New report highlights digital future of shopping centres

A report published on Thursday (9 Oct) has outlined the need for landlords to future-proof shopping centres.  Published by trade body BCSC (British Council for Shopping Centres) and law firm Addleshaw Goddard, it says that landlords feel shopping centres are becoming more 'experiential', rather than venues to buy products.

Smartphones, smartwatches and beacons allow consumers to be tracked constantly and pay for goods without cash. This is allowing brands to harvest huge amounts of data about their shopping habits.

The emergence of wearable jewellery, mood-reading dresses, augmented reality mirrors and 3D printing also opportunities to attract shoppers back to the physical store, and at the same time give retailers large amounts of data to better target people.
Interactive mapping apps could soon provide tailored personal shopping guides, with recommendations designed to increase spending. Beacons, which send and receive signals from Bluetooth devices, are also growing in popularity as a means of sending vouchers and tracking people.
Shopping centres are set to become test beds for tech innovation, the report says, but landlords will also need to comply with increasingly tough laws on data protection and privacy.
The fundamentals of retail property will always be driven by rents generated via space. But the lines between the landlord and retailer’s domains are being increasingly blurred. Increased collaboration between landlords, retailers and innovators will lead to a greater focus on experience which, many hope, will take physical shopping into a new era of certainty.
Jane Hollinshead, partner at law firm Addleshaw Goddard, who commissioned the report, said: "The recession and move to online shopping clearly meant both retailers and landlords were forced to change their approach. But companies need their customers to interact in a hands-on fashion with their brands. New technology takes this to a whole new level and what we’re seeing is a genuine blurring of online and offline shopping."

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