What’s right for Townsville might not suit Perth
Shopping centres vary by size, location and patronage, so there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to drawing in customers.
Feros says what’s right for Townsville will be different from, say, the Perth CBD. But underlying the differences are some common themes.
“The aim is to not only provide what the customer wants or expects, but to give them something more,” he says.
“That’s usually by providing a new experience. It could be in the mix of shops, or a new design feature allowing the use of technology, or perhaps open space.”
Food is a big part of the transition from shopping centres to consumer hubs. Feros says all landlords are now adopting casual dining as a way to get greater diversity of visitors. Restaurants such as Grill’d and Guzman y Gomez are becoming staples, in addition to boutique cafes.
Another feature still drawing crowds is cinemas and entertainment experiences. In fact, cinemas have defied years of predictions that they would soon be a thing of the past.
“There has actually been a resurgence in cinema patronage,” says Feros. “People want to go to the movies and cinema providers are providing compelling reasons to be there.”
And then there are playgrounds. It’s started to feel like there are no limits when it comes to the activities for the young and young at heart that shopping centres can provide. Outside Australia, some operators have included ski slopes, indoor water centres, bowling and go karts in their centres.
To find out what their customers want, shopping centre owners are going online. Facebook provides the best real-time feedback, but consultation with local councils, schools and other community bodies is also valuable.