BCSC: Another year, another view.

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BCSC: Another year, another view.

BCSC 2012 in Liverpool did not disappoint, with record numbers, a combined delegate list and the conference focusing on fresh perspectives and the industries adaption to change.  It is a topic close to our hearts at Innesco.  We are all passionate about constantly challenging strategies and adapting to the next generation concepts, especially relating to how we communicate with shoppers and retailers – and attract them to our clients schemes.

The combination of both the leasing and centre directors for 2012 was indeed a huge success; a decision well thought through by the BCSC team.  Not only was it great to see past colleagues of mine from CSC, it was great to see the how the infusion of both perspectives added a dynamic approach to questions and topics throughout the conference.  Although we all approach the topic from a specific angle, one element holds true for all of us  – footfall is king, and adapting to customers’ needs is essential.

Andy Davey, Centre Director from the Mall Corporation took our seminar group through a raft of interesting statistics relating to our industry and the ACE awards.  Only 69% of malls have customer service desks and this is decreasing year on year.  What does this say about our industry stance on putting our customers first?  Only 31% of requests and questions on Twitter and Facebook get answered.  Do our malls have these social platforms for show rather than understanding their power?  I believe both of these items should be the top of the agenda for any centre marketing team and will be something our digital team at Innesco will be focusing on.

A real crowd puller at this year’s BCSC was Mary Portas’s keynote session held earlier today.  With a room full of nearly 500 delegates Mary proved that freedom of speech and opinion are part of her charm.  Questioning whether the government are actually backing the ‘town centre first’  concept  or using her name and the entire project as a PR stunt was a real surprise to those listening.  Her adamance that the government does not fund her work in this area was made very clear and raised concern about the ability to drive these ideas forward.  Plus her thoughts on the need for increased planning restrictions for out of town schemes.  With every £1 spent in the UK 50p is spent on groceries this does raise the question of whether out of town supermarkets are responsible for displacing our high streets.  Pressure was firmly placed on local councils and supermarkets to work together to consider a new approach in this arena.  It will be interesting to see what the next 12 months brings for the Portas Pilots.

All in all, a thought provoking conference which opened up conversations and business.  We look forward to 2013 and seeing what Glasgow has to offer.

Michelle Moffitt, Associate Director

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