HOW THE ONLINE SHOPPING REVOLUTION IS ACTUALLY HELPING BRICKS-AND-MORTAR RETAILERS

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“While online retail businesses have the privilege of unlimited space, shopping centres have to turn every inch into a profit-making asset, or make it indispensable to the customer experience.”
06/12/2017

Jason Marriott, Director in our Sydney studio, discusses the changing retail environment and the success of Birkenhead Point in an article featured on Commercial Real Estate (AU).

The assault of online shopping services is helping sharpen up Australian retail centres and forcing them to be made over into much more inviting, comfortable and attractive places to be, says the architect in charge of reinvigorating one of the country’s top outlet hubs.

While it may be a painful process for many, there are hopes that as Amazon prepares to start trading in Australia, it will spur the sector on to be better prepared for any future headwinds.

“While online retail businesses have the privilege of unlimited space, shopping centres have to turn every inch into a profit-making asset, or make it indispensable to the customer experience,” says Jason Marriott, director at Ignite Architects, which has just finished its third major redevelopment of Sydney’s Birkenhead Point Shopping Centre.

“You can’t stop businesses like Amazon, but you just have to manage it. You have to come up with new ideas all the time and challenge yourself, and looking at new ways of working, to continue to be successful. But in some ways, online shopping is changing retail centres like ours for the better.

“You then strive harder to make them more interesting destinations, so people want to come here, rather than sit at home on the computer.”

Certainly, it’s an approach that seems to be working. With Mirvac buying the centre in 2014 and investing $19 million in the redevelopment, the number of weekday shoppers are now up by more than 30 per cent, and weekends are nearly full. Sales are expected to hit $300 million in 2018-19, compared with $200 million in 2014.

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