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RePURPOSE retail vacancies to drive income and asset value

So much has been written about COVID-19 disruption – we have all lived through the impact of COVID such as loss of jobs, closure of bricks-and-mortar stores, lost revenues, increased migration of consumer spending on to ecommerce platforms and so on. Shane Cavell of Bay Media Australia says it is time we consider innovative ways to help rebuild retail, for the collective benefit of consumers, brands and shopping centre owners. 

So with Christmas looming and lockdowns finally lifting, many industry leaders will be steering their focus towards planning for 2021. Think-tank sessions will be underway to consider emerging solutions that help to address retail vacancies. Attention will also shift to minimising operational fit-out costs, through to unique commercial models that incentivise new brands to reconsider a physical retail strategy. As an industry, we all need to turn our collective attention towards these challenges, but also recognise we cannot rely on one silver bullet to fix all.

Bay Media set about creating a more specific internal brief, aiming to deliver a fast fit-out delivery for less cost, with these broad requirements in mind. The result is a fully modular wall system that’s flexible and cost-efficient, that will not damage any existing fixtures, and is able to be used in any space on a long-term or temporary basis. RePURPOSE is a refined retail fit-out solution that has undergone many iterations, taking into account lengthy consideration of feedback, in discussions with various property groups, to provide a solution that increases commercial returns to asset owners.

RePURPOSE is not about a cheaper solution for existing retailers to access shopping centres under different terms. It is more about the premise of incubating new and unique services or brand displays into in-line stores. But the creation of RePURPOSE, as a concept, can address a multitude of retail fit-out usages, including:

  1. In-line store marketing activations into vacancies
  2. Brand displays like a 3D billboard – think Nike, Anaconda, BMW or Mini Cooper
  3. Lead generation or high-value purchase items – such as utilities and home furnishings
  4. Incubate new brand/product usages – to test short-term deals into long-term ones.

With these challenges for innovation, we considered zero impact to existing fixtures and fittings as critical to the RePURPOSE offer. Bay Media has created a fully modular display system with a strict no-drill policy. The premise of RePURPOSE is to eliminate the overuse of hoardings, to activate vacant spaces quickly, as well as secure new usages in-centre, to incubate short-term, with the view to propagate into long-term lease deals.

With the retail industry facing significant tenancy turnovers and brands focusing investment into their ecommerce channels – as well as competition from the likes of eBay, Amazon, Facebook and Instagram marketplaces – innovation is increasingly critical to all commercial landlords.

We must encourage brands to highlight new products and consumer offers in shopping centres, to not shy away from these powerful modern-day town centres. New incubation retail, through commercial trial models such as RePURPOSE, is critical in order to propagate new brands into long-term commercial leases. As we head into a new year, how brands and landlords work together to showcase new products more efficiently, will be an intriguing paradigm shift.

These same challenges remain for asset owners in major strip mall precincts – the likes of Prahran’s Chapel Street or Church Street, Brighton in Melbourne – which are equally compelling from a visual brand merchandising perspective.

Not one individual stakeholder has the silver bullet to fix the disruption of 2020. However, we believe that innovations like RePURPOSE from Bay Media, can help to improve cost efficiencies, eliminate hoardings, introduce fast, turn-key fit-out options, to incubate new brands from a trial, into full-term lease executions.

About the author

Shane Cavell

Shane Cavell is Head of Sales – Bay Media Australia, with extensive business management experience starting his career in advertising sales for News Corp Australia; before transitioning into client service in leading brand experience agencies and has also worked for national shopping centre groups on some of Australia’s high end retail destinations, to drive commercial partnerships, consumer retail media, brand sponsorships, pop up and end to end consumer activations.

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