William Kistler, Executive Vice President & EMEA Managing Director, ICSC
Once upon a time, the marketplace was the centre of commerce. Traders brought their wares to the centre of town. They knew their customer, and traded gossip along with goods. When the marketplace moved into more permanent “stores”, these places became the heart and soul of cities.
Today, e-commerce offers an alternative to location-based commerce. When people know what they need and can get it without leaving the comfort of home, why go to a store? Add indifferent, ill-informed service and you have a recipe for the success of e-commerce.
Retailers that underestimated the appeal of online shopping are the fodder for frontpage stories of “retail armageddon”. Less newsworthy are stories of reinvention, innovation and “bricks and clicks” success. Those that understand the power of place to excite, engage and inspire are leading a renaissance in how and where we shop.
Nespresso stores exemplify this evolution. They are temples of experience, a brand showcase where you can touch, see, smell and even taste their product. While happy for you to buy something, the outlet also wants you to engage with the brand and buy both in-store and online. This halo effect of physical stores driving increased online sales is well documented.
Thriving retail, dining and leisure places are more essential than ever to the vitality of cities. They have been the catalyst for city centre regeneration from Bristol to Birmingham and across Europe. They have brought life back to cities, helping to attract new jobs, residents and investment. Great retail places have unique power to create and sustain successful communities!