Looking at the pay off of the latest edition of Mapic 2022 “Live, play, shop” it is clear that the marketing of shopping centers is evolving towards “experience”!
Digitalisation, even before the pandemic, is causing new demands for change both in the management of real estate and in that of management companies.
The questions from the smoking gun is for all actors are as follows:
- How do we imagine the shopping centers of the future?
- Will the ever-increasing use of online purchases declare their end, or will they also evolve?
- And if they evolve, how will they be able to accommodate new technologies?
- Which technologies will determine the future of retail and how are these changing the shopping experience?
" I believe we will see a drastic change in retail ," said Martin Lindstrom, a well-known branding expert. Surely the future of retail will be characterized by the integration of the latest technologies in the various dimensions of the business: from distribution and quality control to staff training, up to the planning of the shopping experience (both online and offline).
Retail is aiming to find an optimal balance between online and offline according to Martin Lindstrom who stated that "online shopping will have much more to do with the purchase and search phase of products " while the " traditional brick and mortar will become a showcase ” , a place where you can see and take hold of the goods already searched for and found online.
Regarding the business models that integrate online and offline, the so-called " click and mortar ", according to the expert there is already a certain balance between the two dimensions and an emblematic example in this sense is Amazon , which several years ago decided to open physical stores, creating Amazon Go, and more recently Amazon bookstores. Even traditional brick and mortar, however, are starting to enter the online world and, as Lindstrom said, " this balance will be found within two or three years ".
HOW WILL THE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE CHANGE (OR IS IT ALREADY CHANGING)?
Stores will become much more sensory according to Martin Lindstrom. " It will be like being transported to another universe, where the experience will be guided by entertainment and storytelling ," as he said.
" The world of retail will change because stores have to redefine their function of use, " said Giuseppe Stigliano, executive director Europe at AKQA. On the function of the stores he added:
"Are there still places enclosed by walls in which to store goods and wait on the threshold for someone to come and buy them?" Probably if we look at them like this we are doing the work of eCommerce, which however has no space constraints, no time constraints, no holidays, etc. ".
In this sense, to continue to offer added value to the consumer compared to the online store, the store must " be a place where the brand celebrated , where the product is staged, a place where the connected experience enhanced to the product or service ".
He goes on to say: "If we look at the way in which consumers are changing their expectations and desires when they go to a physical store, we find confirmation of the fall of the axiom that the purpose of a store must be the economic transaction ."
FROM ENTERTAINMENT TO SUSTAINABILITY: WHAT IS THE PHYSICAL STORE WORTH
Therefore, it would not be a very distant future, but a change already underway , which leads consumers to turn to a store not because they need it, but because they intend to live a specific experience, different from the online one, that is an experience that goes beyond functionality and aims at entertainment and strengthening the bond between brand and consumer.
Another important trend concerns sustainability , especially if we consider that, for example, Generation Z , which in the coming years will acquire ever greater importance in guiding trends in this sector, is particularly sensitive - according to studies and research - to environmental issues. compared to previous generations.
Multinationals have already moved in this direction by creating eco-friendly stores. In brand stores such as ZARA, technology is used to create sustainable design and eco-efficient stores that even reduce the consumption of water and electricity up to 30% or 40% less than in a traditional store. the end, it is always a question of exploiting the store as a privileged contact point to communicate a specific message about the brand and its identity, but also to establish an emotional bond with the customer, necessary for loyalty and for the improvement of the brand reputation. .
What, then, should the retail of the future be based on? consumers with three different mindsets can enter a store :
- locating : when the consumer knows what he wants and has the only need to buy a specific good and exit immediately;
- exploring : when the consumer has a specific need, « he knows he has to buy something but he doesn't know exactly what » and therefore he needs « an experience that helps him to make the right choices »;
- dreaming : when the consumer enters a shop because he « wants to be inspired or because the brand intrigues him , but has no real need. He just wants contamination , pleasure and fun ».
According to the expert, " the retail of the next few years will have to work on the second and third " category. "The retail of the future (in fact) is a retail that helps explorers to make the right choices and dreamers to have fun, to be inspired and that leads them to a purchase ".
Among the many possible technologies , proximity are the most ready to be applied: " beacons are often mentioned, that is devices that with a radio signal are able to communicate with applications " created ad hoc and then send personalized messages and targeted on consumers' mobile devices based on their position, " but at the same time also to monitor, to map the flows of people within the space ".
Therefore, there are many technologies that are already transforming the sector and the way of shopping, however it is necessary that retailers know how to exploit them in the right way to make them functional to increase brand loyalty and actually useful for consumers.