ICSC – Next Generation Recap

I learned so much at the ICSC – Next Generation Conference but here is a brief, high-level recap of the highlights.

Trends:

• Retailers see mobile and Web channels as complementary to the bricks-and-mortar locations. Now they are using the virtual locations as a channels to encourage real-world shopping.
• Food service, furniture, health, fitness and fashion are key growth areas for retail real estate.
• Average store size is decreasing across many sectors as retailers begin to use stores as showrooms, especially for commodities that are easily purchased online.
• For the foreseeable future, almost all shopping center activity will consist of redevelopment of older centers rather than new development.

What this means:

• The in-person shopping experience needs to offer something extra in order to keep consumers engaged. For shopping centers food offerings, entertainment, events and ambiance are all key.
• Perks for in-store shoppers can also go a long way. Some retailers allow in-store customers to be the first to purchase new merchandise or receive special offers. Many offer in-store pick-up for merchandise ordered online.
• Develop marketing promotions around solution-based sales opportunities where shoppers receive advice, styling or other assistance to customize the experience for them. (The online experience falls short when shoppers are looking for several items that work together.)
• Consider how technology could improve the in-store experience with interactive tools that go a level deeper offering customization, rewards or design assistance.