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Retail Developers Get Smart

When the developers of Trademark Property Company of Fort Worth, Texas began to develop the Watters Creek Shopping Center in Allen, Texas, they did an interesting thing in asking women to participate in the development of their center. However, the novelty came when they actually listened to the women’s responses. In addition to hiring two female retail consultants, the company sought out two-dozen local women to give their input. As noted in the New York Times article,

“Listening to women shoppers may seem like an entirely logical thing to do, yet many retail developers and consultants say such participation is often missing during the early stages of shopping center development.”

The mixed-use retail development in Texas listened to women before they designed it and and broke free of the typical stereotypes to create a whole new experience—and the shoppers are flocking.

With more options available than ever, women shoppers now want to feel as though retail centers have been “customized” to meet their needs.

The results offer features like:

  • High-end retailers catering that the more sophisticated 35-55 crowd rather than teenagers
  • Wider walkways for easy navigation with children
  • Wider parking spots to fit SUVs favored by mothers
  • Meandering pathways
  • Tranquil water settings as opposed to spouting fountains
  • More dining options with various views and covered outdoor seating

These features not only draw female shoppers to the center, they result in an “experience” that connects the women to the center and creates loyalty. The article ends with an example of the benefits in “customizing” to the needs of your primary shopper – women.

“When Ms. Fair, one of the women in Allen who worked with Trademark, visited Watters Creek, she liked what she saw. ‘I have almost unlimited opportunities to shop in our area,’ she said, referring to at least 12 shopping malls within a 30-minute drive of her home. Still, she has her design preferences, and this one pleases her. ‘Here, every restaurant has an outdoor patio, and everyone has a different view,’ she said. ‘I can’t think of another center like it.'”

The Point? First of all, don’t be afraid to ask women what they want and secondly, be smart and actually listen. The investment of your time and effort is sure to result in the growth of your product.

Read the rest of this article in the New York Times

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Stephanie Holland is President and Executive Creative Director for Holland + Holland Advertising, Birmingham, Alabama. Working in an industry that is dominated by men, she is one of only 3% of the female creative directors in the country. Stephanie works mostly with male advertisers, helping them successfully market to women. Subscribe to She-conomy by Email
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