The Shopping Centre industry is driven by people. It’s the skills and expertise of the people that manage, develop and evolve shopping centres for their communities that creates this great industry. Shopping Centre News profiles a range of interesting people from the industry each week. This week we talk to Melissa Prpic, National Marketing Manager of GPT (Retail). GPT has a diverse portfolio of high performing shopping centres across Australia that they own and manage including Casuarina Square in Darwin, Norton Plaza in Sydney, and Melbourne Central in the heart of the CBD.
What is your current role and main responsibilities?
I’m the National Marketing Manager GPT (Retail). I work within the Marketing and Digital team, supporting the centre teams to deliver our marketing programs and enhance the customer experience across incentre and digital channels.
How did you get in to this industry?
I started my career working for a retailer in marketing what feels like a lifetime ago and loved the industry – the pace and the diversity and ended up progressing into shopping centre marketing.
What do you love most about your job?
I love the people and that no two days are ever the same.
What motivates you?
A passionate team who love what they do and love retail always makes it easy to be and stay motivated. The retail environment, technology and communication channels are ever changing, as are the expectations of our shoppers which means we have to constantly challenge our thinking and evolve – that’s exciting.
Which in your opinion is the best example of a good shopping centre, retail precinct or place?
There are so many options, but here’s three: The Grove LA stands out – no doubt the LA lens plays a part here, but the integration of entertainment, services, dining and retail creates a destinational experience with broad shopper appeal.
Something more local, The Commons at Camperdown is a great example of repurposing space (the old Camperdown Bowling Club) to create a multi use precinct combining an urban farm, café/ restaurant and community spaces that work together to provide a unique and accessible experience to locals.
And Melbourne Central because I always discover something new – the laneway-esque design lends to a sense of discovery and the rooftop experiences always push the boundaries – Glamping on a rooftop in the middle of the city and the next rooftop activation launching later this year pushes the boundaries further again.
What are some of the trends you are seeing in the industry?
We are seeing an increasing shift in the need to create multi use/ multi experience spaces in our retail assets. No longer can we rely on a great mix of specialty retailers to be enough to drive spend and visitation. The time given vs time taken equation (leisure vs functional tasks/chores) is becoming even more prevalent. Our shoppers value their time and are being given more choice in how they spend it . As a result, dining, entertainment, health and wellbeing will continue to grow, driven by new entrants to the market and the incubation of new concepts to meet the needs of customers.
We are also seeing an increase in services being developed to address the functional ‘time taken’ tasks. Think ‘Uber’ for delivering shopping.
What advice would you give to someone starting in the industry?
Be curious – ask questions and seek to understand what drives your retailers and customers.
What is the single most important quality you need to possess to be in this industry?
A passion for retail – what it is and what it could be.