Some call them to strip malls, but there’s something so much more inviting about an open-air shopping center. It brings to mind fresh air, beautiful landscaping, and soothing elevator music that is somehow playing everywhere you go. Where are the speakers hidden? No one knows! But one thing is for certain: the days of a dark, smelly mall are long over, and we couldn’t be more excited about it. Long live the open-air shopping center!
Traditional shopping centers have actually been around for far longer than dingy shopping malls, and we’re not sure why they ever went out of style in the first place. They generally provide smaller, more intimate experiences than their indoor counterparts, appealing to stores that are more niche and seeking better visibility. But not all open-air shopping centers are created equal. You’ve probably seen a few in your area that seems to be where businesses go to die. What makes some open-air shopping centers more successful than others?
What Makes An Open Air Shopping Center Successful?
- The convenience. Indoor shopping malls not only lack aesthetic appeal. They’re also terribly inconvenient. Even if you’re familiar with the layout, it may take upwards of twenty minutes to find a parking spot, get into the building, and walk to the store you’re looking for. The most successful open-air markets will provide a luxurious outdoor experience with all the convenience of being able to drive right up to the store you’re looking for. Visitors can either take it slow and stroll along the sidewalk to see all of the shops or get exactly where they need to go.
- The experience. Highly successful open-air shopping centers generally have one thing in common: they are choosy about their lessees. The exact type of stores and service-oriented businesses that should be in your shopping center will vary based on the local demographic. But they should all be targeted at the same ideal customer, or rather, that customer’s family. A luxury outdoor store for dad, a home goods shop for mom, bookstores with coffee shops for couples to meet, and enough activities to keep teens occupied. Many outdoor malls even incorporate parks at the hub to encourage families to spend more time shopping, eating, and playing.
- The service. Many merchants with significant online sales like Target have introduced a curbside pickup service. The result is that most consumers have come to expect that level of service from everyday vendors. Encourage tenants to offer curbside delivery by creating designated parking spots for those customers just outside their door.
- The variety. Consumers are increasing experiential spending, putting more of their hard-earned dollars toward creative fitness classes, entertainment, and eating out. Provide a wide variety of service-based businesses in your open-air shopping center. Your retail shops are sure to see the difference.
How Do You Attract Store Owners To Lease Open-Air Shopping Center Space?
Just like consumers, potential lessees are going to expect a certain level of luxury and service. Metal buildings create the ideal shell for high-end retail space. With aesthetic upgrades, retail square footage is ready for move-in without the need for costly changes. And for larger retailers with deeper pockets, the steel framework is by far the easiest building material to customize. Within the limits of your lease, shop owners can mold their retail space to their exact specifications, changing facades, installing custom windows and doors, and adding beautiful covered entrances. The best way to attract high-end clientele who are ready to spend money is to fill your open-air shopping center with high-end retailers. And the best way to attract high-end retailers is to create a luxury leasing experience in a flexible retail space.
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