Professional Shopping Mall Management – Critical to Success

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On a global scale, India’s shopping malls are of a comparable size and growing rapidly. However one of the biggest issues is there is no consistency of management, marketing or leasing except in a few of the larger properties or those that own a number of centres.
There is a clear opportunity to improve on this situation with the implementation of professional shopping mall management by agencies, developers and independent management companies.

However what constitutes a professional shopping mall management?
For a start, there is a need to develop performance based Management. This is retaining tenants and enhancing asset values which are the fundamental goals of management professionals

It is having a reputation for hands-on, on-site management teams that have built a reputation for their:

  • Excellent tenant relations
  • Knowledge of the market
  • Exacting attention to detail
  • Timely reporting / business planning
  • Ability to control operating costs
  • Comprehensive training and development

If you look at the successful centres, much of the growth in their malls can be attributed to the excellent performance and service given by their management, leasing, marketing, maintenance, security, and finance and accounting professionals. This follows their philosophy of developing long term relationships with their tenants.

Their Comprehensive Management Program consists amongst other things of:

  • Tenant relations
  • Lease administration
  • Contract administration
  • Energy consumption reporting
  • Energy Management
  • Negotiation and implementation of contract services
  • Implementation of Percentage Rent
  • Employment and supervision of on-site personnel
  • Annual budget preparation
  • Enforcement of policies and procedures
  • Management and financial reporting
  • Collection of sales figures and analysis of those figures

You must make the shopping experience exceed customer expectations, with the objective of developing a brand image for the shopping centre portfolio. This strategy is employed to attract customers and ensure that they maximize their time spent in the shopping mall and also to give customers a reason to make repeat and frequent visits to the shopping mall.

Aspects of exceeding customer expectations include:

  • Exciting marketing and promotions to attract crowds and create excitement for shoppers
  • Being dynamic and responsive to keep pace with changing needs and trends
  • Designing a tenancy mix in tune with consumer trends and customer wants with a view to maximizing traffic, time spent and spending by shoppers from the targeted catchment region
  • Excellent facilities and services for customers
  • Great lighting and air conditioning
  • Security in shopping mall and vicinity
  • Conducive environment for social interaction, e.g. exciting lobby, entertainment

The Mall Management in each shopping mall must also operate with the perspective of the retailer and the need of their shoppers.
The Management must have an excellent retailer network, ie: developing strong ties with retailers by establishing mutual trust to maximize occupancy, rentals and performance of retailers. The shopping mall management will partner retailers and have them grow with it. This will include developing innovative mechanisms to help retailers succeed, e.g. education, consultancy, study tours, category meetings, awards, etc.

The Management are constantly looking for ways to increase and/or optimize the available retail floor space through the retail mix and floor plan/design, thus increasing the source of rental income.

Management must continually identify, standardize, automate and continually measure its results. It is adopting and implementing one of the world’s leading shopping mall Computer Management Systems, which will bring consistency and focus to each and every property. This is a people centric business where technology complements their business but the right people are the key to success of professional shopping mall management. A key to measuring and controlling your financial performance is to implement one of these Computer Property Management Systems, which will bring consistency and focus to each and every property. These systems are designed for shopping centre and used by the leading worldwide Shopping Centre Management companies.

The reason for this is simple as all elements of the financial performance of your centre are updated daily in a series of reports and spreadsheets that tracks the health of your centre. They have standard formats used by centres worldwide that can then be customised for your needs but also enables you to accurately benchmark your properties against each other but also against others worldwide.

It is also adopting and implementing Customer Traffic Counting Systems. Another critical form of measurement of the success of your shopping centre is the number of customers through each and every entry in your centre and overall. These traffic numbers are invaluable not only for leasing where for example you can change a higher rental for being next to the No 1 traffic door but also for Marketing to not only measure the success of their promotions but also can be used to schedule their promotions also.

Through Market Research, consumer attitudes and the needs and preferences of retailers are continuously sampled, evaluated and applied in the operation of the centre. This process results in a merchandising environment that is unique and productive.

Management need to initiate and create communications to increase foot traffic into each mall. Mall Managers must attend workshops together with retailers to plan and create further initiatives in management and marketing.

In order for your shopping mall to be successful now and in the long run, you must employ shopping centre professionals. This is unique to all other property types and requires that specialised expertise. But with the right people it the sky is the limit.

About the author
Chris Mears is Director at Retail Analysys, a specialist Shopping Mall Consultancy. He has worked in the shopping mall industry for over 23 years in Australia, Asia and India. He can be contacted by email: [email protected] or visit his website for further information.

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