ICSC: International Council of Shopping Centers

Guestblog from Cushman & Wakefield: The shopping centre of the future

Publish Date: 08 September 2017

Topics: cushwake,ecommerce,europe,f&b

By Marta Esteves da Costa, Associate - Head of Research & Consultancy Portugal, Cushman & Wakefield

The shopping centre industry over the last decade has been forced to face competition from the increasingly attractive e-commerce platforms that has been shifting business from physical shops worldwide.  

The spectacular growth of e-commerce is questioning the status of the shopping centre as a dominant retail format. The success story of the industry, which has been adapting to changing market conditions since its rise in the 60´s, should however support a favourable outcome.

E-commerce has brought to the sector a ton of positive innovations, but lacks two elements increasingly demanded by consumers: a physical, interactive consumer experience and real social relationships.

E-commerce will never be able to offer these aspects of shopping to consumers.  

Shopping centres are extremely well positioned to provide customers with much more than the mere satisfaction of meeting a consumer need, which is the main attribute of e-commerce. Strategically placed in easily accessible, central locations and designed to receive millions of visitors every year, shopping centres should position themselves as real world leisure and socialisation spaces.

The foundations for shopping centres of the future has already started and points towards a new concept where social interaction and leisure play a dominant role. 

The enlargement and transformation of food courts and the F&B offering is a trend starting to rise in many shopping centres across the world. New concepts are being introduced like the recreation of traditional markets, street food concepts or fine-dining areas.

A novel approach towards leisure areas is another feature of this renewed concept. These should not only be conceived as children’s zones but also spaces targeting millennials and centennials... Investment in leisure areas will not only ensure greater public engagement but also help increase dwelling times.

Aligned with the commitment to leisure and culture, new management initiatives should arise to guarantee that shopping centres will continue to play a dominant role in their catchment areas as cultural meeting points.

Finally, technology should not be considered as a threat but as an ally. Embracing technology will enable the reality of a physical space to be associated with the technological improvements that are now winning the hearts and minds of consumers.

Find out more about the changing retail landscape in Portugal in our Marketbeat publication launching at ICSC Berlin.

Marta Esteves da Costa, Associate - Head of Research & Consultancy Portugal, Cushman & Wakefield

See More News