The shopping journey enters a new lap as the economic and technological shifts change the market. The relationship building replaces the transactional nature of the business and takes the driver’s seat. The comprising steps of the journey, whether it be offline or online, have come to unification to elevate the consumer engagement in order to deepen the relationship.
A large numbers of stores saw the closure due to this combining effect, bringing the attention to the impending retail apocalypse. These included stores from Best Buy, Walmart‘s Sam’s Club division and Toys R Us. This implies that the industry is shifting the belief system and the end is near for brick-and-mortar outlets. This calls for an action from the retailers, and they have in fact gone on the offensive mode instead of defending, and are using the technology to attract the consumers to shop both online and offline.
According to the One Mega Mall owner, the technology and real estate must combine together in order to support an evolving retail market. In the similar line of statement to the CNBC, Steven Lowy, CEO- Westfield Co said, the current consumer expects to be very well serviced with technology. According to Lowy, this expectation is growing with time and thus the retailing industry has to adapt and evolve to the new environment.
Westfield got a deal of roughly $15.8 billion from a Europe-based commercial landlord, Unibail-Rodamco. Lowy will lead the real estate/tech incubator Westfield Labs as the deal might get finalized later this year. Westfield Labs is breaking off and transforming into One Market. Lowy will work alongside the current CEO, Don Kingsborough, who leads the division within Westfield. Lowy added that the main purpose and the vision is really to create a global network and platform to bring in the brands, venue partners, retailers and technology partners.
The technology is needed for many purposes like financial payments and visual merchandising. Understanding the customer’s behaviour pattern is now a prerequisite for the companies and they are excelling in it with the time even before the customer makes a purchase.
In his interview, Lowey said, the retail world is progressing and evolving at a much faster pace than expected. Regarding his approach towards the change, he revealed, “This trend came in our vision a decade ago and we started a conscious effort to shift our capital into the better malls in great cities, also we were getting off the malls which didn’t appeared to have a bright future”. He further added that the bankruptcies of retailers happened as they basically missed on to the new trends and failed to service their customers properly in a way they preferred.
The ones who ignored the changing shopper landscape, the mall owners who refused to invest in their properties are the ones struggling today. GGP, Macerich and Simon are some of the real estate investment trusts that have been termed as the best in the business for bringing in Untuckit and Casper like e-commerce brands, which offered their tenants more data on shoppers’ behaviour after installing traffic counters and other geo-fencing tools, and for improving customer service all around.
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