Nordicum - Real Estate Annual Finland 2015 - Page 40

Photo: Kesko Oyj / Matti Immonen Combining cutting-edge construction with commercial pull, shopping centre Veturi was Finland’s representative in the competition for the Nordic Shopping Center Award last year. Change the Game Shopping centres are becoming multipurpose experience hubs in order to win back the consumers With the pressure from e-trade, shopping centres are working hard to reinvent themselves. One way to succeed is to become ‘destinations’ in their own right. Around the world, many new shopping centres are incorporating a heavy dose of entertainment, restaurants and cafés to their mix to make their centres recreational in addition to strictly commercial; the idea is to drive frequency of visits and length-of-stay. In the USA, there’s talk of ‘retail entertainment centres’ (RECs), ‘retail-tainment’, ‘shoppertainment’ or ‘mall-tainment’ – which certainly means that consultants are awful at twisting words, but, more significantly, heralds the beginning of a whole new era for shopping centres. O ne of the most outspoken protagonists of this new age is Joe Pine, the author of The Experience Economy. According to Pine, what we’re doing today is we’re moving to an experience economy where what consumers want are experiences – memorable experiences which engage them in an inherently personal way. Appearing in October at Aulanko Property Investment Convention in Hämeenlinna, Finland, Pine showcased his perspectives on the changing face of retail. He argued that in order to succeed one must move away from commoditisation and get to the core 38 Nordicum of experience, because of the personal and unique nature of the experiences themselves: they can’t be duplicated or reduced to the lowest common denominator. Anchored on Authenticity Pine is especially keen on authenticity. In order to get “real from the genuine” there must be something special about the place itself. The magic of a place is a sum of two things: venue and event. This simply means that people love to go where the action is and the surroundings are pleasant enough. When Pine talks about heritage, he doesn’t mean that you have to have a medieval castle as your base of operations to have a rich history or a good story – he points to the success of Starbucks as an example of this. Critics say that the problem with selling experience is that people get used to it: there is always somewhere newer to go. But the shopping centres aren’t about to throw in the towel: according to International Council of Shopping Centers, in place of customary tenants, a new breed of tenants – grocery stores, fitness centres and even post offices – is emerging in the USA. In Finland, on the