MALL operators are turning to the power of storytelling to animate their spaces. A perfect example is a groundbreaking deal between French landlord Apsys and Warner Bros. that will see a Batman-themed attraction at one of Apsys’ Paris malls. The scheme was unveiled at the MAPIC and conference session Activating Brands and Spaces: the Power of Storytelling.
Apsys will bring Batman Gotham City Adventures to a 2,000-sq m space in Paris in 2022. The format was the brainchild of escape room specialist Dama Dreams. Co-Founder David Harari told the conference: “It’s taken a year to finish the deal and sign contracts with Apsys and Warner Bros, but even before that we worked on the storytelling and then took the idea to Warner. We knew they wanted to do live entertainment and we though Batman was perfect for the format. It’s an 80-year-old IP.”
Omnichannel gathers speed in the pandemic
COVID-19 has accelerated a trend that was already moving towards omnichannel retail, but the enforced closure of stores and a wider reluctance among some shoppers to visit crowded places has forced retailers to embrace digital shopping.
We have seen a huge shift over the past three years. The beauty consumers of today are digitally savvy and are now buying through both channels – Soumia Hadjali, chief digital officer for EMEA
The conference session People & Digital: A New Chapter, heard a case study from Sephora, the global beauty and cosmetics giant, which has put omnichannel at the heart of its proposition. Soumia Hadjali, chief digital officer for EMEA, said: “We have seen a huge shift over the past three years. The beauty consumers of today are digitally savvy and are now buying through both channels.” She revealed that 81% of Sephora’s shoppers used digital before heading to the store, adding: “They expect a seamless experience.”
And she said out that this process is happening fastest in the UK, where 32% of all retail sales have now migrated online. “Becoming the best omnichannel player is really important for us – it’s a key point of difference.”
Dark stores are the new economy
How stores fit into the era of ‘new retail’ was debated at an afternoon session at MAPIC, as a panel of experts looked at how many of the top international retailers are using their shops as fulfillment centres – in a session entitled The Impact of New Retail on Logistics.
Vincent Gufflet, chief operations and services officer at retailer Fnac Darty, said that one of the main changes since the pandemic is that “things are moving four-to-five times faster” than they used to. He also said that sustainability had become a priority for consumers. “What is clear is that there needs to be a synergy between online and offline,” he said.
Berker Yagci, chief expansion officer and general manager, France, for super-fast food delivery specialist Getir, discussed the role of dark stores as a concept around which a business can be built. “Dark stores are very much the new economy,” he said. “But ultimately the consumer will decide how everything fits together.”
Leisure should never be about filling space
As part of LeisurUp, a morning Leisure Workshop brought together delegates for the event A New Chapter for People and Places.
Before Fri Forjindam, chief development officer at Mycotoo, discussed some of the design considerations related to leisure concepts, Yael Coifman, senior partner, Leisure Development Partners, outlined the thinking behind considering a leisure development.
To introduce leisure, it must be about adding value. You should never bring in leisure just to fill space – Yael Coifman, senior partner, Leisure Development Partners
Coifman warned delegates of the complexity of developing a leisure destination and said: “To introduce leisure, it must be about adding value. You should never bring in leisure just to fill space.”
Looking at some of the recent trends, she cited the increasing use of pop-up leisure concepts, which are not only a cost-effective way of trialing formats but are also good at attracting repeat visitors.
International investors target Italy
The day concluded with the Italy Forum: Back to the Future, as one of MAPIC’s most important participant countries showcased some of the schemes that will help define the next generation of mixed-use projects. Delegates heard that physical retail sales rebounded at the end of 2021 after challenging times during the pandemic.
Opening up the session, department director of the Italian Trade Agency said that he hoped Italy would become “the place to be in the future” for investors and retailers post-pandemic.
“The important thing for the industry now is to be transparent,” Roberto Zoia, chairman of industry body CNCC said. “The good news is that the market is active and that we are establishing trust with international investors.”
And discover other articles from MAPIC live coverage:
- Leisure, sustainability and phygital are day-one buzzword
- Outlet sector show growth despite the pandemic
- Firms get down to business now MAPIC’s back in town