Managing a shopping center is a difficult task. The facilities are large and there are a lot of considerations to worry about, including staffing, cleaning and security, as well as the leases for the shops themselves.
If you have prior experience being a landlord, you may feel fairly confident in your ability to handle tenants. What a lot of people forget is that shopping centers are dealing with businesses, and business tenancies are governed by different laws than residential tenancies. You will need to understand that law before you go into business.
Another thing to remember is that a shopping center needs customers, and customers will only visit if there are shops that appeal to them. You will struggle at the beginning, if you have a shopping center piece full of vacant stores – you really need a high level of occupancy early on in the process, so that you can build up the foot traffic and attract new tenants. This requires good planning, marketing and co-ordination.
A lot of centres offer extra activities – such as shows, performances, personal “shopping assistants”, midnight launches and student only nights in order to attract more people. This may be a good way for you to build your business.
If you are thinking of promoting your shopping center with events like these, try to get as many retailers on board as possible so that you can offer a good experience for your shoppers.
If you run a centre which has pubs or restaurants in it, give some thought to the hours these merchants want to open or close. You will want to make sure that your visitors can relax and enjoy a bite to eat after shopping, but there may be restrictions on the hours that these businesses can operate, so you need to keep that n mind.
Another thing to remember is local competition. What will bring shoppers to your specific shopping center over the others in the area? Do you have more shops? More parking spaces? Free parking? Do you have any specialized shops, such as boutique stores? Do you have a retail park nearby with a supermarket, making it a convenient way to pick up groceries and go shopping at the same time? These are things that could set you apart from the competition and make your property a more appealing place for people to spend their time. Whatever your selling point, make sure you know it and articulate it well to the rest of the world.
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