How to Set Your Shopping Plaza Apart: 7 Strategies

How to Set Your Shopping Plaza Apart: 7 Strategies

The traditional mall is quickly becoming a thing of the past. As more consumers shop online, brick-and-mortar plazas close their doors. In fact, one in four will shut down completely over the next three to five years. It seems the pandemic hastened a demise that was already well underway. 

Of course, in-store shopping is unlikely to disappear. Instead, it will evolve and become a hybrid online-traditional experience. Shopping plazas that wish to survive and succeed well into the future must devise a plan to stay in the game. Set your plaza apart with these seven effective strategies. 

1. Design an Eye-Catching Exterior

First and foremost, design an eye-catching exterior. Whenever and however people pass by your building, it should grab their attention. Sometimes, that’s all they’ll see of your brand, so it’s important that you make the design memorable. Consider neighboring buildings and factor in size, shape, orientation and even color when designing a stunning exterior. Sometimes, simple elements like a large clock or bell tower will do the trick.

2. Provide Leisure and Entertainment 

Today’s consumer wants more from malls than shopping opportunities. They want destinations, places they can take their loved ones for a staycation and have plenty of fun.  That’s why many successful shopping plazas have incorporated leisure and entertainment into their design scheme. Water parks, rock walls, massage parlors, nail and hair salons and even indoor theme parks are now the lifeblood of many modern malls.

3. Create Space for Connection

Common spaces are big draws for consumers, too. As malls transform, designers and employers must prioritize places for connection and grandeur. Water features, playgrounds and even indoor rain forests create opportunities for people to come and play, relax and reconnect with one another. Many owners also favor a lighter, neutral color palette and more natural light in these common areas to prompt a pause and stimulate conversation.

4. Include Centralized Food Courts 

Food courts are another great place for people to pause and connect. However, they must offer great dining options to entice more customers. Forty percent of people choose which plaza to visit based on its food alone, and nearly half want restaurants that provide healthy options while they shop. The best way to entice and please these hungry shoppers is to partner with popular eateries and design a centralized food court so that everyone has access. 

5. Add Live-Work Elements 

Post-covid consumers want an all-inclusive shopping experience that’s just as convenient as it is fun. That’s why many developers are adding live-work elements to their shopping plazas. From coffee shops and libraries to offices, apartments and schools, malls are becoming hubs for both living and working. As coworking spaces become even more popular in the post-pandemic era, owners and employers must incorporate these elements into their design and layout to create a full environment and stay in business. 

6. Offer Customer-Friendly Services

Three years ago, less than one-third of U.S. retailers had implemented a digital transformation strategy. When the pandemic hit, many brands that had long avoided e-commerce scrambled to get online. By the end of summer 2020, 44% of retailers were offering curbside pickup. Now, many plazas are offering options like “buy online, pick-up in-store” to engage shoppers who prefer a hybrid experience. Others offer customer-friendly services by partnering with Instacart or providing mobile ordering. 

7. Focus on Customer Service

Even the most eye-catching and entertaining shopping plazas will fail if they lack good customer service. That’s why you must prioritize proper staffing, training and employee oversight. Customers’ expectations have changed, and they require nothing but the best in terms of employee attentiveness and personality. Make sure you staff the floor to meet their needs accordingly. 

Tracking Your Success

The more customers visit your plaza, the more sales you stand to make, and the likelier you are to survive shopping mall shutdowns. Remember to track your success by measuring foot traffic, before and after you implement these strategies. Use traffic tracking software to gather intel and compare it to competitors. Then, you can determine which approach is most effective and where you could stand to invest more revenue. 

Filed under: Uncategorized

Leave a comment