The BBC broke the story of “shopping centres in crisis” on the 1st November – maybe publishing a day before, on Halloween, would have been more apt.
Experts say, “the demise of “major anchor stores” such as BHS and Toys R Us and the rise of online shopping has caused a downward spiral.” So what should shopping centres do to maintain and increase footfall?
Look towards ‘experiences’
We do more than shop in shopping centres now.
Well ran centres and malls globally are already embracing a diverse mix of retail and entertainment to keep people happy and spending money. Alongside Topshop, there’s a Pizza Express, Starbucks and a crazy golf course. Shopping malls are now family entertainment centres.
Who’s going the extra mile already…
SEA LIFE MANCHESTER
The Trafford Shopping Centre is home to an aquarium with 5,000 creatures to see. A partnership between SEA LIFE and the centre which will see them both reap the rewards.
A street food market that is regularly changing vendors. The shopping centre is thatcommitted to the cause, they use a crane to get vendor trucks in and out of the building.
Not technically a shopping centre, but what was once a neglected space in London has been transformed into a cool, urban, hipster paradise for drinks and socialising.
INTU MILTON KEYNES
One of many malls that have embraced the sport of table tennis. Empty units are re-purposed to provide a free activity that increases dwell time.
JOHN LEWIS’ THE RESIDENCE
You can now stay over the night at John Lewis’ new store concept. Their current ‘exhibition’ Poolside, also allows customers to browse products and pretend they’re on holiday.
There’s nothing like embracing a local, internationally-renowned festival. Since it’s inception Intu Derby has welcomed Derby Feste and it’s shows into their shopping centre.
Yes, you read the title correctly. Debenhams, despite struggles in recent years, has turned to gyms to boost their performance and profit. The gyms will be called, ‘Sweat!’
CHESTER MARKET (AND ENTREPRENEURS)
An old-fashioned and decrepit market has looked to local entrepreneurs to kick-start their fortunes. Quirky, small restaurants and craft ale bars are now lifting the depressing building.
VR & AR EXPERIENCES
Virtual and augmented reality has really taken off. Gaming centres can be found around the world in malls, offering single and multiplayer experiences that can’t be duplicated at home.
JERVIS SHOPPING CENTRE
Described by some as a ‘student shopping lock-in’, many UK centres participate in student-only nights during Freshers Week. Live DJ sets accompany the events at Jervis, Dublin.
Some products are too difficult to buy online. For the running enthusiast, several retailers offer gait analysis – tech that monitors your run and recommends the best trainers for you.
Their London store became another stage as part of the Camden Rocks music festival back in 2017. A retailer taking the issue of footfall into their own hands – or feet.
Wanting to bridge the gap between skateboarders and fashion, Selfridges decided to ditch the traditional ‘store’ concept, and instead, install an indoor skate bowl.
Robbie is Digital Marketing Lead at Katapult – A Creative England Top 50 company, that create physical and digital guest experiences that amaze and engage your visitors.