As the economy slowly improves, the numerous retail centers that have sat empty for years are beginning to fill up. With the new centers attracting more shoppers, what can established centers do to keep up with today’s trends?
They say imitation is the highest form of flattery. If you were to invest time and money into enhancing your retail center, where would you start? Here’s an idea: Just look around at your favorite shopping centers to see what trends have been successful and try and incorporate them into your property.
Here are a few landscape enhancements to consider for your Atlanta retail development.
Retail Enhancement #1: Visibility And Safety
As shopping centers age, trees and plant material can start to block signage, lighting, and windows. Start by addressing obvious safety issues first.
It probably is not necessary to remove an entire shade tree to allow street lights to illuminate the site, not to mention the difficulties gaining a permit to cut a healthy tree down. Instead, hire an experienced tree service to selectively prune the obstructing branches.
Winter is a great time to perform a hard structural prune on shrubs and evergreen trees. This not only saves money by not having to remove and replace landscape, but it also opens up views into the shopping center, improves safety site lines at intersections, and lowers the foliage below and away from windows.
Retail Enhancement #2: Site Circulation And Raised Pedestrian Walks
When centers are initially designed, the designer does not always know how the surrounding neighborhood will access and use the center.
Addressing “cut throughs” or “cow paths” by incorporating them into the site’s circulations — with paved sidewalks, flagstone walks or mulch path — both cleans up an eyesores and allows a safer way of travel through the site.
Some areas of circulation are more obvious and have heavy foot traffic: intersections, front entries, and main parking areas. Raised pedestrian cross walks not only directs the shopper where to walk, but elevates them and forces drivers to slow down.
These can be installed in almost any situation, but be sure to take into account where the surface drains and allow for the water to flow as originally designed.
Retail Enhancement #3: Café And Outdoor Gathering Areas
Almost everyone enjoys sitting outside. If given the chance, drinking a cup of coffee, reading a book, or having dinner on a patio all can be done in a retail environment. The challenge is to find the space to create the environment.
One great way to accomplish this by creating “common areas”. These areas may or may not have service, but either way it allows patrons a space to sit, relax and enjoy their time shopping.
Retail Enhancement #4: Upgraded Site Furnishings
One way to guess the age of a shopping center is to look at its site furnishings. Are there big plastic balls on top of the light pole? Exposed aggregate benches? Wooden slat trash receptacles?
Updated site furnishings not only bring the center up to date and more comfortable, but can save money through efficient lighting and utilities.
What Enhancements Will You Make?
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel to create a unique experience for your retail development’s customers — and stay relevant in changing economic times. All it takes is an understanding of customers’ needs and the commitment to make the updates and enhancements necessary to cater to them.
And once you have some ideas, HighGrove Partners can help you make those enhancements happen. Call us at 678-298-0550, or fill out the simple web form to the right for a free consultation.
Looking for more site enhancement ideas? Be sure to subscribe to the HighGrove blog!