Are You Leading? Following? Or, Scrambling to Get Out of the Way?We recently were asked by the owner of a mixed-use development to identify prospective retail tenants. This landlord wanted to be proactive in seeking tenants, rather than just passively choosing from the inquiries they were already receiving from various brokers.
- Our take-away from our initial meeting was that this commercial property owner wanted to “skate to where the puck is going to be”; to anticipate what kind of retailer would have some appeal – and some staying power – in their property. (How cool is that?!?)
One of our first steps for this project was to recap current retail trends, in order to identify retailers from each sector of retailing who were on the leading edge of embracing one or more of these trends.
Seven Retail Trends - and Three Questions - For Your ConsiderationMeanwhile, we invite you to consider seven of the trends we focused on. As you do that, keep three questions in mind:
- Do you agree that this is an important trend?
- Where is your retail operation vis-a-vis each of these trends? (Leading? Following? Getting out of the way??)
- What about your competitors or neighboring retailers: which ones of them are evidencing these trends? (And what does that mean for raising the consumer’s expectations?)
“Smaller Is Better”
Retailers of all sizes want less square footage, are developing smaller format concepts, etc.
In large cities, this is happening as more people live downtown, whether the Millennials or the down-sizing Baby Boomers. But, this revitalization of shopping districts also is happening on Main Street locations in communities of all sizes.
E-Commerce Expands Offline
Formerly e-commerce-only sites (think Warby-Parker, Birchbox, Zappo’s) are launching “offline” (e.g., bricks-n-mortar) locations as well.
Here Today, Gone Tomorrow
The pop-up shops that appear seasonally - thus avoiding the profit-draining costs of a year-round location - continue to gather steam. Some landlords are systematizing this practice by offering only temporary, short-term leases, with a constantly rotating and refreshing collection of retailers.
Retail on Wheels
Retailers have watched the food truck phenomenon, and are adapting! Hello, Fashion Trucks!! These retailers can alert their customers to their locations via social media.
To attract customers into a store, retailers are focusing on the overall “experience”. In some cases, this involves expanded food service, or full-service bars that resemble hotel lobby bars. Whatever it takes to get the customer to linger longer.
The use of in-store and interactive technology - whether to connect to a customer’s smart phone, engage them with interactive digital displays, or offer “Magic Mirrors” that are “virtual dressing rooms” - is increasingly available.