Shopping centre managers are always looking to engage with the local shoppers and community to drive the excellence of the schemes and enhance the customer experience, but it doesn’t stop there… It’s important for shopping centre managers to engage with external stakeholders to ensure optimum exposure, to entice new customers and bring new businesses into the community!
There is a growing importance of Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) across the UK and they are playing a pivotal role in supporting local economies, both in rural areas and medium size towns in addition to larger cities such as London and Manchester.
There are a total of 179 BIDs that operate across the UK & Ireland with a total BID levy income of £63million. BIDs are funded by companies in the town centre or city to support the location’s community in conjunction with the council; they are led by retailers, residential buildings, hotels and food and beverage operators to increase the footfall and revenue of all the businesses throughout the city or town.
I attended the Future of Retail conference in Manchester last week and found the discussion regarding the Manchester BID particularly interesting. It is great to hear that they are initiating a new strategy for the next BID to incorporate more operational services to ensure the city is a better, safer place for customers following the devastating events recently. I also found it particularly interesting to hear that international consumers often spend more and the Chinese graduation increased UK sales by an impressive 40%! BIDs strive to bring more revenue for the businesses and to improve the safety, security, opportunities and aesthetics for the customers within the area.
It is important for local councils to work in conjunction with their local BID to initiate strategies and spearhead events for the town centre or city. I found that the Manchester City BID has over 400 retailers within the BID from Exchange Square to Market Street; they have produced a number of entertainment campaigns including Chinese New Year and Halloween, increasing the PR awareness to 740,000, thus improving the overall footfall and revenue for the retail tenants!
Shopping Centre Managers play a pivotal role in liaising with the local council; the council’s support enhances the environment and improves conditions for pedestrians making it a safer and cleaner place. The council will partner with the Business Improvement District to enhance existing shopping centres, contribute to events and launch campaigns such as healthier living initiatives. Ultimately, if BIDs and shopping centres collaborate successfully, they can significantly impact the locations businesses, footfall and overall reputation.
Sarah Bannister, Shopping Centre Management, BIDs & Marketing, Foundation Recruitment