The Key to a Successful Shopping Centre

Is there a ‘quick win’ when it comes to running a successful scheme?

There are numerous considerations that need to be accounted for when building and running a prosperous shopping centre, but which factor is fundamental for success?

Anchor tenants and tenant mix

Have you got a strong anchor tenant driving footfall? Having big brands not only drives consumers to visit a scheme but also encourages satellite and commercialisation tenants to lease space in the centre. The more retailers within a scheme, the more profitable the centre will be; it will increase the likelihood of consumers wanting to visit as well as increasing dwell time as they’re encouraged to browse the tenant mix.

CBRE reported that ‘Tenant mix, and the presence of ‘high profile’ retailers, is the main reason why consumers shop in a particular location’.

It is becoming increasingly more important to have a mixed use scheme; no longer can a shopping centre solely rely on retailers. To be a successful, experiential centre, they need to include F&B and leisure offerings.

Does this mean if you have the right quantity and quality of tenants your scheme will be successful?


Where is your centre positioned? How accessible is it?

Dubai Mall, the biggest mall in the Middle East, is located right in the heart of Dubai surrounded by key tourist attractions. This location is extremely lucrative for retailers, which has meant they haven’t struggled to get strong tenants and have received massive volumes of footfall – 80m visitors in 2014 alone!

Consumers want a scheme to be positioned in a convenient location that is easily accessible from all modes of transport including bus, train and car – if not, motivating footfall to the scheme is going to be a challenge from the get go, risking the success of the mall.

Brand Image

A strong brand image can not be underestimated. A brand image represents what shoppers think about your scheme, and ultimately, a deciding factor on whether they choose to visit. How reliant and credible are you? How innovative and original are your initiatives? Who visits your scheme? What tenants do you have? Consumers need to feel inspired by the centre’s brand image to choose to visit that scheme over competitors in the same region.

Branding for a centre can be extremely complex as both a B2C and B2B strategy needs to be considered. Moritz Felix Lück is Head of Marketing & PR at MEC Metro-ECE Centre management, has recently discussed brand management with across magazine. Mortiz Felix Lück has found retail parks that are developed and managed as brands are much more profitable than unbranded (no-name) centres.


Holding events allow you to promote your scheme before during and after. If you create a buzz and post shareable content, this will encourage shoppers to post and promote the event on their social media channels, allowing you to reach a much wider audience.

Events can massively drive footfall, they give consumers a reason to travel to your scheme over competitors. When you receive this high level of footfall, if you scheme is set-up well and strongly organised, you will gain loyal consumers who will return.

Technology savvy

With the developments in technology, centres need to be strategising new, innovative ways to allow shoppers to engage and interact with the scheme. There are numerous developments allowing schemes to make the consumer experience more personal and efficient – so if you’re centre isn’t, why would consumers visit your centre over others?

Community engagement

The community your scheme is situated in contains an audience you should be targeting. REVO reported 97% of centres observed greater customer loyalty, 95% observed better occupier engagement and 75% observed positive media coverage, all through community engagement.

The type of community engagement will depend on the size and location of the scheme, but investing time in creating a targeted community strategy has proven to be successful for schemes.

There is a wide range of factors to consider when building and running a successful mall.

What is the key to your success?

Kat Whitehead, Senior Marketing Executive, Foundation Recruitment

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