Customer experience comes to the fore at Mapic 2018

The buzz word at Mapic 2018 was customer 'experience' as 8,500 delegates including over 2,000 retailers came together on the Cote d’Azur for the 24th edition of the Cannes exhibition. 

With ‘physical in the age of digital’ the central theme of Mapic 2018, opening keynote speaker and Mapic lifetime achievement award recipient Christophe Cuvillier, group CEO of Unibail Rodamco Westfield, made the case for bricks and mortar stores and the opportunities of omnichannel retailing.

In a conversation with veteran retail real estate expert Chris Igwe, Christophe Cuvillier said that opening physical stores had a direct and positive impact on online traffic and sales. 'Everyone of us is a click and mortar customer. The future is connected retailing. People want comfort, experience and services. Physical stores drive internet sales.'

He added that one of the biggest challenges facing shopping mall landlords is to provide new concepts and new names to prevent customers becoming bored and that Unibail Rodamco Westfield rotates 10% of its retailers every year, in every mall.

'There is no other way forward than to work more closely with retailers', he added.

Parallel summits
The first ever leisure summit took place on the eve of Mapic, with 225 delegates taking part. Clifford Warner, chairman of entertainment strategy and leisure design agency Mycotoo commented: 'We are seeing a shift where spaces are designed for the parents and the activities are designed for the kids.'

Meanwhile, on 13 November, the second edition of the international outlet summit hosted over 300 delegates, highlighting the growing importance of the segment. Fabien Stultz, senior director of real estate, construction and facilities at Nike EMEA said the company is redefining its 140-strong outlet store model to be more experience-led. ;Discounts are no longer just in outlet centres,' he commented.

For the first time at Mapic, e-commerce heavyweights including Amazon, Vente-Privée Entertainment, and Zalando took to the Mapic stage to discuss the convergence between physical and digital commerce.

One of the strategic priorities of the e-commerce giants is delivery, particularly the final mile. In France, Amazon is forging ahead with the development of its logistics network and collection ‘lockers’ around the country. Speaking to Mapic delegates, Amazon’s Director of Operations, France, Ronan Bole, noted that the company’s priority is to take goods to shoppers, not shoppers to goods.

'Clearly retail is challenged in the current disruptive climate but what was noticeable this week was that people were talking about solutions and potential for development,' concluded Mapic’s Nathalie Depetro. 'Online and offline will co-exist, new concepts in food and beverage, leisure, sport, health and entertainment will become increasingly important in the overall shopping experience and increasingly important as part of the MAPIC community.'

The next Mapic events are Mapic Italy and Mapic Food in Milan, May 8-9, 2019.


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