EURO­PEAN & US RE­TAIL REALTY PLAY­ERS GET IN­NO­VA­TIVE TO SUR­VIVE THE E-COM­MERCE THREAT

Shopping Center News - - NEWSMAKER INTERNATIONAL -

In the US, Ama­zon re­cently pur­chased Whole­foods, a nat­u­ral and or­ganic gro­cery store with over 460 lo­ca­tions across North Amer­ica and the UK, in a $13.7 bil­lion (£10.6bn) cash trans­ac­tion, mak­ing clear its in­tent to tap into this new busi­ness model. The same com­pany also re­cently filed for a patent for ‘multi-level ful­fil­ment cen­tres’, bee­hive-like struc­tures that will ac­com­mo­date the land­ing and take-off of drones in dense ur­ban ar­eas.

Ex­perts pre­dict that, even­tu­ally, day-to-day shop­ping will move from the smart­phone screen to voice com­mand via per­sonal as­sis­tants like Alexa and Siri, who will or­der on­line au­to­mat­i­cally as and when re­quired with de­liv­ery via drones within a mat­ter of hours. ‘Shop & Go’, an­other Ama­zon con­cept, lets shop­pers down­load an app that al­lows them to en­ter a phys­i­cal store, se­lect items and sim­ply leave with­out pay­ing. Com­puter vi­sion and sen­sors track what items you’ve taken and your Ama­zon ac­count is later charged so no phys­i­cal money changes hands.

All this means that it is likely that shop­ping cen­tres and town cen­tres in­creas­ingly need to be­come places of ex­pe­ri­ence and a place for peo­ple to gather and so­cialise. In the US and Europe, land­lords of shop­ping cen­tres are re­act­ing fast with a vast ar­ray of in­ter­est­ing ex­pe­ri­ences be­ing at­tracted to cen­tres, such as ice skat­ing rinks, aquar­i­ums, go-kart tracks and ski slopes to name a few. Land­lords need to en­sure they have the cru­cial abil­ity to evolve and keep up with the pace that new in­no­va­tions will bring to the phys­i­cal re­tail space. En­cour­ag­ing con­sumers into phys­i­cal stores still plays a key part in in­flu­enc­ing their pur­chas­ing de­ci­sions, even if their ul­ti­mate pur­chase isn’t made there and then. Suc­cess­ful land­lords will be those who give re­tail­ers a space that al­lows them to cap­i­talise on these in­flu­ences.

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