Top malls buy into plan to lift service level

Posted On Wednesday, 14 September 2005 02:00 Published by
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Shopping centres are being challenged to identify top retailers according to a set of criteria as part of a pilot project dubbed the Retailers Awards Programme
Yet another initiative has been launched in Port Elizabeth to raise service levels in the city.

Shopping centres are being challenged to identify top retailers according to a set of criteria as part of a pilot project dubbed the Retailers Awards Programme.

The project is the brainchild of Marios von Dongen, chairman of the Eastern Cape chapter of the SA Council of Shopping Centres.

"We are trying to recognise retailers who deliver exceptional customer service and contribute to the shopping centre industry in the region," Von Dongen said this week.

So far 12 centres in Port Elizabeth have signed up to participate in the scheme, with confirmation needed from only two more centres.

The shopping centres that have confirmed their participation are Greenacres, The Bridge, Walmer Park, the Boardwalk, Walker Drive, Cleary Park, Summerstrand Village, 6th Avenue, Walmer, Figtree Park, Moffett Retail Park, Pier 14, and Sunridge Park Village.

Von Dongen estimated this represented between 500 and 600 retailers.

He said the idea had been sparked by discussions with centre managers who sat on the association's committee who felt something needed to done to recognise retailers.

Port Elizabeth will therefore be piloting the concept, after which it will be rolled out nationally.

"The SA Council of Shopping Centres is backing this and wanting to roll out in the rest of the country from next year," said Von Dongen.

Retailers will be recognised in three categories that are designed to accommodate companies across the spectrum.

These categories have been designated as national retailers, small to medium retailers (less than 500m² floor space), and local retailers.

"Each of the shopping centres will nominate a winner at its year-end function in each of those categories," said Von Dongen.

These nominations, which are to be submitted by November this year, will then be passed on to the independent judging panel which will have to assess the entries.

Each retailer will be judged on store merchandising, store design and appearance, customer service and marketing/advertising. The last criteria - trading density - will level the playing field as this determines turnover per square metre of floor space. All the prizes have not yet been finalised as negotiations are still taking place with sponsors.

The prize for the local retailer, though, will be a marketing and ad campaign in the local media.

"We are wanting to put something back in their business. We'd rather do a substantial marketing/advertising campaign through print and radio," said Von Dongen.

Winners will also be presented with a trophy and plaque that can be displayed in-store.

The programme will culminate in a gala awards evening at the Boardwalk on March 3 next year.

Eastern Province Herald
Publisher: I-Net Bridge
Source: I-Net Bridge

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