There’s no doubt that the retail real estate industry is evolving rapidly with the arrival of internet, technology and big data in the sector. We can see that as soon as we set foot in the Palais for MAPIC – with LED screens, tablets, 3D masks, robots and new “look at me” interactive concepts vying for the attention of passing visitors. I suppose a shopping mall is no different, as developers search for the hottest new entertainment and food & beverage concepts to drive traffic through their doors.
Day 1 at MAPIC boasted a heavy duty panel discussion on the trends shaping the future of the industry. O2O (online to offline) is the central theme at MAPIC this year, and it’s no wonder, seeing as how much technology is changing the traditional rules of the game. This morning, experts from Sonae Sierra, Deliver, IMS, Umlaut and Google, gave a compelling panel discussion on the importance of integrating physical commerce into your 360° strategy. The objective is to create a more seamless experience between customers, brands and shopping centres. Francois Lotion, Director Retail France at Google explained the rising importance of leveraging your digital presence to drive in-store traffic.
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Google certainly has their hands on data, which was another big topic of discussion today. Altarea Cogedim, AllDragon International, Location Based Marketing Association, Hammerson and Salesforce led an intriguing discussion on the growing usage of data within shopping centres and how it is impacting not only the way we are developing infrastructure in our new shopping malls, but how we are transforming the digital strategy of the retailers it hosts.
Asif Khan, founder and president of Location Based Marketing Association, shared with us incredible examples of how shopping centres are pushing innovation and technology. In this particular case, rescue pets were looking for owners. Flyers were handed out with a chip that tracked consumers throughout the mall. Large LED screens placed throughout the mall strategically targeted those users as they shopped, feeding them a video of the same sweet dog – as if he were following them throughout their journey. Watch below to see how it played out!
The idea is that shopping centres need to develop better digital infrastructure in order to provide retailers with the proper tools to engage better with the consumer. Michael Krief, Group Information Systems Director at Hammerson stresses that in order for all this to happen, “we must move quickly from an analogue era to a digital world. We are talking about connecting not just WIFI, but phones, sound systems, car parking…everything. We must anticipate these changes, as they are coming so rapidly.”
Another highlight of the day was the Food & Beverage panel powered by sister show, MAPIC Italy. Food and Beverage is without doubt, the star of retail at the moment, set to account for nearly 50% of traffic into our shopping malls, according to Ezio Balarini from Autogrill. Jonathan Doughty, Head of EMEA at JLL Foodservice Consulting, made it clear when he said, “What’s happened in the last 10 years, is nothing compared to what we can expect to see in the next 10”. What can we expect in terms of food trends? Have a look at this slide from Autogrill’s Ezio Balarini:
The Leisure and Shopping conference brought in quite a crowd as well, with entertainment heavy weights like QuibaAMF, KCC Entertainment Design, Mont Hill, iP2Entertainment, Theleisureway, DEDEM AUTOMATICA and National Geographic all on board to convince us how important entertainment is to not only lure in visitors, but to keep them in our shopping centres for longer periods.
Reinhart Viane, Business Development Director at KCC Entertainment Design, made a good point when he said, “Customers are looking for an experience – not to simply drain money from their pockets”. He stressed the importance in making your experience unique, with a true story that shoppers can identify with.
Joshua Wexler, Chief Executive of Fun at iP2Entertainment, emphasised the need to go a step further than simply creating memorable experiences. “We have to provide more than just a box of entertainment. We need to match it up and tie it in with the entire shopping experience throughout the mall”.