Insight from ICSC Hong Kong Conference - Oct 15, 2013
I spoke at ICSC’s Repositioning to Realize Potential conference last week in Hong Kong. You can find my presentation here. I learned a lot about market trends as I prepared for the event. More importantly, I learned a lot from the other presenters at the event. Here are a few things I’d like to share with you.
Trend 1 - Repositioning Down Is An Option
A lot of mall development and management companies look to upgrade their malls. The upgrade usually consists of redoing the facade, living up the interior design, and bringing high-end brands into the tenant mix. As Rui from Sonae Sierra mentioned, the key to repositioning a mall is to always focus on your target customers and the experience your mall provides. Thus, repositioning a mall from a mid-tier mall to an upscale mall is not always the right choice.
Sometimes you might need to scale your mall down so that you attract more of the right customer to your mall. Scaling down doesn’t mean you degrade the mall. As a matter of fact, you need to invest in the mall just as you would if you were to scale up a mall. Incorporating businesses such as post offices and clinics can also bring more business to the mall. At the end of the day, it’s still all about your target customer and what they want to get from the mall. This spans from the right daily products all the way through to the experience.
Trend 2 - Social Media Networks Do Boost Mall Visibility
Ecommerce and social media networks are definitely a key part of repositioning a mall. This repositioning focuses more on evolving malls into ones that drive traffic and sales through the whole cycle of attracting customers to the mall to try things on and attend events promoted through social networks. Karen Tam from Habour City provided some good examples of how their using networks like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter in multiple languages (English and Chinese) to draw attention to their mall and the brands within. Just as Rui mentioned, it’s about creating a full experience online and offline for the customer. To learn more about social media in China, check out our post on “8 Social Media Sites for Retailers in China.”
Trend 3 - Repositioning Malls for the Middle Class
The middle class is still growing. And the markets in Asia are still growing as Jonathan Hsu from CBRE highlighted. It’s important to considering a mall positioning as this segment of the population will continue to drive mall traffic and sales. Again it’s about the experience. What kind of services and fun activities can malls incorporate to attract consumers that have just started families? It’s not just about high-end. It’s about food choices, theaters, and brands that people use every day.
We’ll be at the upcoming MIPIM Asia event. My colleague James Grigsby will be moderating ‘Successful & profitable brands: where to launch, what are the keys to success?’ session on Wednesday, November 6 from 445-545pm.