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Whenever I make the journey to Barcelona, which seems to be quite frequent as the city plays host to numerous technology conferences, then a visit to the famous La Boqueria food market is an absolute must.

It is held up as the benchmark for what a market should be and which all too often far too many other markets around the world fail to live up to. They move from being a trading venue – where local businesses purchase their produce and residents buy their food and drink for consumption at home – and become a caricature market where the focus switches to providing food to consume on the premises.

They ultimately become purely tourist-type destinations whereby they are overtaken with seating and facilities for these visitors from out of town. As people now travel around the world as food tourists and want to experience the visceral excitement and authenticity of a real food market the quality historical venues such as La Boqueria are facing great pressure to maintain their trading aspect and not become solely tourist destinations.

La Boqeria: victim of its own success?

The Barcelona market has become so popular that guards are now employed to exclude sightseeing parties at the busiest times. Clearly it is a tough balancing act to deliver satisfaction to both camps but what the Barcelona council has recognised is the need to retain its authenticity and to ensure that it remains at the heart of the city for the local populace. That’s what gives it its real value.

What this highlights is that consumers are crying out for authenticity and provenance in their experiences. They do not want manufactured histories or fake pedigrees. This should be noted by retailers as they currently work hard towards bringing more leisure and hospitality and theatre into their physical stores.

To deliver this is clearly a serious challenge but the big positive that can be taken away is that people increasingly want to immerse themselves in rich experiences that complement their digital lives. It all adds up to further evidence that the store and other such physical spaces will very much remain at the heart of the shopping experience – as long as it’s authentic of course.

Glynn Davis, editor of Retail Insider

K3 Retail partners with businesses to provide connected technologies based on Microsoft Dynamics 365 so retailers can reach their goals now and in the future. In a size that best fits future plans wherever you need it – Cloud, Hybrid or On-premise. Our solutions drive more than 800 international retail brands from Charles Tyrwhitt and The White Company to Ryman and Sue Ryder, Hobbycraft, Wasabi and Ted Baker, K3 Retail is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and the UK’s leading Microsoft Dynamics retail partner.