This year was the first time, since MAPIC launched in 1995, that professionals across the retail and leisure industry did not meet in Cannes. 2020’s theme of Collaborative Retail was set before the year’s extraordinary circumstances unfolded, but never has a year asked for the retail industry to collaborate quite like this one, and it feels like there is appetite ready to change the rules.

The Innovation Forum is always a buzzy area at MAPIC, with delegates keen to hear about the key tools and latest tech offerings, so we were glad to be part of the Innovation panel at MAPIC DIGITAL. ART Software Group Director, Gareth Jordan discussed our analytics platform Retail Advantage and fresh approaches to data collection. Innovative approaches to leasing were also the order of the day’s discussion, with property owners, landlords and retailers keen to create more collaborative models. Matt Thompson, Head of Retail Strategy at Colliers International led the panel which also included Angela Maurer, Head of Innovation at Landsec and Maxim Karbasnikoff, Head of Retail & Property Management at ADG.

Lockdown gave destination teams the time to launch new innovative products much more quickly, which in turn is leading to new data feeds. Another angle that the last six months have highlighted is the people on the front lines of the industry and retail destination teams adapting to the changing consumer in an ever-changing situation, so Gareth Jordan of ART reiterated the important part that tech has to play: “I think what is important, going forward, particularly as we gain access to more data – that there needs to be a much more people-centric approach to ensure insights get to the people that need them, and that tools cater to the needs of individual users and their specific tasks and roles.”

From the use of data to find pinch points and design Covid-secure one way systems to data that supports the creation of shopping malls like neighbourhoods with community tools, the group agreed that it is integral to stay close to the consumer and constantly measure the impact of different actions and initiatives to understand where strategy needs to change.

Matt Thompson of Colliers raised the landlord/occupier relationship, which has been redefined this year, and the role that data has to play in improving this relationship with greater transparency. Angela Maurer, shared learnings from discussions that Landsec has had with their retailers, and commented: “it was really clear that in terms of the partnership that we need to have going forward – given the big structural challenges that we have in retail – that we can only solve these if we work together, and that includes the sharing of data… which was quite a defining moment.” Angela explained that unanimously everyone agreed that we have got to work together: “There is the community of consumers, but there is also the community of your retail businesses.”

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Image Courtesy of Mapic & LeisurUp Digital

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