HOW IKEA-ANCHORED SHOPPING CENTRES EMBRACE INDUSTRY AND ECONOMIC CHANGES TO STAY SUCCESSFUL
BY Zoe Phoon
Shopping centres of today need to meet contemporary shoppers’ desires.
Those days of shopping in the pre-internet era are gone. Shopping centres now need to keep up with the trends and technologies and find ways to keep shoppers hanging out on their premises.
Opened in 2003, the IPC Shopping Centre in Mutiara Damansara, Selangor, is Malaysia’s first shopping centre anchored by IKEA, and the first of shopping centres in IKEA Southeast Asia’s portfolio in the region.
Now 15 years on, IPC welcomes an average visitation of 15 million visitors a year.
It is one of the four shopping centres managed by Ikano Centres, part of IKEA Southeast Asia.
IPC’s debut was followed by Mega Bangna Shopping Centre anchored by IKEA Bangna in Bangkok, Thailand (opened in 2012), MyTOWN Shopping Centre anchored by IKEA Cheras in Kuala Lumpur (2017), and Toppen Shopping Centre which will be anchored by IKEA Tebrau in Johor (opening end-2019).
What is IKEA Southeast Asia’s success story? How is IPC, its most established shopping property in Malaysia performing amid the current economic climate whereby central Bank Negara has lowered the economic growth forecast for 2018? How is it sustaining its shopping centre business and keeping abreast of competition?
IPC’s performance has been very positive because IKEA Southeast Asia, as a group, has adopted the concept of co-creation that enables it to be agile when there are any changes, said Andrew Yeoh, Head of Marketing – Shopping Centre, IKEA Southeast Asia, in response to questions from Property 360.
This means actively working and engaging with anchors such as IKEA stores, tenants, visitors and the local community around to understand the needs of the many and reach a mutual understanding to improve the quality of life of people, he said.
“We want our centres to be a meeting place where people not only shop but also connect, socialise, get inspired, experience new things and find something new every day. Gone are the days of traditional shopping centres.
“To create a long lasting and effective retail destination, it is very important to understand and follow the societal developments and the needs of the local communities,” he shared.
Yeoh noted IKEA Southeast Asia feels that now, more than ever, is a very interesting time for the retail industry.
“There are multiple new channels that enable us to reach out to our communities and consumers such as through mobile applications like our IPC Shopping Centre application with The Mood Menu feature.
“We must embrace industry and economic changes and integrate this further in our overall shopping experience.
“For all the centres anchored by IKEA, we build meeting places for the communities, destinations that are the hub and heart of the community,” he said.
Recently, IPC Shopping Centre was announced as the only Malaysian Gold winner for the Asia Pacific Shopping Centre Awards 2018 organised by the International Council of Shopping Centres.
Ranked ahead of more than 200 entries from the best performing centres across the region, IPC Shopping Centre, along with its first-of-its-kind The Mood Menu (within IPC’s mobile application), came up tops in the Emerging Digital Technology category.
The mobile app is the world’s first shopping centre app developed in collaboration with music streaming giant Spotify to provide shoppers with suggestions on places to dine and drink at IPC via its food and mood-making tool.
With the Gold award, IPC Shopping Centre now qualifies for the VIVA (Vision, Innovation, Valuation & Achievement) Global Best-of-the-Best Awards, competing against the best shopping centre marketing campaigns globally.
Yeoh said IKEA Southeast Asia had approximately 1,400 tenants combined (IPC, MyTOWN, Megabangna) with over RM300 million rental income in 2017.
Both IKEA stores and Ikano Centres achieved over 71 million visits combined, with more than RM2 billion turnover in sales in 2017.
He noted: “At Ikano Centres, it is our vision to create a better everyday life for the people by providing a convenient, safe and family-friendly shopping destination.
“But what really makes us different is how we want our centres to be more than just a place to shop. We continuously strive to bring in more meaningful memories to our shoppers.
“It is the bright smiles and laughter on the faces of those who walk in and out every day that gives us a bigger purpose. Again, we are building meeting places for the community.”
Moreover, he added, its focus has never been about comparing itself with other shopping centres.
Taking IPC as an example, he said it has created a cohesive community of Mutiara Damansara with IKEA Damansara, The Curve, Tesco, eCurve and KidZania.
“With the help of our link bridges, visitors are able to have better accessibility to other neighbours and the public transport station.
“We call this cross-visitation that enables us to maximise and invite a natural flow of visitors between places,” he added.