Retail and hospitality students present their ideas for the future of Victoria Leeds
Victoria Leeds is the new brand name for the Victoria Quarter and new Victoria Gate developments in Leeds, owned by Hammerson. It is the home of John Lewis’s first Leeds store and a range of high quality and designer brands. Second year students were given two research projects to work on which focused around the developments.
BA (Hons) Marketing with Retail Management students were tasked with creating the shopping centre of the future in a multi-channel world. Hammerson’s brief was for students to propose a place which stimulates the senses and creates brand experiences in a physical bricks and mortar environment, whilst working alongside online and social platforms to meet the needs of their customers for constant new information and the ability to purchase online.
Students developed marketing campaigns for Victoria Leeds to reach out, excite and engage both retailers and shoppers.
Carlie Jenkins, a Retail Management student (pictured top), said: “I decided that the shopping centre of the future will fundamentally be about customer experience: this will be a multi-sensory experience that they can't get online. I explained how shopping centres of the future will need to ensure they are multichannel and use new technologies so they don't get left behind. The main focus of my presentation was how I envisage payments to be in the future. I think biometrics will play a big part, specifically finger print technology, as it's one of, if not the, most secure way to pay.
“It was a slightly scary experience presenting directly to Hammerson as I really wanted to impress them with my work. I had to be confident in what I was presenting for it to come across well. The people from Hammerson I presented to seemed to like my ideas for shopping centres of the future and, in some feedback questions, James liked how I'd tailored it to Victoria Leeds and the high-end retailers who are based there.
“As a student at Leeds Beckett, presenting to a real company really helped my professional presenting skills. I think it's important for students to get this 'real life working' experience and skills to carry them over when they become professionals after university.”
A second project was led by second year BSc (Hons) Hospitality Business Management and BSc (Hons) Hospitality Leadership and Management students, who were asked to develop a 2017 events and commercialisation plan for Victoria Leeds. Hammerson wanted students to look at their existing and target customers, their lifestyles, shopping habits and brand preferences, and to develop a plan of events that could potentially be delivered at Victoria Leeds to generate footfall and increase sales.
At the start of the project, Hammerson delivered a detailed presentation on Victoria Leeds to the students to give them a thorough understanding of both. Students then presented their final research projects to Hammerson at their Victoria Leeds offices.
Yuko Takeda, a Hospitality Leadership and Management student, said: “As we study hospitality, we are all interested in food and beverage-related events. For our research, we decided to use survey questions on Survey Monkey to find out what people like to see in Victoria Leeds, and tested our ideas: food markets and local farmers’ markets, pop-up stores of local businesses, and seasonal events e.g. an ice skating rink. We received positive feedback from our survey.
“It was a great opportunity to present our ideas to a real company. Including our presentation, there were three times we could see Hammerson staff who gave us enough confidence to give our final presentation. It was a casual meeting and they suggested key words and ideas such as 'golden triangle' which helps to target specific audiences.
“This project motivated us a lot because Victoria Leeds is one of the most luxurious spots in the Yorkshire area. We are glad to study at Leeds Beckett University which has good connections with big companies, both national and local, in a range of industries.”
The students’ research will support Hammerson’s Marketing and Commercialisation teams in ensuring Victoria Leeds delivers a range of events and marketing campaigns that excite shoppers and lead to a continued increase in footfall throughout 2017.
Alistair MacAuley, Senior Lecturer and BA (Hons) Retail Management Module Leader, said: “This was an exciting project giving our students unique access to a Blue Chip organisation such as Hammerson. Working on projects like this allows our students to put theory into practice.”
James Rogers, Community Manager for Hammerson, added: “We are always very excited when it comes to working with Leeds Beckett University students. They always rise to the challenges we set them and they are always extremely professional in their approach. Their ideas were creative, innovative, practice- and cost-effective. I’m really looking forward to working on other projects with them in semester two.”