Shopping Centre Innovations: Differentiating from the rest

Shopping Centre Innovations: Differentiating from the rest

Following retail trends for Property companies, Retail Brands and Shopping Centres may seem like a never-ending deluge of new, supposedly innovative concepts. Competition between Shopping Centres for increase in footfall, custom and notoriety for the ‘in-brands’ is huge, and, now the UK is bouncing back from the recession, store fronts are re-filling and investments are being made to re-vamp the spaces.

Working with 100 Squared on their first UK site in Westfield London has lead us to explore how Shopping Centres are investing; from branding, technology, pop-up stores and new retail and food concepts.

It seems there is a divide in methods by the Shopping Centres to differentiate themselves – the first; to create an experiential environment for the consumer – and the second; to entice the multimedia savvy generations, through new technology, apps, and social media. Having said this, each method is not exclusive, a hype may be created on social media highlighting the experiential concept – and vice versa.

This week we are looking at what we are calling the ‘experiential environment’ –

A favourite of ours is Trinity Leeds, the only major Shopping Centre to open in the UK in 2013. They combine shopping with entertainment and events – pop-up concepts give the centre an ever-evolving identity at a small scale, however looking at the bigger picture they set themselves up to be a destination. It gives the consumer, customer and visitor the experience of ‘discovering’ something new, fashionable, on-trend and exclusive. Conceivably this could be done in any Shopping Centre, however Trinity Leeds has a major advantage over competitors – they began with a carte blanche – the centre was built as a multi-functioning entertainment area, not just a Shopping Centre.

In our mind however, none of the above is the crowning factor – it is Trinity Kitchen that differentiates the Centre from all others – it is foodie delight; they have given small, unchained restaurateurs the chance to put their wares out there. By allowing them to populate a space within the cavernous ‘Trinity Kitchen’ area, uniform branding goes out the window – and with that consumers become immersed in the atmosphere. The Shopping Centre is no longer a series of storefronts and eateries, but a hive of activity that the consumer can personally become involved in.

trinity kitchen
trinity kitchen leeds

Westfield Shopping Centres are also in the thick of it – with events scheduled for every day of the month – ranging from ‘Westfield presents’ (a series of live music events from both emerging and established artists) to Film nights, art classes, kids events and all manner of other interesting genres. Westfield London capitalize on every inch of their rather large floor space with floor concession stands – which, under design and concept guidelines cannot be considered anything other than their own stores, albeit on the centre ‘floor’, they are smart, considered and appealing for the consumer.

Working with 100 Squared on their Emerging Designer Market in Westfield London, brings about considered thought of Shopping Centre marketing. Conceptually, 100 Squared is one-of-a-kind in the UK. It provides a platform for emerging designer talent to get their items introduced into a high footfall area, on the first floor – sitting where you would normally find a concession ‘store’ -they cannot be called stands – too generic a term. Unlike such ‘stores’ 100 Squared provides a market for six-brands – with sight lines through the unit, visitors to the centre have an immediate introduction to the retail area, rather than having to entice the customer through the door. This type of interactive retail is a smart move – it is simple, non-gimmicky and appealing for both the retail brand and its consumer.

*photos of 100squareduk to follow!
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