Twelve Trends Will Shape The Year in Retail

Ahead: Smaller Stores, Personalization, Experience, and Tech Everywhere
Last month – January – is always “Predictions Month,” with pundits in every industry scanning the horizon for what’s ahead. We’ve reviewed most of the 2017 retail and retail real estate outlooks and wanted to share what we think is the best of the bunch. The comprehensive list that follows is from the Vend blog and includes observations from experts worldwide. Keep an eye on these twelve as the year rolls forward.

Shoppers Will Seek Retailers Who Deliver a Good In-Store Experience
1. Stores offering unique shopping experiences will thrive. “Experience” includes special additions like food services, but also the delivery of a seamless shopping experience, reflecting the online world. Crate + Barrel’s “Mobile Tote” is a good example. Shoppers use store-provided tablets to browse and note their favorites, while sales associates ready their orders.

2. Smaller stores will win out over their super-sized counterparts. Time-starved shoppers have less tolerance for navigating big spaces and look for easy-to-access inventory. Target, Best Buy and Ikea have jumped in with junior box stores. Expect more to follow.

3. Specialty stores will perform better than department stores. Building on #2 above, smaller venues with well-curated inventory and a knowledgable staff will beat the traditional department store concept. Note: those Millennials everyone is chasing are specialty store fans.

4. “Retailment” (the fusion of retail and entertainment) is the new game in town. To entice shoppers to leave their screens for an out-of-home experience, retailers will deliver everything from virtual reality to pop-ups. Note the rise of theaters that serve dinner and cocktails along with the movie.

 

Services Will Be Expected

5. Shoppers will expect same-day shipping. Consumers want the traditional gratification of having their purchase on the day they make it.

6. Personalization will be more important than ever. Shoppers want to be recognized and rewarded. Loyalty programs will step up their game with more customized offers based on buying history and other data.

 

The Reign of Tech Will Continue
7. Mobile will be the way to pay. TechCrunch predicts that there will be 447.9 million mobile payment users this year. Purchases in this mode will total $60 billion in 2017 and $503 billion in 2020. Savvy retailers will adopt whatever system fits them best, choosing from custom apps or third-party options like Apple Pay.

8. Omnichannel growth will continue. Effective omnichannel strategies will separate the winners from the losers in 2017. Vend’s retail trend watchers expect to see retailers push omnichannel in bold, new directions to deliver that seamless experience.

9. Data will continue to drive retail success. Data will be a force in every aspect of the retail process from supply chain to purchase. Collection and analysis of information will be a top focus, with social shopping making a major contribution.

10. Retail and tech will unite to deliver new ways to bring shoppers into bricks and mortar stores. Science fiction will come to shopping: the Internet of Things, virtual reality, artificial intelligence and robots.

11. Apps, services and third parties will help bricks and mortars compete with online. But there’s one caveat: retailers will need to be selective about the tech products and platforms that serve their particular needs. There will be many to choose from. The best options are the ones that free the user to focus on the customer.

 

Transparency and Sustainability: Must Haves for Success in 2017
12. It’s no longer enough just to sell quality products at good prices. The Internet has created a hunger for information. Shoppers want to know what goes into a product. They’re driven by both ethics and a commitment to sustainability. This trend will continue into 2017 and beyond. (Think Millennials).

If you’ve enjoyed these highlights, read the complete Vend report at:

https://www.vendhq.com/university/retail-trends-and-predictions-2017 and watch these predictions become reality.

 

 

 

 

Is the Department Store Dying or is this Evolution as Usual?

Is the Department Store Dying or is this Evolution as Usual?
Retail Real Estate Trend: Luxury Retailers Revive the Customer Experience


There are some questions in retail that never seem to go away. Among the most-asked concerns is the health of the traditional department store. Is this retail concept on life support? Have department stores lost their relevance? Are we in a post-department store era? Industry watchers, the media and even retailers themselves raise these queries regularly. As regional leaders in retail real estate, it’s an issue we keep a close eye on. Here are some of our recent observations.

In Retail, Change is the Name of the Game
Nothing in the retail industry is static. Since the first department stores opened in the mid-19th century, the concept has been evolving, driven by changes in economics, demographics, population migration and technology. Yes, in some cases the surviving department stores have lost their role as commercial anchors in America’s cities and even in some major malls. From the stresses on their middle class customer base to endless competition from smaller stores with unique product assortments, discounters, outlets, monobrands, club stores and online, these retailers face mega-challenges. Consider also that the ongoing cycle of discounting as a competitive tactic is eroding margins. No wonder we hear of store closings and stock downgrades and pronouncements of a post-department store era.

Can the survivors keep on surviving? It looks like they may have a fighting chance. Retailers will rise and fall as they always have. But the concept of a single space where shoppers can browse, discover and select from a wide range of items – and enjoy the experience – will likely go on. One caveat, however: if the retail icons don’t want to go out like the dinosaurs, they’ll need to continue evolving to meet customer needs.

The 21st-Century Department Store is Rising Thanks to Luxury Retailers
Department stores are writing the next chapter in their history. Many middle-market merchandisers are in transformation mode with heavy emphasis on technology. Most major players in this category, for example, have embraced omnichannel to meet the demands of tech-empowered shoppers and to counter online competition. A smoother shopping experience with electronic beacons and self-checkout counters is in the making. Smart mirrors are being featured in fitting rooms. And sales associates with tablets in hand can provide instant information about the entire inventory.

