Executive Strategy

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Retail Isnt Dead

Retail Isn't Dead Dane Flanigan.jpg

Retail Isn’t Dead. It’s Changing


Recently my wife and I were at a brand-new shopping center in a slightly suburban / kind of urban neighborhood with a lot of high-end retail stores and cool restaurants.  The baby strollers were out, people were eating, having coffee, enjoying the warm weather and ice cream but there wasn’t anyone in the stores... shopping.

The definition of retail: the sale of goods to the end user. New advances in technology created different avenues for business enterprises.

Over the past ten years, the way people shop from instore to online has changed; from take home tonight to delivery next day, from dine-in to delivery carryout.  These trends will continue as more millennials make a statement in the marketplace and move to urban habitation with better logistics in third party transportation.  What does that mean for our traditional retail stores?


More developers are changing the look and feel of “shopping malls” to be more of eat, shop and play.  We are watching glamour avenues such as Melrose transition to be less boutique and more practical: restaurants, cafés and service based businesses.

Selling Online and Instore

Amazon, the forever brick and mortar is opening flagship stores and recently made a 13.7-billion-dollar acquisition for Whole Foods.  This should be a signal to retailers to diversify, customers want convenience, online shopping is easy; they also want to ask questions and see products in person. Retail is not just shopping, it is an experience.  Traditional retailers need the challenge of creating more of an instore experience to bring customers in.

Location and Marketing

Frequency and advertising go hand in hand; potential tenants will now have to think more about the overall space and the ability for the landlord to generate their type of foot traffic. Landlords will be compelled to bring in customers from community events and making their development an entertainment piece and less of a longstanding shopping center. 

Retail isn’t dead, it is the transition that sometimes hurts. As the customer evolves, business owners will need to make changes as well. As a consultant, I remind my retail clients to keep the end user in mind.  This will mean paying attention to trends, transitioning to online and instore sales as well as negotiating leases with landlords and developers who have the right type of traffic for the retail business.