jueves, 27 de junio de 2013



The recent opening of yet another commercial center in my neighborhood in Madrid (we have already 5 centers in an area of 20 miles), has put myself with some big doubts about, 'how' somebody can still invest his money into above.  
Mainly, all centers are the same and offer the same brands and stores.  The latest new one, probably is more clean, attractive, new,..and the oldest one, probably out of fashion and almost death,...but they just really offer the same brands.  So, if you have you seen one, you have seen them all.  
It is has been proven, that due to the tremendous expansion of shopping malls, each mall has become a more local center, where the local people of a particular area, visit and buy. (before, when there only existed one shopping mall, it was considered an event, something new and the whole town, came to visit the mall, creating lots of crowds and sales.)

Analyzing the evolution and boom of the shopping malls around the globe (even in Asia), we can see a similar way of first very 'success stories' and than in line tremendous 'decline stories' repeating every where.  Probably, retail investors, only have eye on the increasing emerging markets and the interesting, exiting and rewarding retail projects, some clever promotors are offering, ignoring the need for more professional management and real knowledge of how to manage a good shopping mall.

The last years, the high inflation, the world wide economical crisis (mainly Europe and USA), the failing consumer spending and  low and cautious investment climate, has turned up the whole way and form, how it has to go on,...from now off on.

The failure, to have been opening shopping malls on each corner, offering the same product groups and brands, combined with the above mentioned difficult economical situation, has created a big problem and a boring shopping mall effect.  'IF YOU HAVE SEEN ONE, YOU HAVE SEEN THEM ALL'

One of the major problems, we can see, is the right product mix, used in above shopping malls.  Frequently the mall management, prefers to stick to big brands, renting big retail spaces at very interesting rental prices (most of the time at rental prices much lower than the more local and smaller retail operator, forcing them to move out of the shopping center into nearby cheaper industrial areas) using them as a form of getting traffic into the shopping mall.  At the end, the mall consist out of the typical major retailers, dominating the center.
Could sounds logical, however...the risk of above decision, merely thinking financially, focusing on above, could create an revers effect. (less visitors as mall is boring and has a lack of innovation and new retail offer)
Today, everybody (brands, stores and also shopping malls) has to be different, innovative and be able to surprise their clients permanently.  So there is need for a lot imagination, different retail concepts and wide interesting permanent innovative product offer.
CONSUMERS WANT TO BE SURPRISED' and will move to the center, who is different.  
Only by offering the right product and retail mix, creating also a favorable business climate for the small retail operators, you will maintain a interesting product offer and loyal mall visitor.

So, dear shopping mall managers,...try to mix and find the right product retail offer without ignoring the importance of the smaller retail operators.  Don't forget to find the right F&B mix, as restaurants, theaters, etc and more convenient stores (postal office, banks, childcare service) will bring a permanent flew of visitors.   Also big retail groups are failing and the impact on your shopping mall will be much bigger.  Do not forget,...BEING DIFFERENT IS THE KEY TO YOUR SHOPPING MALL SUCCESS. 


Week 29

Internal systems, idea 8
'DO WHAT YOU TELL'.  In order to gain the confidence and the motivation of your staff, you have to maintain your promises and keep your word.  Often, just words are not enough and you have to show your capacity with acts.  'ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS'.
When promising promotions, incentives in order to sell more, be able and sure that you will be able to cumplish them.
The best way of motivation and gaining respect as manager, is being on the field with your people.  So, not just only training on the book, but also together in the field, store,...showing your capacities, working together with them.

Clients, idea 9
Using 'open questions' is probably the best way for your sales staff to understand the needs of the clients, visiting your store. However, be carefully, some questions, like 'Can I help you?? can already close the interest of the client and give a very short 'No' or 'I am just looking' of the client.  
It is the art of asking 'open questions' to the client, creating a door to open and start the conversation.  Open questions, are needed.  Your salesman should learn to listen, understand and be able to give the answer on the doubts your clients have.  It is important that your sales staff is listening concentrated when talking with the client, know its products and is able to convince with clear arguments.  
By own experience, when entering a client in our stores, I like to greet the client with a smile, explaining that all our products exist in various sizes and colors.  If any questions, we are available. After 10 minutes, we walk around the store, organizing the products, but listening and observing carefully (without annoying) to the conversations, clients have between them.  Most of the time, client have doubts on the products and we use this doubts to offer explanations and opening the road to start a deeper conversation with the client.  The ice has been broken and we start asking more details to the client, what he really is looking for. Often, the client feels comfortable and more open and we are able to answer on the needs of above.  This results most of the time in final sales and or a detailed product and price offer.  (with often a final order later on).

Employees, idea 8
'CALL THEM WITH THEIR NAME'.  It has been proven, that calling your staff by its name is motivating them and feeling them part of the company.  So, make the habit before visiting your store, to memorize the names of the people working.  (even if you have a lot of stores and employees)
By experience in our stores, all sales staff has a badge with its first name only, creating a very personal and comfortable link between the client and the store.
It is a part of this very important good feeling and the way you want to present your total concept.  Often you will be perceived different than other competitors.