As has already been broadly discussed, the commercial real estate industry has been forced to adapt to a new and completely different reality from the one we used to know. It can be said with confidence that the most important challenge was finding the way to adapt to uncertainty: professionals in the shopping centre industry had to adopt new hygiene safety measures and protocols, brands were forced to close their spaces totally or partially and had to reinvent themselves due to the decrease in sales.
In the retail industry, not only have sales decreased, but the different brands stopped investing in advertising and marketing efforts. Besides, the space in shopping centres was also reduced due to capacity restrictions and safety distance. Far from intimidating us, these difficulties prompted us to generate new initiatives to get ahead.
Some of the measures we consider mandatory to keep the ball rolling in the industry include the implementation of temporary stores, such as pop-up stores, stands, kiosks —which integrate an inviting environment and an unforgettable customer experience while reducing the vacancy rate in shopping centres thanks to its flexible characteristics—, the investment in advertising and digital communication channels that give place to the direct interaction between shopping centres and customers.
Even though this year may not have started as expected, we are optimistic that from now on —and due to the positive impact of the vaccination campaigns— the economic activity will recover. The post-pandemic commercial scenario should be considered an opportunity to keep growing and empower our business area by building creative solutions and opening new commercial paths in the world of specialty leasing and brand events. This approach will undoubtedly provide added value to shopping centres and commercial areas.
The good news is that technology is on our side and we can make use of its many tools. This way, the development of new digital channels, for instance, will contribute to a closer relationship with brands. One thing is for sure: the way of developing commercial activities has changed and it is necessary to avoid being left behind. An excellent way of achieving this goal is establishing such an innovative approach as digital channels in the specialty leasing area.
With this new scenario, the specialty leasing department becomes even more relevant, as it makes available a great variety of possibilities, and works closely with other departments involved in the operation of the shopping center. Let’s take this historical global change as an opportunity to reinvent the industry and gain momentum to succeed while improving the customer experience by creating attractive and innovative environments that meet their expectations.