The retail market event gathered more than 8.500 people, including 2.000 retailers, from 80 countries, who focused their attention on the convergence between digital and the way retailers can improve their consumers’ and visitors’ experiences.
The sector is unanimous: the retail industry must embrace change in order to transform shopping centres and traditional retail into multi-experience urban destinations which combine leisure, sports, food, new technology, health care and well-being.
Cristophe Cuvillier, Group Chief Executive Officer at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, one of the keynote speakers at MAPIC, believes that physical shops still have a positive impact on online traffic and sales, and defends that the future will be about omnichannel: «people want comfort, experiences and services, and the physical shops increase online sales». The introduction of new concepts and the avoidance of customers becoming «bored» are some of the greatest challenges shopping centres’ owners face.
On the other hand, Nicolas Standaert, Founder and CEO of Nearbuy Group, believes that «retailers are still too focused on sale strategies, instead of improving the customers’ experience», and that is something that should change gradually.
Melina Cordero, Head of Global Retail Research at CBRE, noted that millennials in particular are buying more through the available channels«they like to search online, try on the shop and buy on a smartphone. They still seek the shop for the knowledge and experience».
Evidence of these new trends was shown by Amazon, Vente-Privée Entertainment, MADE.com or Zalando at MAPIC, while debating the convergence between the physical and online channels. For these companies, one of the main priorities is distribution’s «final mile».
Nathalie Depetro, from MAPIC, comments that «clearly retail is being challenged under the current disruptive climate, but we saw at the event people who focus more on solutions for development. Online and offline will co-exist, new F&B, leisure, sports, health and entertainment concepts will become increasingly important in the shopping centre experience, and will become increasingly important in the MAPIC community».