It’s estimated that U.S. e-commerce sales will be $278B in 2014. By 2016, that spending will be $327B — a 62 percent increase in five years, according to Forrester, Inc. estimates. Yes, that’s a drop in the pool of the U.S. retail market (about 3 percent). However, it’s not one that brick-and-mortar retail brokers are ignoring. Local brokers weighed in on how Phoenix can and should adapt to the changing channels of retail real estate.
“People have a tendency to separate e-commerce from brick-and-mortar stores. The retailer of the future has to learn to adapt to do both,” says Velocity Retail Group Executive Vice President Darren Pitts. “The strong retailers of the future will continue to evolve with a multi-channel, often referred to as an omni-channel approach, that takes advantage of various sales mediums including mobile devices, the internet, catalog, as well as brick-and-mortar.”
De Rito Partners’ Brokerage President Stan Sanchez says e-commerce will affect the way business is conducted but not replace store-front appeal to some customer groups.
“Service-oriented businesses and daily needs stores will always have a role in commercial real estate, because those tenants can’t be replaced by online retailers,” he says.
“While some may think that e-commerce threatens brick-and-mortar venues, the truth is it simply adds a new dynamic to the location, the size, and the type of real estate these businesses are looking for.”
E-commerce is shifting many retailers into smaller stores and creating more flexible shopping centers, says JLL Vice President of Retail Tyson Switzenberg.
“While e-commerce and technological innovations threaten certain retail models like bookstores or video stores, it’s not the whole story and does not represent all retailers,”adds Switzenberg.
What’s an important trend in retail that people should be watching?
President, De Rito Partners
One of the most important trends to emerge in retail, along with e-commerce, is the growth of buying power from groups such as millennials and Hispanic consumers. These two groups are growing at a rapid rate and control an enormous (over $1 trillion in consumer spending) amount of purchasing power. The key for retailers is learning the purchasing habits of these groups and making adjustments to their purchasing characteristics. Many see millennials as a segment of society that is in-tune with technology. For retailers, the goal is to take advantage of integrating that technology into physical stores and to track their customer’s buying habits to help increase the bottom line.
Executive Vice President, Velocity Retail Group
Personalized offers or information provided to a shopper when they enter a store and sent directly to their mobile device. These offers are specific to the customer’s purchasing pattern and only for their use while they are in the store. Another trend is retailers who use their stores as fulfillment centers. As an example, if a customer wants a particular type of shirt but it is not in the store they are physically in, but in another, they can have it shipped directly to their home. The retailer controls their inventory better, and the customer gets what they want.
Vice President, JLL
Experiential retail. Retailers need to give shoppers a good reason to make an in-person visit to their stores—to go beyond a simple retail transaction that shoppers can do virtually anywhere. Customers are looking for an experience. Some retailers practicing this include: Apple Store: the “Genius Bar” offers hands-on troubleshooting, where customers can interact with friendly, trained experts in a unique, designated space; Flix Brewhouse: As America’s Cinema Brewery, this retailer combines the latest Hollywood productions, custom crafted beer and great food – all served “in theater” and a la carte basis so that the experience can be customized.