Reproduced by kind permission. Copyright March 2022.
“For some time, and certainly long before COVID arrived, retail destinations have been adapting to industry-wide challenges that mean “retail” in its traditional sense forms just one part of the contemporary customer offer.
Destinations have had to respond to new demands of being sociable, inspirational and ultimately “instagrammable”
places through their offering of leisure, food and hospitality outlets.Offering places to purchase is simply no longer enough. One way that Realm’s leasing team has responded to this continuing shift is with the appointment of Caroline
Helyer as a leasing manager with a dedicated role to enhance the customer shopping and dining experience across the portfolio.
Curating the right spaces for F&B occupiers at our outlet centres is a key consideration – allowing us to leverage more flexible options for prospective new occupiers. Livingston Designer Outlet is a real example of experience enhancement, where we borrowed heavily from the hotel industry to usher in and create a unique guest culture, a move which involved all staff training to ensure they delivered a level of aspiration in line with the new décor and touches of warmth and luxury within the new design scheme. Realm also brought in a complimentary Hands
Free Shopping service which was launched in March 2022 following successful trials. This has proven to be a popular service with guests as retail becomes both increasingly contactless yet more personal – seemingly an oxymoron of terms but a reality for the post-pandemic consumer.
In line with this, Realm sees the role of its store staff becoming in-person influencers and knowledge sources about products – representing the brands more fully and providing a truly enhanced level of service, thus curating a
well-rounded retail destination that cannot be challenged by eCommerce and the online world.”