“Shopportunities” – What makes a town’s retail good
Tim Radley speaking at Dublin’s “The Future of Irish Towns”
Dun Laoghaire, Ireland: Thursday April 16th.
One thing is for sure. It is not just the number of retail outlets that makes a town an excellent destination for retail or not. When you begin to analyse the “quality index” of individual outlets and to take a composite score for a town then quite often a different picture is seen other than just retail volume.
Whilst a “quality index” can be a little complex to score, once appropriateness of the retailer, size, category and type of outlet are measured consistently and analysed we start to see a clear picture of not only whether a town has good retail, but also why it does or doesn’t.
As with all shopping centres and destinations, towns need to have a focus for their retail offer. They need to have a retail location strategy in place that identifies and offers a retail mix for the most common customer. A logical way to think of a customer is not by age or product category, or even just by demographic, but by whether the customer is traditional, contemporary or a trend customer. Whilst there are any number of levels of detail this will at least give any town a focus for its retail.
Beneath this, a town can then create a “retail mix” of stores appropriate for its customer base. This will be constructed around the type of product bought in town centres by customer groups, and the type of retailers that the customer buys from. In an interesting reverse of trend local independent stores are being revitalised and attracting younger and more trend customers, just as the more traditional customer seeks independents. The contemporary family on the other hands finds the convenience and soft branding of multiples more attractive.
However the key step in any towns journey up the “quality index” of retail is when independents, relying only on opportunism and convenience are transformed into local destination which begin to drive their own traffic. But that is another story…
Receive a transcript on why retail is important to the future of towns, what it must do to attract people into towns and how high street rejuvenation must be built “one shop at a time”
I am Tim Radley, founder of VM-Unleashed! and I was speaking at the “Future of Irish Towns” event at Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, Ireland on Thursday 16th April.