The pandemic has changed a lot the landscape for brick & mortar retailers. The lockdown forced the customers to stay home, which affected the offline shopping, but we managed to adapt to the new conditions, says Geanina Ungureanu, Senior Asset and Leasing Retail Manager at Immofinanz at at Re:Focus on eCommerce Retail & Logistics 2021 event, organized by Business Review.
„The online commerce grew significantly compared to 2019. The crisis forced our customers to push as far into the future as possible all the costs related to logistics, courier, storage, anything they could postpone,” says Geanina Ungureanu.
”We put all our efforts in adapting to the crisis restrictions, especially since we have shopping centers all over the country. Pandemic challenged us to create a mix between online and offline that will remain in the future. The online shopping will never replace the offline, but they will complete each other”, shows Ungureanu.
The health safety of all our visitors and employees in our shopping centers became top priority in 2020. ”We made sure that our customers feel that everything is safe, as we adopted many new rules for cleaning, nebulization. We also invested in marketing and awareness in online as we wanted to remain in the minds of our customers while they were locked in their homes” says Geanina Ungureanu.
She also explains that now shopping is more targeted and consumers spend less time inside the centers as they come to buy what they have on their lists. This is also conditioned by the fact that food courts are open only for take-away (or function at 30% capacity) and the entertainment lacks completely.
”The trend, which any mall customer feels, is to return to stores. People were quite consistent and eager to come back to the shopping centers and buy fashion, sports or cosmetics. The contact with the brand and the offline shopping experience remained important and all brands emphasized this. Each brand, no matter how small or local, focused on the shopping experience,” explains Immofinanz representative.
The economic problems created by the pandemic was sorted out by talking with every client the mall has. „We talked to each client and found solutions to overcome the crisis. Each area has adapted. Food-courts quickly adapted to deliver food to customers, while fashion, sports, beauty, took all measures of cleanliness and safety, including employees. We have all joined forces to create a safe environment for customers in the shopping centers” says Ungureanu.
“We are investing considerable amounts into transforming our shopping centers, in order to make them modern, high-quality centers for both today’s standards, as well as 10 years from now” said Geanina Ungureanu.
Geanina Ungureanu occupies her current role at IMMOFINANZ Romania since October 2018. A skilled professional with almost 15 years of experience in retail, Geanina is in charge of the management and the development of the two retail brands of IMMOFINANZ – VIVO! for shopping centers and STOP SHOP for retail parks.