The world of retail is a fickle one. The way in which both shops advertise and try to draw customers in, and the way in which our shopping habits change so quickly, can make it difficult for both retailers and shopping centres to maintain a healthy number of visitors. We wanted to take a look at how you can best entice people in and provide a positive experience for both your stores and those customers.

Tidy Shop Fronts

Firstly, one of the most important things to consider is a tidy shop front. Countless areas around the UK suffer from run-down or unsightly frontages and this is immediately off-putting to potential new visitors. So how should you tackle this issue? You may be thinking that fixing up exteriors can be pricey, and that may be the case depending on how much needs fixing, but the benefits of putting some time and money into this can be huge. Even just regular cleaning and maintenance of the place can show that there is a level of care and pride for the area. Of course, you could also completely renovate the area especially if you’re situated in a city centre or somewhere that you’ll be seen by first-time visitors. Make a great first impression with those newcomers and they may become return visitors or they may even encourage others to visit. If retailers take up a portion of the public-facing part of your centre, then work with them to spruce up the place as it only serves to benefit everyone. Perhaps if they don’t have the time or money to work on that side of things, you could offer your assistance too.

Work With Local Businesses

Similarly to working with retailers in your shopping centre, you should consider branching out and offering to work with local independent businesses in the area. It’s becoming increasingly common for large shopping malls and superstores to be on the receiving end of public ire. A lot of this irritation comes from local business owners, however, who may be perpetuating that hatred amongst their customers. Offering a positive and constructive relationship between your businesses can boost footfall in both locations and prevent customer avoidance. Remember, it’s better to have allies than enemies.

Customer Experience And Accessibility

Looking after you customers should be one of the prime considerations here. Ensuring your visitors feel comfortable, with plenty of food and drink options, and seating areas is pivotal to a good customer experience. Not only that, but the place must also be of a good standard of cleanliness, and security should be strict yet amicable. Accessibility for disabled customers is also very important, and you must make sure that there are plenty of methods for customers who have mobility issues to get around. Lifts and ramps are essential for access to all parts of your centre. Keep up with current environmental trends too, especially with the ever-increasing number of electric cars and hybrids. There are now well over 500,000 battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in the UK alone. Consider offering your customers parking spaces complete with destination charging to encourage those visitors to return.

Expand Into The Street

The advent of the pandemic brought about a lot of innovation and adaptation in the way shops and restaurants operate. Finding ways to bring people together safely whilst still benefiting from great shopping and eating experiences was pivotal to businesses remaining successful. If you have high-street facing stores and restaurants or some with good access to outdoor areas, allow them to expand into those areas for both advertising and seating purposes where required. Especially in the summertime, this will draw in more crowds as it increases the visibility of those stores, and provides passersby with a more welcoming atmosphere. You may even offer your more central stores and restaurants to have an outdoor area located away further away, to give a more equal opportunity to those that are not situated near to outdoor space.

Develop Your Digital And Physical Marketing

Spreading the word of new offers, new developments, and generally engaging more with your customers and the locals is a great way to boost your numbers. Most places offer a good level of social media content, but the world of social media marketing has become incredibly competitive. Marketing is incredibly important, now more than ever and the speed at which content flows through news feeds is increasing, with algorithms changing constantly. Invest in a dedicated, professional social media manager or team to boost your engagement and to keep on top of trends and changes to these platforms so that your brand doesn’t get left behind. As well as digital, don’t forget about physical marketing. The world may be changing, but there’s still a lot to be said for billboard and signage for advertising purposes. Consider using digital billboards with eye-catching designs and informative displays to direct visitors towards your shopping centre.

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