I had the pleasure of speaking at the UK Shopping Centre Management Conference 2013 yesterday on social media and e-commerce, and the implications for retail and real estate. The conference had a record 400+ attendees and had an excellent agenda of speaking and panel sessions, in addition to networking and knowledge sharing breaks. The theme of my short slot centred around the merging of the virtual and physical space, in terms of social interaction and commercialisation.
Facebook’s daily active population at 665m ranks it third as a ‘country’ after China and India, Amazon generates revenues in excess of £4bn in the UK alone (>1% UK sales and growing) and they are also now straying into the online grocery market in the US. What happens next remains to be seen. For now, both social media and ecommerce are making their marks on retail and are likely to continue to do so from here on.
We are seeing a rapid merging of social media, e-commerce and physical retail, the potential for s-commerce, but the continued importance of the physical environment. In some instances we are seeing the emergence of ecommerce coming into the physical space (see Kate Spade/ ebay initiative in the US). We need to embrace the virtual world, to compliment it, or to truly differentiate to out-perform.
Unfortunately I was unable to stay for the entire conference, but from conversations I had with delegates and following updates on Twitter #scmc13, my take-away would be, that the market has accepted that change is here, and we are seeing an increasing willingness and appetite in the market to re-write the rulebook and to adapt.
Until next year’s event (or the Annual Showcase in Sept 13 , I hope as an industry we can continue the conversation in cyberspace. Whilst the BCSC LinkedIn group only ranks above the Vatican in population terms, with 2200+ members, it is a great place for us to continue the conversation, on what’s around the corner.
Well done BCSC and The Shopping Centre and thank you.