By Ian Shimmin | 23 Nov 2016

In the new Urbis Global Retail Trends series, we shed light on some of the most interesting, exciting themes we saw on the Urbis International Retail Study Tour 2016. This, the first in the series, looks at the appearance of cars inside shopping centres, not just in the car parks… 

It is quite conceivable that regional centres in Australia will include auto precincts in the not too distant future

As shopping centres continue to evolve in subtle ways, some new uses really catch your eye.

The last two Urbis International Retail Study Tours have witnessed the emergence and success of specialty shop car showrooms in prominent shopping centre locations throughout the USA, Canada and Europe. 

Some are proving to be tremendously successful, even Apple like. One wonders why it has taken so long!

There are at least four good reasons why having specialty car showrooms in shopping centres makes sense for retailers and landlords:

  1. Firstly, major shopping centres attract millions of people, including some in excess of 15 million per year. This footfall means great exposure.
  2. They are also a far less intimidating place to browse than the traditional car yards on highways, especially as the approach adopted by staff is largely educational, with no hard sell. In fact many don’t even transact.
  3. Thirdly, shopping centres are increasingly looking for new approaches and new uses that will attract men and result in shoppers lingering longer. Some members of our tour group referred to the benefits of car showrooms as ‘man crèches’ in centres!
  4. Finally, shopping centres are constantly looking to broaden their base and refresh their mix – new uses, new retailers and more reasons to visit are critical; and cars are an important household commodity.

It is quite conceivable that regional centres in Australia will include auto precincts in the not too distant future. The challenge is to convince manufacturers and dealerships to take the step beyond casual mall leasing, because there is a very clear alignment with potential customers.

sea_bellevue-centre_283Mini showroom, Bellevue Centre, Seattle la_fashion-island_011Lincoln Car showroom, Fashion Island, L.A village-corte-madera_044Tesla showroom, The Village at Corte Madera 

Australia is a global leader in retail, but it can’t rest on its laurels. The retail industry demands constant innovation and improvement. New perspectives, ideas and experiences are vital to tackling challenges and ensuring future success.

With this in mind, in September Urbis embarked on its latest International Retail Study Tour. Along with a group of our clients, we visited six cities in the USA and Canada and experienced more than 40 shopping centres through the eyes of people operating in different disciplines within the retail industry.

We’ll be showcasing some of our findings through the Global Retail Trends series.