Move Commercial – issue number 31Digital Manager
Take a look at Innesco Account Director, Euan Blake’s latest ‘The Word on the Street’ column in Move Commercial. Look out for future editorial articles from the Innesco team in collaboration with Move Commercial and for the latest residential news and properties available in the North West, check out its sister publication‘Your Move’. For copies of both publications or to advertise your North West commercial and residential properties, please call Fiona Barnett on 0151 709 3871. — From Move Commercial THE WORD ON THE STREET… At the end of April, Innesco attended a London breakfast panel debate organised by leading speaker agency JLA and listened to an industry expert panel debate the major trends that are changing consumerism and business. Amongst a panel of business leaders and politicians was ex-Transport Secretary Lord Adonis who played a crucial part in the HS2 project, Linda Davidson who developed the first BBC sites and launched E4 before becoming European IT Director for Discovery and Bill Grimsey the ex-CEO of Wickes, Focus and Iceland (amongst others). Bill’s key message was that some retailers would simply have too much property and floorspace to survive, especially those in troubled locations he referred to ‘tumbleweed parks’. Highlighting the sad demise of retailers including Woolworth’s and HMV, once the bastions of high streets and retail parks, Bill stated that multiple retailers will (if not already) need to seriously look at their property portfolio and even consider downsizing to showroom stores as click ‘n’ collect becomes prevalent with the mobile generation and multichannel shopping takes hold. Supporting his views, Bill pointed to Tesco’s recent property write-down of £804m on its UK property portfolio and exiting of the retail ‘space-race’. Lord Adonis stressed how the UK was literally shrinking through technological advances and significant improvements in infrastructure. The High Speed 2 rail network will be another game-changer as journeys between Birmingham and Central London will be under 35 minutes, Manchester to Central London will be around one hour and Scotland will be linked to London in just two and a half hours. Lord Adonis also stressed that reductions in travel time means cities are virtually shrinking for those travelling. The Crossrail in London will link the West (towns like Slough) to the East (Essex) in just 35 minutes, which will push house prices even higher on the London fringe close to Crossrail stations. It was Linda Davidson’s comments on the future of consumerism that struck a cord with the audience as she forecast that the battle for product sales will not be in the retail parks, the high streets or the big malls, but instead in the living room. As Tesco TV takes off and Sainsbury’s invest heavily in R&D into similar services, Linda explained the real battle for sales will be in customers living rooms. Just like gaming moved from the arcade to the home TV, the retail experience will do the same and supported by virtual currency like Nectar Cards. As highlighted, a number of interesting forecast trends came out of the talk as guests were privy to many new buzz terms, but most notably the new term that stuck with the audience was, ‘a glasshole’ – a person who wears the new Google Glass eyewear, another wonderful Americanism coming to a UK store soon! — RETAIL TECHNOLOGY TRENDS EXAMINED Bill Gates once said that, “we overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next 10.” In the retail property sector it is imperative for companies to predict and stay ahead of change. Innesco’s position within the sector gives the team a great insight on what will be the key trends, technologies and initiatives for the next decade. ‘E’ Commerce Is Becoming ‘Everywhere’ Commerce The digital and mobile phone revolution means that online shopping is not just being carried out in the comfort of peoples home, but is happening everywhere and anywhere. People now have the opportunities to shop where and whenever they like. The retail property sector cannot possibly fight this revolution, so instead needs to look at ways to join it. Pioneered by Land Securities many shopping centres across the UK are now offering free Wi-Fi and centre apps for mobile phones. This allows the centres to partner their retailers and showcase their promotions. Developer owners such as Hammerson, Land Securities and Westfield are also integrating this strategy with social media and Google product search. Shopping centres are also facilitating click and collect opportunities for their customers. Land Securities’ One New Change in London installed the first ever Amazon collection locker and retailers are now opening their first click and collect stores, including House of Fraser’s store at Grosvenor’s Liverpool One. These initiatives drive more footfall to the centres and give their retailers more flexibility. It is increasingly essential that they are incorporated into all shopping centres wider asset management strategies. Augmented Soon To Be Reality Augmented Reality (AR) is one of the most of the exciting new technologies being developed and Innesco believes that it will become one of the most important for our sector. AR is simply a view of a physical environment whose elements are modified through computer-generated sensory input, such as sound, video and graphics. It doesn’t replace the real world with a simulated one like VR, AR gives users a chance to experience a product on a different level, where they feel more connected and engaged by its marketing, and as a result, interested in the product. AR is already making an appearance on the boardroom tables of developers but retailers are tapping into the technology as well. The first shopping centre to try the technology was Hermes’ MK Centre, where visitors were able to search for and then download via their mobile phones virtual ‘balloons’ around the centre that rewarded them with escalating offers and prizes. The virtual balloons were located at varying parts of the centre on different days, encouraging exploration and loyalty. The campaign not only drove more visitors to the scheme’s website and app, it created an exciting interactive ‘experience’ for the visitors.