A new experience with MAPIC Digital

With Covid-19 making physical gatherings impossible, there are plenty of examples of how digital has brought people together in recent months. Since April alone, we have seen a 2,000% increase in virtual events globally.


The most recent one, MAPIC, the leading global event in the retail industry, was held on the 17-18 November and managed to go 100% digital without altering its usual objective – to give developers, investors, brands and all kinds of suppliers the opportunity to engage, take part in one-to-one business meetings and ultimately accelerate business discussions and fruitful partnerships. Held alongside MAPIC Digital and also 100% online was LeisurUp 2020, the new international B2B event for leisure professionals.


This year’s headline was “Embracing Collaborative Retail: Ready to change the rules?” and the main themes were collaboration, the creation of new business models, sustainability, leisure, data sharing and all the elements that redefine the urban and commercial landscapes, highlighting the trend of moving away from proprietary attitudes and towards sharing and working together for a common goal. The event also covered food service and the role of leisure in enriching and extending the visitor experience in shopping centres and living spaces.


There were some great on-demand sessions, like “Outlet Industry: What’s new?” with Barbara Horatz from TORG Europe, talking about Tbilisi Outlet Village – the first Outlet in Georgia opening in 2022. There were sessions dedicated to speed networking and live sessions, like the “Italy Forum: Never stop, what’s next?”, focusing on the blossoming of the Italian real estate scene despite the pandemic and its consequences on the Italian and global economies.


According to a recent Twitter survey, 93% of people today expect a brand to adapt their communication to the new reality. This applies to events as well, and it is therefore essential to think about how many more people can access a digital event compared to a physical one. This became obvious during this year’s MAPIC, where many more operators were able to join online sessions due to the online format. A physical event involves logistics such as arranging flights, accommodation and transport, which takes a considerable amount of extra time and money, whereas an online event only requires a few simple clicks on your computer.


The line-up of speakers who were present to discuss the future of the retail industry was excellent. They stressed that lifestyles have changed radically in recent years and that we all need to adapt to new urban models and retail development. We are catering to new consumption habits, to a redefinition of the urban and retail landscape, and the MAPIC speakers fully addressed all these topics.


The takeaways from this year’s event have been several: mainly the shared need for a renovated and innovative approach in order to make retail great again in a post pandemic world. Furthermore, a renewed sense of flexibility and a willing to fight the upcoming months with a renewed spirit of cooperation and mutual support.

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