Your Site in a Shopping Centre – Location, Location!

Have you ever wondered just how all the retailers who have a shop at your local shopping centre, sorted out who’d go where? If you imagined that they didn’t really care – think again.

The adage in real estate; location, location is just as relevant in the shopping centre placement game.

Firstly some useful terms to clarify the language used:

Anchor tenant – A major retailer such as a supermarket or discount department store who ‘anchors’ all or part of the centre. Usually found at either end. Satellite – A retail area physically separated from the main building, but sharing the car park etc. Handy for ‘utility’ type tenants such as car servicing. Traffic – The general term used for shopper ‘flow’ as identified by devices such as clickers.

If you examine a selection of your local shopping centers, you will find a pattern emerging. There will be at least one anchor tenant. A large retailer, such as a supermarket, which will be placed usually at either end. This anchor has the job of attracting the bulk of traffic to the centre, and is essential for success. There will usually be a satellite set up on an edge of the car park to house operations unsuited to any other placement. Businesses such as auto mechanics or building supply warehouses. Normally these days, banks will be situated inside for security reasons, but may well have an ATM ‘standing guard’ on an external wall.

But what about the positioning of the retail shops? Do you see deep discounters, (dollar stores etc) sitting right outside the anchor tenant’s entrance. No chance! The anchor would simply not tolerate this. Do you see 2 or 3 jewelers stores placed side by side? Again, very unlikely. Conversely you may see almost all the food outlets clustered together in what’s called a ‘food court’. This has various benefits such as common use of seating, crockery etc.

So what is the best place to seek for your business? First you have to analyze your customers. Do they only come in business hours? Can they carry what they buy? The list is extensive, but in short you need to be familiar with your customer’s habits. Next you need to study the shopping centre plans. Look at where the anchor is. Look at the main entrances and exits. Look at corners and other places where people are likely to pause – outside a movie theatre for example. A couple of hours spent simply watching is also invaluable for this.

Now match up your customers with the characteristics of all the locations available. It’s no good running a video store inside the centre as your customers will want access to you after-hours. Nor do you want to be stuck by the infant changing room trying to sell power tools!

Copyright 2006