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5 Tips on Recruiting Retail to Your Community

Posted by Sam Lowder on Oct 1, 2017 6:00:00 AM

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There’s no question that recruiting retail is highly competitive and time consuming, and something many communities and cities struggle with. Most economic development councils have the same goals when it comes to retail recruitment:

  • Increase tax revenue
  • Attract businesses that boost the community and improve citizens’ quality of life
  • Add new jobs
  • Invest in their community

If your community leaders haven’t been as successful as they’d like in boosting retail development in your town or city, it might be time to reevaluate your process to ensure you’re not skipping critical steps. Here are five tips on how to effectively recruit great retailers and restaurants to your community:

Stick to the facts.

Credible data will entice a national or regional chain much more than a pretty sales presentation will. Retailers want a gap analysis (the gap between per capita spending in a retail sector and potential spending), a detailed demographic analysis (including a detailed demographic profile with education, wage/occupation, behavior, household spending, trade area information, etc.), and an analysis of comparable cities/regions/sites. While an introduction to that which makes your community unique or special is fine, don’t let that overshadow the data.

Customize the data you provide.

Retail chains, especially big ones, are pitched by communities every day. Your goal is to stand out among the slush pile, so to speak. How? By providing relevant analytics that are customized to them. Don’t just send the same standard package to every business you approach. Learn the criteria they use to evaluate communities and sites, then customize what you present to ensure it addresses factors that matter to them. The type of data Trader Joe’s will use in their analysis is probably different than what Orangetheory Fitness might use.

Offer information they can relate to other locations.

Of course, any retailer or restaurant chain is going to do their own research, but you can offer them compelling data that might encourage them to dig deeper into your community as one to which they might possibly expand. Use an analytics tool that allows you to look at city characteristics and regional demographics in order to benchmark your community against similar ones based on retail store and product categories.

Tell the story.

If your research determines that you have a $250 million gap for a particular type of service, don’t simply offer up that information to a prospect. Think like a retailer and do further analysis. Why would opening a location in your community or site meet their objectives? Think about the types of questions they might ask and collect market intelligence that will help you answer them. Use the data you collect to tell a compelling story.

Attend International Council and Shopping Centers (ICSC) conferences.

ICSC is where the retail real estate deals happen. The organization has its big RECon convention every spring as well as smaller deal making conferences around the country throughout the year. Make sure you prepare your retail recruiting package in advance so you can show every retailer or service provider you approach how opportunities in your community match their requirements for expansion.

Chain stores analyze thousands of sites a year—and obviously, your goal is to get to the top of their list of sites to consider. You can augment their analysis by providing customized, useful data and information, which will help your site stand out.

It takes effort to attract retail development to your community, but an effective recruiting package will help you get noticed by retailers and open the lines of communication about future opportunities.

Need help? SiteSeer Professional can help you plan an effective retail strategy and recruit with confidence. Contact us today for an online demo.

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Topics: Retail Recruitment, ICSC, Communities Industry, Market Potential