Gaetano Graziano, Deputy Executive Chairman “ADCC” in Italy, trusts that technology can become a strong ally to survive the decline that shopping centers are facing today. “In the future, there must be a physical/virtual omnichannel point of sale model or a hybrid shopping center that equates its digital representation to the purely physical one”.
How would you describe the current situation of shopping centers?
Unfortunately, a period of irreversible decline has begun for many malls, a long-standing decline that has only been accelerated by the pandemic and runaway inflation resulting from the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine. This decline is due to those gray and cold boxes, located outside the urban zones, designed about 30 years ago, as a result of real estate policies without future urban and commercial planning.
Invest huge part of benefits on creating planned strategies for adapting to changes gradually.
What is the biggest problem or weakness that a shopping center has to face?
The main problem of the majority of shopping centers is having to adapt quickly, with improvements and innovations, to the socioeconomic changes that have occurred in the last 20 years, investing a huge part of their profits in quickly adapting to these changes, instead of to plan consolidated strategies that allow them to adapt gradually.
What role does technology play? How does it help a Shopping Center in the current situation?
Technology will be a key factor in making shopping centers more attractive, technology will help increase the level of service, improve the shopping experience and increase the link with digital consumers (native and non-native). Those who do not adapt will unfortunately be left out of any market logic.
Are you optimistic about the future of this sector? What do you think the mall of the future will be like?
When buying in shopping centers, the following actions are performed; looking at windows, entering stores, turning around, touching and above all trying clothes, these actions could be defined as the true DNA of commerce for centuries, which can never be totally replaced by technology, therefore, in the future, there must be a physical/virtual omnichannel point of sale model or a hybrid shopping center that equates its digital representation to the purely physical one.
Those who do not adapt will unfortunately be left out of any market logic.