Love of eating out is a big piece of the future of retail


The future of retail will be driven by the need for increased social connections and the unique experiences, particularly those offered by food and beverage, according to international retail experts.

Australian-based retail expert, Suzee Brain, director of Brain and Poulter, told  the 400-strong audience at the New Zealand Council of Shopping Centres 2017 Retail Conferenced how food and beverage trends are changing the way we shop.

“Food, along with international fashion, is one of the glimmers continuing to build growth in the retail sector.”

Creating niche food experiences; anytime, anywhere dining; and how technology is changing the way food is served, delivered, and consumed offers huge opportunities for retailers.

New York-based retail futurist Howard Saunders from Twenty Second & Fifth agreed.

“What will kick-start your centres is food and beverage.

“There has been an absolute revolution.

“Social spaces and premium food halls are on the rise, so are brand playgrounds selling more than just the product.

“Big data is going to help, as it will curate and augment our experience.

“It will bring us back humanity.

“We are an innately social species, that will never change, we will always seek out community.

“Retailers need to work out how they bring customers back, and make them centre stage.”

Dr Sean Sands from Monash University in Melbourne explained how even with the rise of online retail, brick and mortar retail is here to stay.

Brick the new black

“Brick is the new black.

“You cannot be a purely online or purely offline you need to blend the two worlds.

“We are hunters and need evidence of the kill.

“We like to touch, we like to see, and we want the excitement of the experience.

“Retailers are in the perfect place to capture consumers time outside of work.

“The question is how do you get people to dwell, to stay and then how do you make sales out of that?

“We are moving from selling commodities to experience and integrating this into stores.

“There is also a focus on educating the customer about the origin of the product to create a more diverse and engaged experience.

“Only one retailer can be the cheapest.

“For everyone else there is experience.”

New Zealand Council of Shopping Centres chair, Campbell Barbour, said that whilst retail is changing New Zealand retail centres are constantly evolving and responding.

“It is essential we understand and deliver on what our customers want.

“No longer do people have to go to the shops, so we need to ensure that they want to come to our places for a wide variety of reasons including to shop.”