Many experts and professional speakers will attend the show. Do you recommend a session or sessions in particular?

The dedicated O2O conference track at MAPIC this year aims to shed light on the reinventing of shopping centres into lively mixed-use places for new consumer behaviour…namely that of the Millennials.

The O2O Experience - Welcome to my Phygital World (16 November), will be the key conference session on O2O and will discuss questions such as: What are the best digital solutions to increase traffic, business and revenues? Are pure players dead? How to integrate physical commerce into your 360° strategy? How do brands and pure players create the best physical experience to enchant their customers’ journey? Speakers include François Loviton, Director of Retail France at Google France, Wojciech Grendzinski, Vice President and Sales Director of IMS and Brian Kean, Head of Communications & Chief International Officer of Ulmart.

Jonathan Doughty, Head of EMEA Foodservice Consulting, JLL Foodservice Consulting will be speaking in the headlining food and beverage conference session on Wednesday 16 November entitled, Savouring New Italian F&B Experiences, alongside Ezio Balarini, Group Chief Marketing Officer of Autogrill; Vincenzo Ferrieri, Owner of Cioccolatitaliani; Mario Pascucci, CEO of Caffè Pascucci and Gianandrea Gropplero Di Troppenburg, Development Manager of Cigierre. The session will delve into food and beverage, with international case studies from gourmet dining to food concepts. Just what aromas and flavours will increase shopping centres’ success? And what about the incorporation of digital tools into the F&B experience?

Another highlight of this MAPIC will be the presence of retail guru Mary Portas, known to many as the “Queen of shops”. She will be the moderator for the UK market discussion seminar on Thursday 17 November. The panel - consisting of some of UK’s top names in retail including Jace Tyrell, Chief Executive of New West End Company, the business voice for the world’s largest retail destination including Bond Street, Oxford Street and Regent Street – will provide unrivalled insight into the latest trends and be thinking in the market.

What is the visitors’ profile?

MAPIC is a must-attend event for every international expert in the retail real estate industry. MAPIC provides developers, owners and brokers with the opportunity of meeting and doing business with established and emerging international retailers. International investors interested in the retail real estate assets are also attending MAPIC to discover new projects they can add to their portfolios.

MAPIC brings together companies and exhibitors from 74 countries. Can you give some tips for those attending the show for the first time?

The essential thing is preparation, preparation, preparation! It really is the key to getting the most out of MAPIC. Every company needs to prepare the event in advance to be able to reach its goals. If a company wants to raise brand awareness then it should be looking at setting up press and networking events. If a retailer is searching for international developments then they should be identified and contacted well before MAPIC to set up meetings – and this can be done using the MAPIC online database. Then there is how to get the most out of what happens during MAPIC. Obviously, there is the business side of the event, great networking opportunities and a vast number of subjects being discussed in the conference programme.

Once again, timely preparation will allow a company to make sure it has a representative attending the session which can also be a good way to network. With so many major industry trends being examined, this approach can provide invaluable information for future business. Finally, wear comfortable shoes!

Which is forecast participation for the next edition?

As you know, MAPIC is above all a business platform where retail real estate players can find contacts and opportunities to develop their activities. This year we are expecting over 8,000 participants from 76 countries including 2,000 retailers and 1,000 investors.