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Everyone’s a Winner?

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How commercialisation – concession style – could work for everyone  

We have talked previously about the opportunities presented by a changing landscape in retail. By demanding more from their shopping experience, consumers are forcing innovation in the industry at every level and driving a rise in standards across the board.

The best players in the retail industry are putting innovation at the forefront of their strategies in order to reach new and larger audiences and make the most of prime retail space.

The recent news of Sainsbury’s and Oasis trialling a ‘concession partnership’ is a good example of that in practice. It’s the latest in a line of partnerships Sainsbury’s has introduced to offer more to its customers and will help support its annual property costs. If the arrangement works for Oasis, the firm can re-evaluate its estate and potentially be looking at a very different and more stable future.

Could a concession inside a major retailer be the answer for those brands and traders who find high street rates unsustainable?

In many ways large retailers are already trialling this concession model with in-store commercialisation – the proposition is the same, albeit on a smaller scale.

Commercialisation is an ideal way to explore innovation, to trial an idea before committing significant resource.

By its nature – dealing with pop-ups, mobile traders and small set-ups – commercialisation is agile. It’s easy to try new things, review the results and stick or twist. The possibilities are vast.

If a test run with a pop-up proves successful, a centre can consider offering up more space to resemble a larger scale concession.  It fills floor space, generates revenue and allows a centre to compete with rivals without a significant investment.

For a retailer, a concession allows them to downsize without losing presence and in many cases gives them access to a greater footfall.

Much of the commentary around the ailing department stores, including Debenhams and House of Fraser, asks if their demise leaves a gap in the ‘all under one roof’ sector. With the right concessions and commercialisation partners, could supermarkets start to fill the gap that department stores leave?

A pop-up or small presence inside a large store could also allow online retailers to explore a physical store before committing to and investing in bricks and mortar, allowing online and offline to benefit from each other rather than be pitted against each other in battle.

In many ways the rise of the concession could be a welcome opportunity for operators in every corner of the retail space. But it’s not easy to get it right.

Success in a concession or in any size of commercialisation relies on a good match. Brand association is crucial. Done well, brands complement each other so well that the new ‘whole’ offering is greater than the sum of its parts.

Traders, landlords and agents have to work together to create the most appealing offerings that are relevant and fresh for each destination’s demographic and that’s putting the spotlight on commercialisation partners like Access Point.

A good commercialisation partner draws upon industry knowledge and a hefty contacts book to introduce traders to spaces on a mutually beneficial arrangement where one helps the other thrive and vice versa.

In those cases where commercialisation is embraced, where it’s working hand-in-hand with the retailer to increase the pull, the items on offer and to support an evolving visitor experience, ramping up that activity is a no brainer.

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