It’ll take more than tech wizardry though to reinvent the department store. High-end retailers may have found a winning strategy by restoring the joy of shopping. Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf, Barneys New York, Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue are leading the charge in the U.S. Their goal, echoing the original concept of the department store, is to create a unique customer experience that goes beyond transacting. Listen to their executives and you’ll hear phrases like retail theatre and creative merchandising. To deliver those, they’re reimagining interior space with maximum aesthetic appeal, curating inventory, introducing new lines and designers, incorporating restaurants and wine bars into the retail environment, using pop-ups, and staging exclusive events. They’re exploring the concept of customizing each branch store with touches of local style. They’re doing things their online competition can’t. And they’re not neglecting technology. They’ve mastered omnichannel and moved into data mining to gain precise insights into the habits and preferences of their key customers.

Retail Real Estate Trend? Joy of Shopping at Middle-Market Department Stores
Middle-market retailers can’t (and probably shouldn’t) try to mirror the tactics of the luxury department stores, but there are signs they are scaling the joy of shopping concept to fit their markets. Ideas on the table include right-sizing space and upgrading interiors, improving visual merchandising, curating inventory to include exclusive brands, incorporating food and beverage service and upgrading staff. Localization of branches and unique in-store events, sometimes inspired by a chain’s flagship venues, are emerging. (Read more about this trend here: http://www.businessoffashion.com/articles/intelligence/whats-next-for-the-american-department-store.)

Back to the Roots of Successful Retailing
Is there a silver bullet here? Department stores may finally be on track to reclaiming relevance and appeal. They seem to be taking the advice of Macy’s Margaret Gitchell, one of retail’s first female executives. Her mantra was “never forget to astonish the customer.” That worked in the19th century and it may just be the key to surviving in the 21st.

It’s an Omnichannel World but Retail Stores Continue to Rule

Consumers Love Online but Still Prefer Shopping at Bricks and Mortar

You know there’s a big retail real estate trend brewing when Amazon, the premier pure play online retailer, announces a plan to open 300-plus book stores. Yes, that’s stores, as in bricks-and-mortar establishments. Market tests of on-campus locations and pop-ups in major cities preceded their February 4 announcement. Amazon’s move is an important indicator of the increasing success of omnichannel and an acknowledgment of the role of the physical store in branding and building sales in concert with online and social media. But the successful bricks-and-mortar establishments of the new omnichannel era we’re doing business in are not your grandpa’s retail store. Read on for a quick glimpse of what’s happening and what’s ahead.

The Traditional Store is Morphing into an Omnichannel Hub

As a leading retail real estate company and one of the top construction management firms in the Northeast, Levin is excited about the coming changes in store design. And, of course, we’re pleased that bricks-and-mortar establishments continue to be favored by America’s shoppers. (Over 90 percent of the transactions in December 2015, in fact, took place in a store, according to the ICSC). http://www.chainstoreage.com/article/icsc-omnichannel-wins-physical-stores-epicenter

As one ingredient in the omnichannel mix, stores now and in the future will have to offer more than just physical access to merchandise. Today’s consumers tend to have pre-shopped online and expect the store to be just one element in a seamless purchasing experience. Store design and construction will have to accommodate “click and collect” purchases made online and picked up in-store, plus returns and exchanges – that means easy in-and-out and space to hold pre-ordered merchandise. The demand for same-day delivery will have implications for parking and loading vehicles.

Information-on-Demand and an “Entertaining” Environment: Retail Real Estate Trends to Watch

Omnichannel shoppers expect web-supported shopping. That means kiosks and touch screens that let them check product availability and place orders, plus store associates with tablets to provide up-to-the-minute information and hassle-free checkouts. As a model store environment, think Apple.
Virtual fitting rooms and same-day delivery are predicted to shrink the selling floor, with more space going to lounges for food and beverage services that rank high, especially with Millennial shoppers. Since omnichannel shoppers prize the VIP treatment, expect to see more sensors, beacons and other electronics that will allow a retailer to deliver coupons and points to mobile phones and direct shoppers to merchandise based on their purchasing profiles. Retailers on the leading edge of omnichannel have already introduced these in-store features. Take a look at Crate & Barrel, NordstromStarbucks, and Top Shop to name a few. Expect more to come. https://erply.com/case-study-how-you-can-copy-nordstroms-secrets-to-massive-retail-success/ and http://insider-trends.com/why-omnichannel-is-the-elusive-holy-grail-of-retail-and-three-retailers-who-have-found-it/

No Longer a Secondary Player, Logistics are Now Key to Omnichannel Retailing

Click and collect and in-store online ordering, both with demand for same-day delivery, have placed new importance on logistics. Warehouses and distribution centers will need to be in closer proximity to stores. Some retail real estate trend watchers predict that large warehouses will become the hub, with smaller centers near stores serving as the spokes in the delivery wheel. The possibility that retailers may supplement their flagships with pop-ups or small specialized boutiques will mean further logistical challenges. http://www.inboundlogistics.com/cms/article/new-retail-strategies-its-a-store-its-a-site-its-a-warehouse/
Warehouses, whatever their size or location, are facing changes driven by the fulfillment of small individual orders with quick turnaround. The impact on IT, employee levels, building design and configuration, and transport are massive, along with the need for acreage in densely populated areas. Retail real estate and construction management are certain to feel the effect of these changes in logistics.

Every Step in Omnichannel Leads to Another Step

The convergence of the virtual and the physical in retailing is just the beginning. As that blend is achieved, new doors are opening. Retailers and the businesses that service them will have to walk through those to succeed in the evolving and complex world of multichannel.