Sunday, June 17, 2012

Shopping Center Managers - Trouble in the Tenant Mix

shopping center tenant mix tips and tools
Tenant mix tactics need planning.

Tenants will talk to each other as part of daily business in a shopping centre.  Now this is all just fine until the dialogue becomes detracting to the shopping centre and its function.  Uncontrolled tenants can be a real problem in retail property performance.

Here are some tips from our bulletin for Commercial and Retail Property Agents.

It’s a fact that you will always have good and bad tenants in a retail property; the point is that you need to control them.  Most retail tenants are small business owners and on that basis they put a lot of effort and emotion into their livelihood.  A good Retail Property Manager understands that fact and will do many things to help the relationship grow.

Shopping Center Managers and Leasing Managers should stay very close to all the tenants in the retail property so they can stop any unnecessary gossip and diversions.

They say that ‘one bad egg ruins the batch’, and in the case of a retail property with it tenancy mix that is certainly the case.

Here are some ideas to help you work with tenants in retail properties and shopping centers:

  • A newsletter is of high value to the function and feedback within the property.  Depending on the size of the property, a newsletter can be monthly or weekly.  It is easily created and should contain information that connects the tenants to the property and their shoppers.
  • A marketing strategy for the property is part of helping sales growth and gaining customer interest.  Get the tenants involved in your marketing.  Let the landlord have an involvement in the marketing program as well.  Design the marketing around the property and the community.  Be sensitive to the needs of the shopper and the tenants as part of the process.
  • Maintenance activities and responses in the property should always happen in a timely way.  Landlords and Retail Managers that do not get to a maintenance problem quickly and effectively, soon create a poor property image in the eyes of the tenants.  Over time a neglected property with poor maintenance response will usually see an escalation in vacancy rates.
  • Lease terms and conditions should be enforced in a timely way so that current negotiations and issues are business like and accurate.  When a property manager is overworked or under skilled, it is easy for lease related errors to occur.  The manager will soon lose the confidence of the tenants and the landlord if professionalism is lacking.
  • Customers to the property should be understood in so many ways including shopping patterns, time in shopping, product and service needs, spending patterns, and demographics.  The only way you will really get to know your customers is to survey them regularly (at least 6 monthly).
  • Regular meetings with your tenants will allow you to give them feedback on current property and tenancy issues.  In a shopping center you should be meeting will all your tenants at least monthly.  In the case of anchor tenants and larger tenants the meeting process will be weekly.

When you really get to know your tenants you can match their needs and business activities into the shopping centre.  Over time this will give you a better tenant mix.