MAPIC Director Nathalie Depetro explains, “Today, omni-channel is at the heart of the strategy of retail property professionals, positioning the physical point of sale as the vital component. This means that pure online retail players are increasingly looking at bricks & mortar trading, in the wake of Amazon opening its first physical bookstore in Seattle. We want to make this profound change the focus of discussions at MAPIC by selecting the O2O or Online-to-Offline as MAPIC’s main theme for this 22nd edition.”
According to AT Kearney’s The 2015 Global Retail E-Commerce Index , e-commerce has grown impressively on an international scale, as shown by the record IPO of the Chinese giant Alibaba in September 2014, which raised $25 billion. Yet 90% of sales in the US still occur in real shops. To continue to grow, pure online players will have to enter the world of real estate, which will gradually blur the boundary between physical and virtual shops.
This phenomenon was illustrated during an exclusive client and media event at Google France’s Paris headquarters. A panel of experts comprising Maeva Bessis, CEO,Lexception.com; Rémy Séréna, Flagship Head, Sensee.com; Gary Anssens, Founder & CEO, Alltricks.com and Delphine Merle, Retail Sales Director France,Unibail-Rodamco, discussed the added value for brands and e-tailers of having a physical point of sale, and clearly underscored consumer appetite for the social connections and fun offered by these sites.
L’Exception and Sensee, for example have chosen to set up shop in the centre of Paris and make the most of the opening of the new Forum des Halles to attract customers who do not necessarily know them already. Meanwhile, L‘Exception has designed its flagship store in Les Halles as a comprehensive activity space with a café area and one-off events such as exhibition openings, pop-up stores, etc. Similarly, Alltricks enables its customers to test bikes without leaving the shop by replicating real riding conditions (altitude, panoramas, etc.).
For pure players wishing to open a physical store, MAPIC is a gateway to the world of real estate, enabling them to address three major new challenges: finding the right location, choosing the most relevant format for its site (flagship, showroom, pop-up store, etc), and promoting the retail space to attract and retain customers.
Offering the best sites for retailers is part of MAPIC’s DNA. It hosts the biggest names in French and international retail real estate, including Klépierre, Sonae Sierra, ECE Projektmanagement, Wanda Group and Thor Equities.
This year, MAPIC is launching a new ‘Trends Hub’ pavilion to meet the challenges facing new pure players. As an exhibition and conference area, this pavilion will bring together experts in ‘retailtainment’ but also in digital to shed light on how to promote points of sales and drive up traffic.
MAPIC will also inaugurate a new pavilion for pop-up stands, where brands, e-tailers, retailers and start-ups will each have a half-day to present themselves for the first time at MAPIC with a view to having a physical presence in shopping centres.