Probably in less than 5 years …
As voice products, like Siri and Alexa, are enhanced, and as seamless devices that put the Internet all around us at all times, such as products like Google Glass, and as last mile delivery is perfected- people will order products on the move, at-will, and without time spent browsing in stores, parking their cars, waiting in lines, dealing with other shoppers’ flu germs in winter, driving and shopping in bad weather, carrying packages, looking for restrooms, managing their young children in stores, and carrying around their credit and debit cards.
As the result, mall and strip center owners are struggling to determine how to use their spaces going forward. Many are, incorrectly, attempting to make their shopping areas into entertainment destinations. This will fail for many reasons. First, people are, in general, rejecting local entertainment facilities- including the movies. Going to the mall to be entertained will not happen. Second, there can only be so much entertainment in a community. Every strip center can’t become an entertainment facility. Third, brick and mortar store purchases will mostly be made up of food purchases in the future (except as described below), and there is only so much food a community can support- and food vendors can only pay “so-much” rent.
As a general principle, in the (near) future, retail space will be used only to compliment e-commerce. Landlords should position their properties for such complimentary purpose, rather than double-down on efforts towards “in-person activities”, like shopping or entertainment, which are in such property owners’ comfort zones, because for brick and mortar owners, the shopping process is going to get more and more uncomfortable, unless they properly adapt.
Retail space owners would be smarter to position their brick and mortar store spaces to benefit from the following retail uses:
1. We will not shop in stores. But, we will shop at large national retailers, since their scale will make it efficient and cost effective. So, Walmart, Target, T.J. Maxx, Costco, etc., will still provide brick and mortar places to buy products (and these stores will likely have social areas inside of them- coffee bars, etc.).
2. Other than as described above, stores will be used only as follows:
(i) As showrooms for e-tailers’ products that can be ordered online, as we shop. So, there will be 5 or 10 of each product in an actual store for viewing, and we will order the products right there and then, on our mobile devices, for home delivery. Stores will not hold much inventory other than for display. This usage of stores as showrooms, will include “permanent presences” as well as temporary/pop-up stores;
(ii) storefronts will be used as pickup points for items we order online from home. A storefront will receive and hold items that have been paid for online and then shipped to the store for consumer pick-up. Such storefronts may be a branded store of the retailer at which we made the online purchase- or the storefront may just be an independently-owned pick-up point;
(iii) stores will be “showcases” for service providers in local areas. This will include pop-up “expos” for a day or a month for certain services. For example: a pop-up wedding expo that lasts for a week that rents booths and tables to vendors of various wedding related services located in our respective neighborhoods;
(iv) stores will be street-side “offices” for services that want the retail exposure- attorneys, accountant, party-planners, insurance agents. Good retail space used to be too costly for this use, forcing such businesses into office buildings, where they lacked consumers visibility. Growth in online commerce, and, thus, retail vacancies, will change this dynamic.
All of this will certainly lead to lower rents and a lower need for retail space. There is no question about that. So, while none of this will be a panacea for all existing retail properties, re-positioning properties as needed, to address the demand of the digital economy, will help owners whose properties are located in places that can benefit from the continuing evolution and growth of e-commerce.
Shopping is, of course, not the only way to use land. There will be many “non-shopping” creative uses of property going forward. This article is limited to addressing how landlords need to address and manage their brick and mortar stores to keep them relevant in retail’s evolution.
Neil S. Siskind, Esq., President
The Siskind Law Firm
Neil Siskind is the Founder & Chairman of The Fatherhood Assignment
Learn more at: http://www.neil-siskind-the-fatherhood-assignment.org/
Neil Siskind is the Conservator of the Neil S. Siskind Nature Preserve
The Neil S. Siskind Nature Preserve is over 8 acres of environmentally-pristine waterfront land in a magnificent setting along New York’s majestic Hudson River. The Preserve includes a variety of species of animal and plant life, and is a precious example of the thoughtful maintenance of New York’s priceless open spaces. The land’s uses are limited to outdoor recreation such as hiking and climbing, and the study of ecology, nature and land use. The Neil S. Siskind Nature Preserve allows for the intelligent contemplation of our valuable natural resources and the most effective ways to maximize them and keep them protected.
Neil Siskind, Founder, “National Fatherhood Day” – March 29th
Read about the non-profits and charities whose missions Neil Siskind supports and promotes: www.neilsiskindsupports.com
Caring is Free®
You can read what clients and associates say about Neil Siskind at: http://siskindlawfirm.com/neil-siskind-bio/.
Neil Siskind’s Volunteer Work:
– Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Volunteer
– Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, My Fundraiser- Help Neil Siskindhelp children with cancer to be more comfortable: http://mskcc.convio.net/site/TR?px=3182108&fr_id=2632&pg=personal
– Make-A Wish Foundation- Help Neil Siskind make sick children’s wishes come true by creating your own fundraiser: Neil-Siskind/Help-Make-A-Child-Smile.htm
– DonorsChoose.org- Donate to one of my needy public classrooms: http://www.donorschoose.org/NeilSiskindGiving
– Champion Children– We seek to inspire people through stories of children who have overcome challenges: http://siskindlawfirm.com/neil-siskind-champion-children/
Neil Siskind’s Pro Bono Work:
– Saving Senior Citizens- Protecting New York’s senior citizens from fraud and financial abuse www.savingseniorcitizens.com
– Senior FreeStart Business– Pro Bono: We seek to help put senior citizens in the right direction so that they can face the challenges of the modern economy: http://siskindlawfirm.com/free-start-business/
– Veteran FreeStart Business– Pro Bono: We seek to help put Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans in the right direction so that they can face the challenges of the modern economy: http://siskindlawfirm.com/free-start-business/
– In development: The Neil S. Siskind School of Hope: A free school to teach inner-city youths the skills of entrepreneurship and importance of economic self-sufficiency.
Neil Siskind’s Government Work:
– Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, Boston, MA, 1994, Intern
– Office of Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Newington, CT, 1992, Intern
– Hartford County Department of Probation, Hartford, CT, 1991, Intern
Neil Siskind’s Community Assistance:
Financed & operated a legal clinic providing low-cost legal services to struggling Long Islanders during the recession to help clients resolve debt, organize finances, and launch new businesses.
Neil Siskind’s Professional Curriculum Vitae: http://neilsiskind.com/
Inventors, IP Owners, Manufacturers
Learn How To Bring Products To Market And To Expand Your Distribution Channels
The Complete Guide To The Ways To Manufacture & Sell Your Products