Experience essential in post-corona retail

The analysis shows a number of new trends that fit into the emerging Experience Economy, including the combination of physical and digital: The Phygital.

By creating a mix of digital and physical contact moments with the consumer, brands can respond to changing consumer behavior. Another trend is the emerging popularity of the Drive-in Experience, where consumers can still enjoy events, concerts, exhibitions and even retail from their own safe environment.

Because we really wanted to do things differently, Westfield Mall of the Netherlands was developed with experience as one of the central principles

According to Bart van Twillert, Country Manager at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, the study clearly shows how the retail sector must adapt in order to maintain its right to exist: ‘In the Netherlands, people often talk about experiences in the context of retail, but it is called seldom actually used. That is very unfortunate because this development offers so many opportunities that can make retail more interesting and fun. Because we really wanted to do things differently, Westfield Mall of the Netherlands was developed with experience as one of the central principles. This meant that from the start we wanted to offer more than just shops. We expect to be able to offer people an experience by developing FRESH, where you can eat delicious fresh food, or The Gallery, where you will find the latest shopping trends. “

According to Chris Sanderson, co-founder of The Future Laboratory, the study clearly shows the upheaval for the retail sector: “After the first lockdowns from the corona era, shops must once again prove their added value to the consumer. This means that they cannot simply continue to focus on merely selling products in the same way. However, the crisis also offers a number of new opportunities to make a difference and add extra value to products: our research shows that the easiest way is by adding an experience to the shopping experience. A good example is the Fest store in Amsterdam, where you can watch series in a home cinema to offer the best test experience of their furniture. “

In the shop

In addition, according to Sanderson, it is also important that brands and shops take control of their sales processes: “The time when you try to sell products for the lowest price through various digital sales channels is a dead end for retailers. Our research shows that brands can make a lot more difference by selling their most beautiful products in the store. Consumers benefit from this because they can choose better and retailers can get a fair price for their products. “

Be at home

He also sees a third big opportunity that retailers can seize in the new reality: “People are now more than ever looking for an escape from their daily lives in which they are more often at home than before. This offers a huge opportunity for retailers to shape the character of their store into an environment where people can let go of daily life. It is precisely in this way that you can add value for the current consumer as a retailer. So this crisis really offers opportunities, and I am curious if and how brands and malls will seize these opportunities in the near future. “

In the coming period, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, together with The Future Laboratory, will continue to investigate how consumer preferences change and how retailers can respond to them through webinars.

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