The title of BCSC’s planned seminar programme, ‘Clicks, Bricks and Brexit’, seems to have perfectly summed up the trends and mood ahead of this year’s annual conference.
Place-making, despite and perhaps because of its various guises, remains the central response to the onslaught of those clicks. Whether it’s an innovative new leisure concept, exciting food and beverage offer or enticing public realm, it is now firmly cemented wisdom (excuse the pun) that bricks and mortar need to offer consumers an experience the click of a mouse simply can’t.
The meeting of clicks and bricks has also become an even hotter topic over the summer months. We may have Pokémon to thank, but from editors to asset managers, using technology as a way to draw in the crowds and, crucially, keep them there is finally starting to move discourse on from ‘click and collect’ to augmented reality and geolocation technology that actually resonates with consumers.
Pokémon may already be starting to look like a fad, but it is a concept that retailers and landlords can learn from. BCSC’s ‘The Fourth Industrial Revolution’ seminar is sure to prove enlightening for those interested to know how they can make new technologies work for them.
And then, of course, we have Brexit. With so much about the UK’s future still yet to be determined, or even hinted at, it seems unlikely Brexit will exit our discourse any time soon. It is anyone’s guess what the future of our town centres will be, and there are bound to be winners and losers, as well as opportunities – it seems likely international shoppers may favour Britain over mainland Europe thanks to our cheaper pound and greater variety of retailers. Brexit will naturally also impact investment and we could well see more town centres looking towards their Local Authorities for solutions – another hot topic in this year’s BCSC seminar programme.
Lastly, make sure you don’t miss the revealing of BCSC’s new brand on Wednesday evening by Mark Bourgeois, BCSC President and Executive Director of Capital & Regional and Ed Cooke, Chief Executive of BCSC.
The full event review including speaker, programme, exhibitor listings and ticket booking platform can be accessed through the BCSC 2016 website www.bcsc2016.co.uk.