Written by: Christopher Chitty
If you read our article on the pros & cons associated with mixed residential developments you will know that the impact it has on the neighbourhood is a life-changing one. Unless you are able to afford living in the area, it will not benefit you financially at all.
Those that are affluent enough, however, will get to enjoy all the convenience and entertainment it brings without having to travel far from home.
Residents of a mixed development are not the only ones who are affected. In the event where a development has a built in shopping mall, the tenants of those shops become part of this integrated world.
As with residential mixed developments, retail mixed developments have their pros & cons.
Customers: Finding customers is always a challenge for retail outlets. But when you rent a shop space within residential grounds, you have a limited but steady supply of potential customers to cater to. This makes deciding on the types of product you want to sell based on your customers' preferences much easier.
Profits: Condominiums are not cheap. Mixed developments are not going to be cheap either. The people that can afford it are probably the affluent and as product prices are generally tied to the rent, therefore the higher the rent, the more expensive the product is. The more expensive the product is, the faster the retail outlet can break even for the month, provided it is popular.
Marketing: Marketing and branding are the main tools of driving a business. With bigger profits, more money can be spent locally to push the brand. This can also result in bigger spaces and more choices with consumer products.
Brand awareness: As the brand is advertised more, its appeal to consumers grows. With more people buying the products, this allows the brand to expand further.
Window shoppers: Everybody is a potential customer and good sales people will be able to turn a window shopper into a customer. Unfortunately, there can be more window shoppers than genuine shoppers. In a mixed development, especially if it is located in and around the city area, the overcrowding of window shoppers can be bad for business. This is especially so if they have no intention to consider buying and are turning genuine shoppers off by overcrowding the store and hogging the salespeople.
Competing brands: If someone comes up with a good idea, 10 other people are going to modify that idea and compete with the original. It will be harder to sell when consumers are faced with rows of competing brands all with different prices and designs but essentially, the same product.
Smaller spaces: The size of the store will severely limit the amount of products displayed. Gadget shops have less of a problem than those which sell apparel. Unless your company has enough money to buy or rent several stores and combine them, you will need to ensure you have enough products to attract customers without crowding the walk and viewing spaces.
High rent: There is no way rent will be cheap. For mixed developments like Marina Bay, monthly rent can be anything between S$18,000 to S$30,000 a month. With such high rental costs, it becomes extremely necessary for the retail outlet to be generating a healthy revenue amount each month to cover the rental and make profits at the same time.
With land dwindling and population increasing, mixed developments are the efficient, convenient and unfortunately expensive answer to that problem.
Yet these developments are being built to house the thousands of affluent individuals and families converging in Singapore from all over the world. Housing them and catering to their interests and preferences is the modus operandi in increasing developer profits and national GDP.
Retail mixed developments are certainly not a get rich quick initiative for small retail outlets. Only the luxury and high fashion brands will be able to significantly tap into this market.
However, any retail driven company with enough cash for operations can set up in a mixed residential development.
If the company is capable of doing this, its chance of becoming well known will increase exponentially. As mixed developments are usually located in centralized locations in Singapore, such as in Orchard, Shenton Way and Marina Bay, the sheer number of people in those areas more than ensure that there will not be a lack of potential customers.
The only thing the stores and brands need to do is market their products and company adequately to attract business.
As a result of this, mixed developments become not only a testing ground but a possible launching pad for businesses with the ability to get off the ground.