reach potential customers globally, but as they get known and have the exposure, customers want to experience the product or service within a bricks and mortar store. In our experience an online business being given the opportunity to trade in a business incubator or pop up shop concept within a shopping centre allows them to test the high street without the long leases attached to empty units historically.

New brands nestled amongst high street brands creates an ‘experience’ for customers and an interesting shopping environment, driving footfall to all stores within the scheme. Customers love to experience new things and for brands that have previously been online – this gives a tactical approach to promoting a new product or service in a higher footfall area. Pop up shops can be a fully functioning shop in a short space of time and allows brands to trial a physical presence that they might not have considered previously.

What are the benefits? 

  • A brand can learn more about customer expectations and gain valuable feedback about their product or service
  • Shopping Centres that are increasingly challenged in terms of vacancy rates and pressure from existing retailers can offer flexibility and support to the incoming brand whilst filling an otherwise empty unit and potential fall in footfall.
  • By offering this short term space it will not only enhance the shopping centre experience in the short term but potentially attract retailers longer term that might have overlooked the centre as an option.
  • The overall benefit is to the local community who are exposed to new brands amongst traditional brands, making sure that the town centre remains a destination for them and attracting new visitors.

There are many brands that would like the opportunity to test the high street and make that first step from online to bricks and mortar with a smaller incubator unit or shared space, gaining exposure whilst analysing long term solutions for growing their business.

In our previous blog post we talked about an online retailer who is now firmly placed on the high street offering a unique customer experience. Happy & Glorious started life online, learning more about their customers through being part of pop up shop concepts, a business incubator in Park Mall Shopping Centre, Ashford before embarking on a larger premises in Cranbrook, Kent.

Retail Inspired can work with shopping centres and high streets to reinvigorate and reinvent previously empty retail space with our extensive experience in working with businesses to improve the skills required to operate within a competitive high street; crucial to being able to support the wider the town centre. We develop strategies that will attract millennial shoppers creating visitor destinations.

We’re currently working  with a number of town centres to support the evolution of their high streets through developing strategies and initiatives, tailoring programmes. We would love to hear how we could assist your town or business.

You can keep up to date with our retail industry blogs here.

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