JS: At Vicinity you talk about reimagining places of the future and creating places where people can connect. How do you achieve that?
RG: At Vicinity we spend a lot of time getting to know our local community – who they are and what they need. For us to be successful, we need to balance our unique and local insights with wider universal and social trends. For example, a big trend that we’re responding to is about ‘one place’. The customer no longer wants to have one place to live, another place to work and another place to play; they want it all, and they want it all on one place. This is about blending uses and being able to serve the whole person and create a place where everyone feels included.
JS: What role does technology play in helping you to innovate in your centres?
RG: What we’re seeing is the increased ability to access data and insight in our stores and then using that insight to think about who is shopping and how we provide better spaces for them. We’re also seeing some big innovations come forward such as augmented reality, which is likely to take a larger role in the future in our shopping centres to make shopping easier for customers.
Smart mirrors have been talked about for a long time, and they are starting to hit the market.
With a touch of a button the consumer can have a virtual shopping experience with on-screen sizing, colour options and connections to the staff on the shop floor. Also, there is a move towards personalised navigation, so the use of robotic shop assistants to help customers find products that they are looking for and to inform them about offers and tailor specific offers to customers.
This post was extracted from Exchange, Make’s thought leadership series which explores some of the challenges and trends that the property industry is encountering. Issue No. 2 looks at retail and is available to download.