Kieron van Rooyen
Retailers will only ever be as good as the people who represent them. From management down to the tellers, everyone contributes to making the brand a success. The other critical factor is of course location. Without good locations, brands would never get off the ground in the first place, let alone grow into anything meaningful. So it stands to reason that a retailer is only ever going to be as strong as the sites they choose to occupy.
There is an art to being able to look at a location and determine whether a brand will succeed there or not. There are people who try and apply science to it, but ultimately even the known fundamentals in location, foot traffic, demographic information, etc don’t always equal success. Big brands generally choose to employ a person who has a proven track record in retail property. Either sourcing space for brands, or having represented a landlord in a leasing role. But is a proven track record always enough?
You see, a retailer can only pick sites that are made available to them. So in order for a retailer to have the best options made available, they need someone with an ear to the ground, and strong relationships with property owners. You need someone who not only lives and breathes the brand, but someone who is respected in the industry. Assuming a scenario where all brands are equal, it stands to reason that a property owners first call when there is space available would be to the people they get along with best. The people who take the time to chat. The people who have made the effort. If they are not interested in the space, then they will move on to the next person on their list.
So if you have a brand with strong competitors, you want to always be the first phone call rather than the last. And in order to be the first phone call, your property person needs to not only be competent, but likable. Being the first phone call will enable you to have the first dig at sites, rather than waiting for the leftovers. If you are the person responsible for a retailers property strategy, get out there and make friends with the property owners. Get to know them, not just their names.
I would love to hear your comments.