From Local to Loyal: Supporting traders to 'Earn the Commute'
June 20, 2024

From Local to Loyal: Supporting traders to 'Earn the Commute'

Wondering why it feels harder than ever to bring people to your retail centre? You're not alone. This article unpacks how the best shopping centres are supporting traders to 'Earn the Commute'

We now live in a world where shoppers can browse and purchase goods from the comfort of their homes, often at competitive prices. This shift threatens to decrease foot traffic in brick-and-mortar stores, impact revenue streams and necessitate innovative strategies to "earn the commute."

Shopping centre managers are increasingly recognising the value of supporting local traders - particularly their small and independent tenants in facing this change.

Beyond just filling storefronts, these managers are actively fostering environments that celebrate community spirit and promote economic diversity. Here’s a closer look at how they're doing it, along with three key lessons for attracting customers effectively.

Supporting Local Traders: A strategic approach to 'earn the commute'

Shopping centre managers are strategically integrating local traders into their tenant mix to create a more vibrant and engaging shopping experience. By offering space to small businesses, artisans, and locally-owned shops, they not only enrich the diversity of products and services available but also contribute to the local economy.

Lesson 1: Curate a Diverse Attraction Mix

The first lesson is all about curation. Successful shopping centres understand that a diverse mix of reasons to visit is crucial for attracting a wide range of customers. By blending local boutiques, specialty stores, and unique service providers with well-known brands, managers create a balanced shopping environment that appeals to different demographics. This variety encourages longer visits and repeat patronage from shoppers seeking both convenience and unique finds.

Lesson 2: Facilitate Community Engagement

Beyond transactions, shopping centres are evolving into community hubs. Managers are organising events such as farmers' markets, pop-up shops featuring local artisans, and cultural festivals, that may exist within their centres, but are also reflective of the wider community identity. These events not only draw foot traffic but also strengthen the centre’s role as a social and cultural destination. By fostering a sense of community, managers cultivate loyalty among customers who appreciate the centre’s efforts to support local culture and entrepreneurship.

Lesson 3: Promote Local Initiatives and Collaborations

Lastly, effective managers are proactive in promoting local initiatives and collaborations. Whether through joint marketing campaigns, collaborative events with local businesses, or highlighting local success stories on digital platforms, these efforts showcase the unique offerings of local traders. Customers respond positively to these initiatives, seeing them as a commitment to supporting the community and its economic vitality.

In conclusion, the shift towards supporting local traders isn't just about altruism – it’s a strategic decision that benefits shopping centres, customers, and the broader community alike. By curating diverse tenant mixes, fostering community engagement, and promoting local initiatives, shopping centre managers can create thriving retail environments that resonate with today's conscientious consumers. This approach not only drives foot traffic and sales but also enhances the overall shopping experience, making the center a preferred destination for both locals and visitors alike.

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