“Build it, and they will come.”
Someone once said that. (I think it was Kevin Costner in the 1989 film Field of Dreams.) This adage, however uncontested in the last three decades by retail real estate developers, now needs revision. --> “First design it, then build it… and then they will come— for the experience.”
By now we’ve all been made aware of the current state of retail being firmly EXPERIENTIAL. As consumers continue to choose to do their shopping online instead of in person, the rumor that “retail is dead” has been spread… however prematurely. After all, retail is not dead; instead, it is evolving to incorporate more than just the brick and mortar buying and selling of goods. Today’s successful retailing includes the promise to provide that which cannot be bought and sold online: face-to-face in person social experiences.
In decades past, retail centers included about 70% of retail space with much of the remaining 30% of space dedicated to restaurants, theaters, fitness centers, and other consumer experience venues. Today, however, that statistic has flipped. In today’s world of experiential retail, 70% of your space needs to be developed for the experience—dining with family, taking a spin class, catching a flick with friends; the remaining 30% of space is retail (including the ever popular pop-up style retail.)
As a retail real estate developer you have to ask yourself—in light of this new development, what is the right strategy in this demi-crisis of retail?