When it comes to implementing successful shopping centre management and leasing strategies, a shopping centre survey can help you with essential decisions relating to the tenancy mix, vacancy management, rentals, property performance, and marketing. On that basis, the survey process should occur at least once in every calendar year so you can stay ahead of changes in the property market and retail shopping patterns.

The results that you get from the survey should be tracked and managed as part of the property business plan. You can then see how the property and the customer base are changing. Those observations will help you with tenant selection and placement.

The retail customer survey should occur at different times of the year taking into account customer profiles, holiday periods, and regional economic circumstances. What you’re looking for is essentially the changes to the customer demographic and the shopping patterns. When you see the changes, you can adjust the tenancy profile, the shopping hours, and the product offering. Small changes aligned to the customers can help property performance in a major way.

Here are some tips to help you with structuring and implementing a successful retail shopping survey:

  1. Before you start the process, understand the targets that you are seeking to satisfy. In most cases you will be looking for existing or changing trading patterns, customer needs, shopping patterns, and sales results.
  2. Some of the information that you require will be sourced from the current retailers and their sales figures. Tenant cooperation is therefore a big part of undertaking the shopping centre survey. The tenants also understand what the customers are looking for; the tenants can give you valuable feedback to add to the survey process.
  3. The age and the configuration of the property will have something to do with how you conduct the survey. People will enter the property and move through it in particular ways. Public transport, car parking, and foot traffic will dictate different locations for undertaking the survey. For example, the people that travel to the property by public transport are likely to be different in profile than those that use motor vehicles. The same can be said for those customers that visit the property on foot.
  4. Understand the days of the week and the different times of day that will have an impact on customer and shopping patterns. Certain days of the week will show peaks and troughs in customer activity. What you need to do here is understand the reasons for people shopping on certain days of the week and at certain times.
  5. Determine the stores that your customers are visiting on a regular basis. Some retailers will be far more successful than others in attracting sales and customers. Your successful retailers will become leverage points for tenancy mix alterations and tenant clustering.
  6. There are typical differences in shopping patterns when it comes to age, sex, disposable income, and family size. The people located in the suburbs surrounding the property will have something to do with retail sales and future trade. Understand what a typical customer looks like and why they may visit your property.

Given all of the above facts, you can approach a professional marketing firm to implement the survey on your behalf. They should have proven experience in the process and thereby provide to you a list of questions and targets to be merged into the survey structure.

Typically a shopping centre survey of this type should be staged over three or four weeks, undertaken at different times of day, and on different days of the week. You can then chart the results and look for the patterns in customer requirements and spending. If funds allow, you can run the survey every 6 months, hence tracking trends and changes more effectively.

When you have all of this information, you can then more effectively relate to vacancy issues, property operating costs, marketing changes, common area usage, and lease negotiations. Over time those elements will help you with improving the tenancy mix, and ultimately the rental income from the property. They say that a successful shopping centre is commonly the result of a successful tenancy mix supported by a well-directed marketing campaign and a realistic landlord.


Source by John Highman

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