Over 80 countries came together in Cannes to discuss how retailers and property owners are deploying new services to enhance the customer experience.
"We are seeing a shift where spaces are designed for the parents and the activities are designed for the kids."
~Clifford Warner, Chairman of entertainment strategy and leisure design agency Mycotoo.
Customer experience remained the buzzword at MAPIC this year. From the current retail trends to introducing the new gourmet concept, 8,500 delegates including over 2,000 retailers came together on the Cote d'Azur to discuss it all. MAPIC has a high influence on the retail and the real estate business. Over 80 countries came together at Cannes for the 24th edition of MAPIC 2018 to discuss how retailers and property owners are deploying new services to enhance the customer experience.
Speaking about the challenges in retail and introduction of new concepts in food and beverage (F&B) industry, MAPIC's Nathalie Depetro, said, "Clearly, retail is challenged in the current disruptive climate but what was noticeable this week was that people were talking about solutions and potential for development." Nathalie further added, "Online and offline will co-exist, new concepts in food and beverage, leisure, sport, health and entertainment will become increasingly important in the overall shopping experience and increasingly important as part of the MAPIC community." "Online and offline will co-exist, new concepts in food and beverage, leisure, sport, health and entertainment will become increasingly important in the overall shopping experience and increasingly important as part of the MAPIC community."
One could see the Asian connect with huge participation of the brands at MAPIC 2018; an Indian pavilion was also the part of the Cannes event. With Daiso being the major sponsor, there is a speculation on more Asian F&B businesses entering the European markets. This will be a huge development in the industry.
Delegates at MAPIC held the view that entire retail real estate industry must embrace change to transform traditional shopping malls and stores into a multi-experience urban destination combining food and beverage, healthcare, new technology, leisure, sport and more.
Indoor entertainment was one of the leading stars at MAPIC exhibition halls. Therefore, it won't be wrong to say indoor entertainment will be the next big trend in the Asian market, including India. We don't have as many good suppliers in our country, but with time we, surely, will see more of the indoor entertainment at shopping malls and standalone places.
Food retail trends are something not to be missed at MAPIC 2018. Here are four key food and beverage retail trends that will hit the Indian markets soon.
When real estate players are looking at the distribution of F&B brands into their locations, there is a lot of demand for fast-casual concepts - a combination of QSR and casual dining. These are very niche concepts. The fast-casual concept gives an opportunity for brands to build the relationship with consumers. This trend of QSR will become the clear winner in the future.
Technology in the retail industry used to be about efficiency but one could see how it has surpassed that. Efficiency is just one parameter of technology. Consumer experience is one of the major components. Move over operational efficiency, data-driven technology is becoming consumer-focused. We are glad to find more technologies in the F&B industry upping the ante to serve customers better, even after the sales.
Nicolas Standaert, Founder and CEO of Nearbuy Group, advised physical stores to move from focusing only on selling. "The focus is still too much on the strategies and tactics of selling, rather than on the customers and their experiences," he said. The food and beverage are just not about providing service, but to create an experience for customers.
In a sign of how all actors in the retail business need to re-think strategies, Davide Lardera, CEO of Scalo Milano Outlet & More urged landlords to work closer with outlet retailers.
"You can no longer just be a landlord and take the rent… if you do, you are dead."
There were lots of suppliers at MAPIC 2018 who were providing solutions to existing retail companies in F&B, and otherwise. All the large, small and mid-size players from Europe, US and Asia shared insights on how the technology is driving the food and beverage industry. That's one big connect! Moving forward, the technology in F&B will be dominant.
This year veganism, vegetarianism and eating healthy are really knocking the doors of the F&B industry worldwide. The community is small yet but will grow, especially, at the mature markets in Europe, the UK and the US. They have somewhere stabilized with the QSR part of it with their service. The UK supermarket chain Waitrose, recently, launched a range of new vegan products - tartar sauce, lemon mayo, pizzas, cheese and burgers. The vegan and vegetarian food and beverage are still led by independent entities; there will be exponential growth with time in India.
At MAPIC 2018, it was a delight to see the beverages brands competing with the established burger and pizza players. Coffee has always been big. Now, specialised smaller beverage concepts like chocolate and tea are coming up. Tea, yogurts and chocolates have caught the attention of various beverage brands. The yogurt and tea concept are quite Asian. There is a lot of diversification happening in the sub-category of beverages. That's something unique; the newer beverages concept could be a game-changer for Indian markets.
Unique concepts, speciality tea cafes like bubble teas, finer teas, chocolate beverages (with the healthy options of the chocolates from Belgium and France) remained the spotlight too.
We are not a heavy coffee-drinking culture. So, these concepts are interesting, especially, for markets in India. Although the international market is still coffee-led, the trend of the speciality beverage is picking up. The beverage brands have also combined these concepts with healthy eating as well. That's a good connect!
Edited by Sara Khan, Feature Editor, Restaurant India.