ACROSS | The European Retail Real Estate Magazine

Opinion

Uncertainty Brings Opportunity — Unleash the Innovation Power

Our shopping journeys might look radically different in the foreseeable future.

By Marrit Laning

I might choose to use artificial intelligence to guide my shopping tours or even shop in virtual reality rather than the physical environment, as products could be delivered almost instantly to my home through driverless vehicles or drones. Or… would I not? This is a question that occupies my mind frequently.

Marrit Laning , Head of Research & Strategy at Redevco Image: Redevco

Marrit Laning , Head of Research & Strategy at Redevco
Image: Redevco

Technological innovations can help create locations that continue to attract a shopping crowd.

Look at self-driving cars and drone technology, which could help solve certain mobility issues and reduce the number of parking spaces required, making way for other uses of the space.

These are also often electric and therefore cleaner than our current transport. Augmented reality can be applied in ways that add to an experience; layering information onto a physical environment enriches the actual space and could, for example, help shoppers make choices of what best to buy.

Digitalization and big data can hugely improve the experience in a shop, on a street, or in a center, as the combination of artificial intelligence and the vast amounts of data we collect can provide the consumer with a tailor-made and exceptional shopping journey.

Not all of what will be possible will become a part of our daily lives, however. Predicting adoption rates for different technologies is more of an art than a science. Nevertheless, the current wave of innovation is too important to ignore…

Moreover, I am convinced that the level of innovation that occurs within property companies will become an important determinant of future success. As real estate investment managers and property owners, we are confronted with a business context that is increasingly risky and more unpredictable.

Our tenants face enormous uncertainty as structural changes are sweeping across the retail landscape. With the rise of e-commerce, location risk has leapt up the agenda. We need to work harder to retain the attractiveness of streets, centers, and properties as retail destinations.

It is important to understand these challenges and identify the opportunities, enabling us to adapt our property offerings to the needs of our retail clients. We know the internet is a key driver of the intensifying “experience and convenience” market polarization trend and creates a new “retail state of mind” in which consumers shift from a “need-to-buy” to a “need-to-enjoy.”

Image: Redevco

Image: Redevco

As shoppers become much more demanding in what they expect of shopping venues and surrounding environments, we need to ensure that our investment choices address their needs in a more holistic way.

What it comes down to is making our locations, streets, centers, and properties as future-proof as possible. What if we made better use of technology? We bricks & mortar people also need a new (retail) state of mind and to start the shift towards becoming technology and innovation lovers.

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