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The evolution of tenant engagement in retail


David Fuller-Watts discusses the factors shaping tenant engagement strategies and how stronger partnerships are generating long-term benefits.

In today’s real estate landscape, there is an emphasis on the importance of tenant engagement. Transactional relationships have evolved into dynamic partnerships with a focus on shared goals and mutual benefits. Tenant expectations are one of the most significant drivers behind this shift.  Tenants are demanding more from landlords and property managers, with a desire for more effective communication, social interaction and flexibility just some of the factors shaping their needs. In response, the commercial real estate industry is starting to prioritise engagement plans that enhance the overall experience for all parties.

With the world now digital-first, technology has emerged as a key facilitator of tenant engagement. Like all consumers, tenants now rely on technology for convenience and quicker access to information, making it an expected part of the workday tech stack, rather than a nice to have. This trend has created an opportunity for further impact. Through strengthened engagement, time and cost savings can be realised, creating operational efficiencies. By implementing a digital platform, for example, and streamlining all communication, a more responsive and collaborative environment can be curated. 

Using technology to facilitate tenant engagement can also provide property managers with access to actionable data. Better insight into tenant behaviour is opening the door to a more personalised, targeted approach that fosters greater connectivity and a sense of community.

A catalyst for growth

The long-term impact of effective engagement can’t be underestimated. As trust, satisfaction and loyalty increases, so does tenant retention and the potential for higher rents.  That’s why a growing number of businesses across the real estate industry are evolving their engagement strategies – and using technology to fuel them. 

Across the real estate industry, we are seeing tens of millions being invested into software businesses that provide a more customer-centric experience for tenants. There is a clear signal that tenant engagement is being recognised as a significant driver in effective property management, and ultimately asset performance. 


In retail real estate, tenant engagement is paramount. From our own experience of working with leading brands in this sector, the best performing shopping centres all have one thing in common – a commitment to tenant engagement. Those that are putting their tenants front and centre are creating powerful partnerships. Retention rates are increasing as are the opportunities for further asset investment and growth. 

Blazing a trail

Established 32 years ago, Meadowhall is a retail success story providing a blueprint for highly effective tenant engagement. Over the past 10 years, the Sheffield-based shopping destination has been continuously strengthening its approach generating benefits for all stakeholders.  The first step saw the property management team join forces with Mallcomm to help the centre communicate more effectively with more than 300 tenants. 

All communication is now centralised via the platform providing retail tenants, and more than 6,500 users, with more direct and tailored messaging. Through a content management system, Meadowhall can analyse which tenants are reading the messages, at what time and on what device. This is helping the team to identify those tenants that aren’t engaging or may need a different approach to ensure they are kept informed.


Through two-way communication, engagement has rapidly increased, strengthening the relationship between the landlord and its tenants. This is building trust and transparency, enabling Meadowhall to better understand the needs of its retailers and respond accordingly. As well as revolutionising the way the management team works with its tenants, digital technology has created more transparency and in turn, data which is informing property management in a practical way.

Adapting to change

In a rapidly changing real estate landscape, tenant engagement is critical and will continue to evolve. As highlighted by Meadowhall’s successful strategy, not only is this essential to respond to market shifts but to ensure a sustainable landlord and retail tenant relationship.

By focusing on partnerships that embrace innovation and prioritise tenant satisfaction, both parties will be in a stronger position to navigate change, paving the way for a more profitable future.

Discover how Mallcomm can support your tenant engagement within your retail property portfolio, click the button below to talk to our team