Commercial transformation challenges shopping centres to offer more customised services.

In the Nordic countries, shopping centres are still in a phase of strong growth. International retail chains strive to enter the Nordic market, while local chains compete for good business locations.

Digitisation and online retail change the operating environment and affect the competition. In the future, shopping centres will have to offer more experiences to customers, as discussed at the annual conference and meeting of the Nordic Council of Shopping Centres in Helsinki in April. Sponda was one of the partners of the event.

Ratina is built on trends

In March, Sponda made an announcement about a considerable project. The company will develop a shopping centre in Ratina, Tampere, due for inauguration in three years, in 2018.

“Ratina will become a proactive business centre that activates customers by offering them different events and digital services,” says Veli-Pekka Tanhuanpää, Senior Vice President, Property Development at Sponda.

Ratina square will be surrounded by cafes and restaurants.

The new Ratina centre will be something Tampere has never seen before. The Ratina square in front of the shopping centre can be used as a stage for large-scale events. The square will also attract customers with the numerous cafés and restaurants facing it.

Ratina shopping centre is situated close to the Ratina stadium, which is a popular arena for spectacular events.

Digitisation will also be put to its best use in Ratina.

“We follow the latest trends actively, but we do not want to lock ourselves into any specific digital solutions yet. The development of digital services is so rapid that it is impossible to tell which will be the best services in three years. But our intention is to be on the forefront of development,” Tanhuanpää says.

Ratina is also investing in experiences. The shopping centre is planning on having a variety of elements that can be used to create different moods, such as a light court and giant screens.

Ola Sars held a presentation on shopping centre music trends in the Nordic conference of shopping centres in April 2015.

The five hottest shopping centre trends in the Nordic countries

 1. International retail chains become larger and Nordic retail chains compete for better locations.
Increased cost pressure, growing online shopping and changes in purchasing behaviour force retailers to improve their visibility and Network.

2. Shopping centre marketing becomes more personal.
Consumers have become more demanding and the growth of online retail is giving them more variety.

“This means that retail properties will have to speak to consumers on a personal level using, for instance, cost efficient digital media and events,” David Close, Senior Director at CBRE commented at the annual conference and meeting.

He reminded the shopping centres how important it is for them to know their customers and target groups and customise their marketing accordingly.

3. Background music connects the brand with the consumer.
New marketing trends can also be heard at shopping centres, where background music is rising to a whole new level.

“The right music, at the right moment and in the right place, can increase sales,” Ola Sars, CEO & founder of Spotify for Business said at the conference.

Sars offers customised Spotify services to his partners, with the aim of linking brands to the kind of music that speaks to the target group.

4. Digitisation is on the increase.
Shopping centres will use digital services for several purposes. There are game-like digital services for children, while digital décor elements can be used to change the atmosphere at the shopping centre. There is a variety of services that can be provided for loyal customers digitally, such as events or customer parking.

5. Ease of moving is more and more important for shopping centres.
It is possible to research and steer the way people move at shopping centres in a number of ways. There are, for example, service provider systems that offer simulation. The different escalator, travelator and lift solutions facilitate moving at shopping centres.

Text: Johanna Hytönen



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Vuolteenkatu 1, Tampere, Ratina
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