Shopping experience is the key to success for shopping centers

Shopping experience is the key to success for shopping centers


Highlight for the conference "The Magic Circle of Retail", organized by AECC - Spanish Council of Shopping Centers and Retail Parks, which took place on November 15.  According to the participants in this debate, shopping center promoters need to create the fun shopping experience because the buying impulse is not the same as it was.  The key is “experience, experience, experience”, according to Jorge Alonso, Design Architect & Planner at Chapman Taylor. However, he admits that "we do not know for sure what will happen in the future, because the way you buy is evolving and changing very fast".

Fernando Tendero, of the Vips Group, affirms that "the new shopping centers that are emerging in Spain are thinking about their leisure and catering areas, are trying to attract people to these areas because they are concerned with e-commerce. They believe that one of the major assets of shopping centers may be catering and leisure. We are in a good position to make these decisions in these new shopping centers, as well as in the expansions.”

Victor Fernandez, Asset Manager of Merlin Properties, as the same opinion, according to whom Merlin is also betting in the areas of leisure and catering in Spain. In their new shopping centers, “we have the opportunity to start from the beginning”.

Carlos Pilar, Business Development Director of Carmila Spain, believes that "it’s necessary to create something different in new projects (from scratch or expansion), such as innovation, technology and new experiences, differentiated offer for catering, aroma branding, audio branding, trying to interact the most with the visitors. The idea is to create this kind of innovation and new experiences for customers, because at the end of the day, the offer is quite the same”.

And online is not always seen as an enemy. For HEMA, represented in the debate by Richard Flint, International Director, it’s a complement: "We support customers who explore our site, who interact on social networks, and encourage them to visit the stores where they can meet their needs, even if they have already bought online. The decision to open new physical spaces results, actually, from what customers tell us online”, he explained.

Also worthy of mention is the tourism boom that is seen at a global level, a matter also debated on this occasion, which also has an unquestionable impact on shopping centers, which should be known. According to Alfonso Garcia, of Theleisureway, it is necessary to "foster innovation and experience so that shopping centers are also obligatory tourism destinations".

This topic, and mainly the F&B area, is one of MAPIC's main highlights of the year, because "a third of consumers say they only visit shopping centers to eat or drink. Catering services are turning shopping centers into gathering and lifestyle centers, and studies show that those who eat or drink spend more time in the mall, and consume about 18% more,”  explains the director of the event, Nathalie Depetro, to VI. "Consumers want their shopping experience at the mall to be easy, enjoyable and even memorable”.

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