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Opinion

PERSONAL COMMENTARIES OF PLACEMAKING EXPERTS

Why has our industry been so willing to settle for boring? Asks Cindy Andersen, Managing Director at Ingka Centres. The endless rows of identical stores, the predictability of a food court’s menu, the steady drone of escalators… These conventions have been the traditional hallmarks of shopping center decline for decades. To stay relevant, we must evolve as an industry.

“Placemaking is the art of shaping a special destination and making an emotional connection with the visitor during his on-site experience,” states Steffen Hofmann, Managing Partner at ambas Real Estate GmbH, and Member of the ACROSS Advisory Board, in the latest “Industry Outlook 2024”.

“The outlet sector has demonstrated it has its eye firmly on the ball, as well as the capacity to anticipate, be agile, flexible and ready to meet whatever changes come next,” states Daniel Losantos, CEO of NEINVER, and Member of the ACROSS Advisory Board, in the latest “Industry Outlook 2024”.

“The fundamental change awaiting the Placemaking Industry is a shift towards exceptional agility and adaptability, driven by AI and ML,” states Markus Porvari, President and CEO at HyperIn, and Member of the ACROSS Advisory Board, in the latest “Industry Outlook 2024”.

“Opportunities will come if we develop strategies to change the rhythm of our assets, from a ‘shopping rhythm’ to a ‘community rhythm’,” states Ibrahim Ibrahim, Managing Director of Portland Design, and Member of the ACROSS Advisory Board, in the latest “Industry Outlook 2024”.

In a world dominated by online shopping, the role of brick-and-mortar retailers is at a critical turning point. The ACROSS Advisory Board discussion in Cannes shed light on a pressing issue – the need to re-educate consumers about the value of physical shopping experiences. Ben Chesser, CEO of Coniq, shares his view on the matter – a PropTech perspective.

“ESG and digitalization are here to stay and will have a continuous and long-term impact on how retail real estate is operated,” states Angelus Bernreuther, Head of Investor Relationship Management at Kaufland, and Member of the ACROSS Advisory Board.

There are a variety of ways that retail companies are cleverly utilizing artificial intelligence, states Marc Giovannini, founder of Omniaz. He highlights use cases, explains the growing interest, and discusses why hyped products like the much-anticipated Apple Vision Pro may be a push toward mass adoption, but are not the breakthrough product the industry is waiting for.

Online retail continues to change the shopping landscape, and people have adapted their leisure behavior as a result of the pandemic. Consequently, the role of shopping centers needs to be rethought. Shopping centers are no longer straightforward “shopping machines”, but must prove themselves as sustainable and versatile community centers, argues HBB.

“Placemaking does not have to be a complex configuration of multiple uses, but one that is seen as being in harmony with the people it wants to serve,” states Chris Igwe, Global Retail Expert, and Member of the ACROSS Advisory Board, in the latest “Industry Outlook 2024”.

“Investors are increasingly following high-quality, sustainable, and innovative assets that can provide unique and modern customer experiences,” states Christine Hager, Director of Property Management for Sonae Sierra in Germany, in the latest “Industry Outlook 2024”.

“Consistent (growth) performance is returning, but mainly for businesses and entities that truly stayed focused on relentlessly adapting and readapting,” states Henrik Madsen, Chief Executive & Transformation Officer at HMJ International Services Ltd., and member of the ACROSS Advisory Board in the latest “Industry Outlook 2024”.

In an age where businesses and consumers get bombarded with digital communications, relevant information must get to people at the right time. Any mall business that sends generic messages to its tenants or shoppers will quickly lose their interest. Digital platforms are fundamental to improving the performance of shopping malls and their tenants.

“Focusing on the guest experience is central to outlet centres’ outperformance,” states Otto Ambagtsheer, CEO of VIA Outlets, and member of the ACROSS Advisory Board, in the latest “Industry Outlook 2024”.

Festive lighting and seasonal decorations remain key to creating the right ambience and attracting visitors during the holiday season. By collaborating with a sustainably-minded festive lighting supplier that offers creativity, innovation, and experience, centers can achieve two objectives: They can support internal sustainability targets and maintain their positions as vibrant community hubs.

“Real estate is a long-term business so many of the challenges are long term in nature too,” states Rüdiger Dany, CEO of NEPI Rockcastle and member of the ACROSS Advisory Board in the latest “Industry Outlook 2024”.