Skip to main content Skip to footer

How to drive consumers back to the shopping centre

Blog How to drive consumers back to the shopping centre hero

In the world of retail and leisure, trends may come and go, but placemaking is one that’s here to stay.


In recent years shopping centres have become much more than just a one-stop destination, they are now beacons of retail, leisure and entertainment that focus on the experience above all else. Now consumers expect more, we no longer come to shopping centres just to shop, we come to eat, drink, socialise, work, take part in sporting activities or even check out the latest film at the cinema.

Placemaking is an art that captures a host of elements to ultimately re-imagine and transform a shopping centre into an attractive destination. All shoppers in this modern day and age, crave real life experiences and they want to visit places that reflect their current needs, where they can relax and spend quality time. Consumers desire a more interactional, personalised experience that engrosses all their senses. Placemaking is all about knowing how to invent compelling reasons for consumers to visit and how to create that perfect sense of community.

Curating the right retail and leisure mix is what sets the shopping centre apart from choosing to purchase online or visiting the high street instead. In a post-pandemic world, retail has certainly faced its challenges, therefore it is now more important than ever to build engaging public spaces, create ambience to drive footfall and make consumers feel at home.

To do this, strategies need to be integrated across all areas from development to management. Not only that, but placemaking also helps build the future and success of a business, promoting the brand, allowing them to be more inventive and more inclusive.

What can we do to drive consumers to the shopping centre?
  • Putting on regular events

  • Diverse variety of food and beverage options

  • Adding integrated technology to encourage engagement with the local community

  • Sustainability initiatives

  • Interesting and unique interiors, “Instagramable” Installations

In the last 12 months, we have seen that a company’s ESG focus is an ever-increasing factor in how consumers feel about a brand, it’s now more important than it has ever been.

Here at Colliers, despite what some headlines would have you think we believe that retail is not dead. Placemaking is not something to plan in for the future, the time is now, it is our current objective. During the past five years there has been a change in many centres and big stores have closed leaving significant voids to fill. Retail continues to evolve and always will; recent significant milestones have ranged from the birth of hypermarkets to the death of the big department stores that once dominated our high streets. When advising landlords we focus on research, analysing customer feedback, providing help and advice, monitoring the changes in consumer behaviour, seeking opportunities, and working with the community.

What initiatives have been undertaken recently to enhance a shopping centre?

Tree of Hope
In January 2020 a large tree in Connaught Village was decorated with illuminated neon lights. The tree introduced colour at an otherwise cold and grey time of the year, the activation undoubtedly cheered up the village and was very positively commented on by occupiers.

The messaging on the tree was changed to “Love is Love” for the Valentine’s season and was a powerful inclusive message recognising that love has no discriminatory boundaries. The impact of the tree was that it became an “Instagramable” feature and photography of the instillation was shared across social media. This as a result created excellent level of PR providing a return on investment from a low capital investment, and ultimately drove footfall during a quiet period. 

Chatty Benches
Chatty benches are a fantastic addition to any public space, as it is known to be a useful tool to combat loneliness. After years of little face to face contact due to the impact of COVID, the benches we’ve installed in Edinburgh and Coventry give customers a chance to start a conversation with someone and bring people together again. Often decorated in bright colours and attractive patterns, it’s only natural that it draws attention to itself, and customers!

View our Investment Property Management services

About the author

David Pardoe is the Place Activation Manager at Colliers and sits within the Property Management team. He is responsible for a range of asset management initiatives, including community engagement, commercialisation opportunities and creation and delivery of ESG strategies across Colliers’ managed retail portfolio. 


Related Experts

David Pardoe

Place Activation Manager

Investment Property Management

Birmingham

David is the Place Activation Manager at Colliers and sits within the Property Management team. He is responsible for a range of asset management initiatives, including community engagement, commercialisation opportunities and creation and delivery of ESG strategies across Colliers’ managed retail portfolio. 
 

 Previously head of retail, tenant engagement and marketing at Mailbox Birmingham for 14 years he introduce new initiatives such as place making, charity partnerships, footfall analytics and an events calendar at the centre.

View expert