The next generation

The integral role of commercialisation in a post pandemic world

As retail destinations continue to deal with the aftershocks of the pandemic, commercialisation and marketing consultancy Shoppertainment believe that now more than ever income generation for a scheme has become a top priority for all retail destination landlords, and that pop-up retail is likely to play a key role in achieving this.

“As a business we are now seeing an influx of entrepreneurs setting up new businesses and utilising the flexibility and support we offer for start-ups,” tells Gemma Ward, business and marketing manager at Shoppertainment. Commercialisation agents, she says, provide an effective way for new retail businesses to gain entry level exposure to the industry whilst generating increased income for destinations.

With over 25 years’ experience in managing commercialisation strategies for Shopping Centres, Ward says that Shoppertainment has seen the market evolve, but never as drastically as it has since the beginning of the pandemic.

“We have worked closely with our centres in the past 18 months to bring in additional essential retail to their commercialisation space. Not only has this generated income, but it has created a further pull factor to drive customers to visit. By doing so, we have had continuity in income as well as sustained footfall for the centres,” she tells.

She says the agency has continued to work in collaboration with the centre teams and traders to ensure that all the ongoing changes to health and safety requirements are being followed. They also implemented quick-moving and evolving strategies during these down periods, such as St Johns Liverpool’s Go Green Initiative, which raised awareness of the importance of cleaner air around the city, and subsequently won the Shopping Centre a SCEPTRE award last year. 

This initiative was carried out in partnership between Radio City, SP Energy Networks and St John’s Shopping Centre Liverpool, and saw the 425ft high St Johns Beacon 425ft high bathed in green light for the event, a visual spectacle that Ward says could be seen for miles around and became a talking point for Liverpudlians and visitors alike.

“The aim was to raise awareness around adopting cleaner, greener ways of living; in this case driving electric cars and the latest in fuel technology,” Ward explains.

With the after-effects of the pandemic in mind, she says it is important that commercialisation agencies treat each centre in a bespoke manner as there is no ‘one size fits’ approach all when it comes to commercialisation.

“Many factors including demographics and existing retailers need to be taking into consideration,” Ward adds. “A commercialisation plan needs to be strategic and well thought out and should add to the centre’s offering to help drive additional footfall. We yield great results for our clients, doubling previous income and creating an enhanced retail environment.

“Centre marketing and commercialisations will continue to evolve and being ahead of the game is key. Fusing these elements to drive footfall, increase dwell time and in turn increase retailer sales will make for a positive retail experience for all.”

This was first published in Retail Destination Fortnightly. Click here to subscribe.

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