The Retail Road to Recovery!

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The Retail Road to Recovery!
The Retail Road to Recovery!

All sectors of the shopping centre community all over Australia are looking for new ways to attract customers back into their centres and make more profit, and yet the three biggest problems shopping centre communities have are:


1. they don’t work together; 

2. they lay blame on everyone but themselves ..and 

3. they also massively underestimate the real value of community buy in.


It’s the landlord’s problem…or the tenant’s problem, the bank’s fault, the government taxes, the location. Customers are shopping online, the toilets are dirty or too far away, can’t get good staff.. the cyclone, the GFC. 


Should I go on?

One of the things in the industry is that as times have got tighter landlords have focused more on the business and less on the customer experience. 


Licensed Shopping Centre Manager, Desley Cowley has developed strategies that, when followed, consistently lead to profitable tenants and increased occupancy; increased customer numbers into the centre; and increased community access.


Her RETAIL Road to Recovery follows a proven 6 step methodology that will inspire the shopping centre community to engage and help each other and tap into the extra energy and effectiveness that materializes when they combine their efforts.


• Customers feel valued 

• Retail sales increase

• Quality tenants are chasing the landlord for space 


The solution is to create an environment where the magic of synergy truly comes into play and all parties actually like each other and want to work together.


The ultimate result is a positive turnaround in the shopping centre's performance.


‘I’m sick of hearing these big businesses complaining about the negatives, but not really doing anything about it. They can compete against online shopping and they can turn their businesses around but they need the right plan. I’ve got a proven methodology to take them forward.’ 


‘It’s my vision to be the catalyst for change in the way we do shopping centre community at a time.’ 


The Retail Road to Recovery Program will provide landlords and developers with the blueprint to turn the tables on online traders and bring customers back.


The program is designed to:

1. grow and attract more high performing retailers

2. leverage the centre’s unique identity and 

3. create a community hub.


Using the acronym RETAIL the six steps move the retail community through the three phases of theory, reflection and practice, initially through a series of ‘discovery’ group workshops and one on one meetings with the property owner/developer, centre management, retailers, suppliers, customers, local community and sporting groups.


Community buy in is the real and genuine secret sauce in the formula.  The time taken to build community ownership in the early months, even years will ultimately pay real dividends.  


We all know about a local shopping centre that seemingly has nothing going for it but everyone is going to it…because of that sense of ownership.  Those well established 30 year + shopping centres that have the highest performing supermarkets in the region


Reflect – Identify unique identity


Desley spends the time during this phase to really let all stakeholders share how they really feel about where they are at now, where they had hoped to be, where they want to be and why they haven’t got there, financially, personally and professionally.


Evaluate – current performance and make recommendations


Data is collected and collated to evaluate current performance and identify the gaps in knowledge, skills, customer offer and most importantly attitude.


A draft course of action to take them from where they are now to where they want to be is prepared, amended if required, approved and agreed upon by all parties.


Transition – 


Detailed action plans are created to provide a step by step blueprint to engage all parties.


There may be some people in the mix that just don’t get the concept and who either don’t want to be or can’t be a part of the process.


In the ideal world Desley will work with them during this phase to help them move on to where they belong…or where they want to be.

Landlords do themselves, or their property valuations no favours by ‘going legal’ on an unsuitable or underperforming retailer.  


By working together to deliver the best possible outcome for all parties, goodwill becomes contagious.


Apply – Practice test new model/establish relationships.  Baby steps to keep everyone on board and engaged in the process.


It’s really important that everyone is speaking positively about the shopping centre community.  


Retailers learn to understand they are often their own worst enemies and actually contribute to the lack of appeal of the shopping centre community by complaining so bitterly about everything.


By realistically working with the landlord, acknowledging his/her/it’s need to also make a profit the synergy that results from working together will slowly weave it’s magic.  


Inspire – Marketing Campaign, Community Hub, Build Relationships Not every activity or centre event has to be perfectly structured and professionally executed to be successful.


The whole idea of being part of a community is to welcome all levels of community into the space, encourage, motivate and inspire them to step up and do more and then wait for the bright lights to shine.


For every ten community events that are supported, perhaps only two or three will meet the desired standard and level of success….but you won’t find them if you don’t open your hearts and the space to allcomers.


It’s exciting and fun to contribute to community and personal development.


Leverage – centres unique identity lease more shops, higher rents, less incentives


Every shopping centre in the land seems to have the same, or similar national retailers and/or franchisees.  Even in these environments it’s possible to dig deep and find a unique identity for a shopping centre community.


The true value is often found though in the, sometimes more challenging independent small business owners.


These people ARE more challenging BECAUSE they are entrepreneurs and if you acknowledge and respect their quirkiness in the community you can truly leverage off this.


The results for the landlord ultimately lead to increased capital value. The notion that helping others will help yourself is not just airy fairy nonsense.


When everyone in a shopping centre community truly grasps the concept of goodwill the transformation can be described as miraculous.


You can connect with Desley on Linked In and check out some of her blogs.

Author Info Desley Cowley

Desley is a licensed shopping centre manager, speaker, trainer and facilitator who specialises in building sustainable shopping centre communities. She works with owners and developers to turn underperforming retail assets into vital and profitable community hubs.

Desley’s been managing shopping centres for more than 26 years for private and institutional investor owners and has been directly responsible for the profitability of over $300m in retail assets and has contributed to the success of more than 400 retailers across 4 states.

As an example, when she implemented these principles at one underperforming shopping centre she turned the results around by between 5 & 7% in a market where the industry average was 2.5 to 3%. In percentage terms this doesn’t seem much but in a centre with an annual turnover of $45-$55m, this turnaround equated to more than $3m in additional sales for retailers.

Desley is known for turning underperforming retail assets into vital and profitable community hubs that get better results through commitment to community and better use of shared retail spaces.

You can connect with Desley on Linked In and check out some of her blogs. 

Grow your Community and Your Retailer Sales

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