Collaborative partnerships will create an attractive urban life, where customers will have the kind of positive experiences that will keep them coming back. The next phase will see a new urban environment catering to students to attract and retain the younger generations
Gone are the days of brick and mortar stores. Fierce competition from online stores and changing consumer behaviors have put pressure on physical stores across Denmark. Although people are buying more, commercial cities are pressured – and often overshadowed – by the allure, convenience, and accessibility of online stores.
According to Michael Dupont, chairman of Lyngby’s trade association: “It’s an old-fashioned idea – getting customers to buy one item and then drive back home. Now, visitors must have positive experiences so that they will want to come back. Whether people come to visit museums, go to the cinema, or shop they want to have an experience.” For physical stores to attract new customers and survive in this changed landscape, they need to attract a steady stream of new customers and then nurture their business through new practices.
Dupont explains: “We have some fundamental challenges in appealing to the younger clientele, and then we also risk new challenges with the construction of a new light rail system. These are different challenges, but they must all be resolved, because, for the shops, it is a matter of survival.”
There are many talented entrepreneurs around Lyngby who can build solutions so that we can interact with customers and guests in the city. These are solutions that we need to test
In more detail, the new light rail system will be under construction throughout the next 5 years, making Klampenborgvej inaccessible and impacting the consumer purchasing experience. That is why Dupont is calling for better and broader cooperation between city retailers. To be competitive in the future, they need to involve their brand and business where it makes sense for the entire ecosystem.
The value of customer engagement
Lyngby Hovedgade has been in operation since for many years and it still makes up the majority of daily trade throughout the city. However, as Dupont points out, the surrounding area has been stagnant for far too long:
“We are deeply dependent on attracting customers and traffic from outside. That is why we need to make Lyngby an even more attractive town to shop in. But we are in danger of focusing on the challenges so much that we scare people away. We need to solve the traffic challenges by entering into a dialogue with customers and letting them know that there is an alternative solution to the way they usually shop.” To solve this problem, they are turning to communications platforms to speak directly with customers – to understand their needs and concerns and to take them under advisement in the planning and execution of the project.
As Dupont sees it: “There are many talented entrepreneurs around Lyngby who can build solutions so that we can interact with customers and guests in the city. These are solutions that we need to test so that we can involve guests and customers in city planning. I think that the shopping centres and stores have an obligation to help some of the companies and entrepreneurs that are on their way and want to create a better urban life with technological solutions.”
Marianna Lubanski, director of The City of Knowledge, recognizes the challenges and also sees opportunities to integrate FUTURE KGS. LYNGBY 7 solutions that can increase activity in the centre of Lyngby. In her own words:
“Over the next 5 years, as a visitor, you should have a feeling that you are visiting a ‘city of knowledge’ – or at least feel the effects of it. It also means that we need to think about smart and stable solutions so that construction won’t inconvenience shoppers and visitors. There must be events and social spaces where citizens can integrate into new environments and start new lives, and it will only happen if all the stakeholders in Lyngby cooperate.”
With evolution comes new life
Despite the fact that there are many students in and around Lyngby, there are no holds on the younger generation.
Dupont observes that “Lyngby is not an attractive place to be and stay for a long time, and it is beyond our ability to attract the younger population into the city. In many other cities students see opportunities. It can be anything from a study house in the middle of the city or fancy cafés with opportunities to work and write. In addition, many students would like to stay centrally in the city – with easy access to urban areas, but they do not have that opportunity in Lyngby.”
Echoing this view, Lubanski believes that every effort should be made to meet and cater to all the needs of young people and students in the course of a day – a place where they can work from early morning to late evening, and where they have all the facilities they need.
She explains: “The students are picky because they do not have much time beyond their education. So, the time they spend in the centre of Lyngby has to flow along with their studies. We share the same challenges as many other university cities that have built a campus according to the American model. When a campus is located outside the centre of a city, it becomes a closed city and it is not natural for the students to head down towards the centre of town. It requires housing, workplaces, as well as meeting places and in all environments where they can see themselves.”