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Using eye-catching RMUs and kiosks to draw people through ‘off pitch’ parts of the mall can have a dramatic impact on customer flow and in turn help struggling retailers


t The Mall, Luton a quiet mall has been transformed with a Zumo juice kiosk, with the accompanying seating helping to create theatre in the malls, and a driving school promotion

site. “This used to be a quiet mall,” explains general manager, Mark Broadhead. “The Post Office and Debenhams are incredibly busy but there was no traffic and RMUs were reluctant to go in because they said it was ‘too off pitch’. The juice bar was the driver - that livened up the mall and it’s now a busier space.” But Retail Profile, part of the SpaceandPeople Group, and a leading

provider of RMUs in UK shopping centres, argue that RMUs and kiosks should be seen only as revenue generators, and not as problem solvers. “Both RMUs and kiosks provide great visual impact to high footfall

areas of the mall,” says Retail Profile managing director, Martin Kemp. “Many of the offerings are artisan and add vitality to the mall by providing unusual products and services, which can’t be found in the surrounding shops – this can significantly differentiate a mall from its counterparts. “These products and services are often bought on impulse, and as

such, rely on a steady, regular flow of shoppers in order to make a profit. As many of our retailers use their RMU or kiosk as a platform to launch their retail business it is vital that their sales are maximised.” Although, he admits that some beauty services can be successful in

slightly quieter parts of the mall. “Kiosks offering beauty services such as fish feet, nail and brow

bars, if promoted properly, can thrive on the outskirts of the main thoroughfare, which offers an element of privacy,” he says. “But for the majority of products and services, RMUs and kiosks are only successful and sustainable when in a prominent position, exposed to the main flow of shoppers.” Marketing and commercialisation specialist Shoppertainment,

on the other hand, believe that kiosks and RMUs can be used to draw crowds into ‘off pitch’ parts of the mall.

SHOPPING CENTRE October 2011 Shoppertainment surveys each site taking into consideration

the uniqueness of a centre and discuss with and advise the centre management teams about where they most want to – or should - drive footfall. “If a centre wants to drive footfall to a certain location we create

eye-catching and stand-out promotions, and can also tailor-make a promotion for a certain location helping to draw shoppers into the area,” explains managing director Clare Andrew. “The promotion will also influence the location, as it shouldn’t

conflict with what a nearby retailer is selling, thereby creating negative competition within the tenant mix,.” says Andrew, who advocates a comprehensive RMU strategy, which she describes as “vital to the success of a centre in terms of commercialisation as well as footfall, dwell time and the overall shopper experience.” Kemp agrees that a strategic view of mall offerings should be

adopted and that the product and services should complement, rather than clash with in-line retailers. He also stresses that the optimal number of RMUs should be decided upon depending on footfall, existing offerings and mall space available. And that as part of the strategy, staff manning RMUs should be

chosen carefully - something often overlooked. Staff should be “keen, enthusiastic, eager to serve and provide

additional information as required” but should avoid harassing passing shoppers, he says. Traditionally, RMUs and kiosks have been installed in high footfall

locations but as The Mall, Luton has proved, they can also be used to enliven quiet areas of a shopping centre.

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