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5 Key Insights & Trends in Retail from ICSC RECon 2019

With the world’s biggest retail convention wrapping up last week, we took a while to reflect on the latest trends and interesting insights our team grasped.

Some of the things we learnt would provide valuable insight to a retail developer, looking to build smarter retail structures that are best in line with customers’ behavior and shopping preferences:

1. Updated Store Layouts

Many retailers are moving their service areas at the front of the store, providing convenient pick-up or returns for their customers. So if you’re looking to build a retail store, be sure to study this trend to provide the best experience to your shoppers.

2. Retail Real Estate Is Not Going Anywhere

With the advent of e-commerce, many retailers failed to view it as an opportunity to grow their business but instead, considered it a threat to brick-and-mortar. Despite the ever-growing number of e-commerce transactions in the past, retail still contributes to 85% of the total sales in the industry, amounting to $4 trillion.

The opportunity that lies in e-commerce can be seen by the fact that each time a retail chain opens up a first physical location, it drives 37% more web traffic within the area!

3. Growing Brick-and-Mortar Stores

According to IHL Research, retail chains operating more than 50 locations opened around 3,800 more stores than they closed in 2018. Digitally native brands that start up as an online business, eventually graduate to a physical location, and the fact that an actual physical location is viewed as prestige, business owners see the importance of having a physical presence for marketing and customer-relationship purposes.

4. Customer Experience

Retailers are looking to provide shopping experience that resonates their brands’ concepts expressively and create better long-term associations for their brands and relations with their customers. Retailers who fail to keep up with technology to provide better, ever evolving experiences to its patrons, will face a shut-down. That includes integration of AI & VR which was a hot topic at RECon this year.

5. Rent By Choice

A small but not negligible insight, according to a research by JLL, 70% of millennial and Gen Xers indicated that they would be willing to rent consumer durable items as opposed to buying them. It would be interesting to see how some of the specialty retail stores would adapt to this and how this would impact the build process!

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