«The Romans maintained for centuries the dominion of their vast territory not because of their great military might – in fact, they lost countless battles – but because they brought to the population improvements of civilization that otherwise the dominated peoples could never have achieved» (1).
What learning does this phrase give us? that Shoppings must act intelligently helping Brands find the right path, becoming a good channel to maximize their chances of successful access to the new normal.
In our consulting action to Shopping Centers, a word emerged from the first moment in our team that is repeated throughout all our talks: Empathy. Both brands and shopping malls must act empathetically to re-direct their post-pandemic activities.
What do shopping brands expect?, Smart Leadership, assertive solutions to make entering the new normal as unsertative as possible. Imagine that The Malls’ management teams deeply discuss with their advisors the steps to take to achieve what everyone expects: that customers return, consume and continue to choose them as spaces for enjoyment.
Brands appreciate this when they are involved in opinion inquiries in the search for the right decisions in the shortest possible time. Knowing that they were taken into account to lessen the harmful effects of economic inactivity certainly comforts them. It is smart then from the shoppings to add them to their decisions, even if it is not through online surveys.
We’re in the shadow of a wall that was built without anyone waiting for it. Looking beyond it, we know that very good crisis management will generate an affectio societatis difficult to match in times of normality. My father, a Navy officer, always said that skilled pilots earn their reputation from storms and storms. Finally, we all know that the plane is taking off against the wind.
A special recommendation for people who run Shopping Centers: A positive person turns their problems into challenges, never obstacles. Surely you will find some locators who will get carried away by the circumstances in an un correct way, and put them to the limit of their patience. Always remember that difficult times never last, but hard people do. The time will come for all this mess to be a memory, and an apprenticeship. A problem is an opportunity to discover how we really are, to give the best we have.
What do The Brand Shoppings expect? Symmetrically the same thing. Let each of them find solutions to reactivate their sales by making the economic means and channels at their fingertips, in the shortest possible time. These are difficult times for everyone, where intelligence and deep analysis ability must take precedence, albeit very fast.
They also hope that compliance with measures to prevent contagion will be absolute. There’s no chance it isn’t. The fate of both depends on how the client perceives the behavior of a single unit, all acting simultaneously with the client as absolute centrality.
In this sense the teams of both Shoppings and Brands must have a permanent and constructive dialogue, harmonious and practical. There are no shortcuts to getting to the places that are worthwhile.
Both Brands and Shoppings should see that apocalyptic theories about the end of Shopping Malls are not true. IF it is true that there will be work to adapt to the new normality in commercial, architectural, communication and operational areas oriented to the customer, and that if they are not done in the right way, the chances of failure increase.
But it is also true that these changes that are already happening were already being seen, and what this pandemic did was accelerate them. Most Shopping and Brands were already in the process of adapting.
1.- Sanitizing measures: They must be really effective. A shopping mall and its premises should not be safe places… should be the SAFEST places outside each client’s own home.
2.- Market Place. It is desirable that in the shortest possible time a centralized digital sales channel is implemented: shopping itself, in digital format. The BOPIS (Buy online, Pick Up in Store) sales mode will take on even greater prominence.
3.- Services. While they were already a reality, efficient home delivery services will need more attention. Customer preference can often focus on the efficiency of these services, let’s call them essential now.
4.- Entertainment. Possibly the category that later returns for the chances of contagion. I welcomed the fact that some shopping malls are working to provide some temporary solutions so that their customers continue to enjoy good experiences. Case, for example, drive-ins on parking beaches.
5.- Communication. Shopping must remain in communication with its customers, beyond being closed to sales. The message is: We appreciate you, we don’t want you to get sick. We’ll meet again soon..
This whole situation absolutely unexpected for all of us will mean great learning in the future. Surely we will make mistakes, and we will learn from them. The important thing is that we believe that this joint effort in overcoming this crisis is worthwhile, and our own belief will help to find the right solutions.
For Brands and Shopping: If we are going through a bad time, let’s keep walking because the bad is the time, not ourselves.
Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.