DMM Retail Industry e-News Issue #183
Memorial Day Weekend Marks Turning Point for Retail in COVID Era
Last month’s Memorial Day weekend seemed to mark a turning point in the COVID situation thus far in the United States. Many regions went through early stages of a reopening, including some retail. The slow process of re-opening retail during the pandemic has begun sporadically around the country. In Los Angeles County, the Commercial Observer noted, all retail locations were permitted to open up for in-store shopping, while up north in Santa Clara, retail was given the OK to partially re-open. In San Antonio, Texas, small businesses are trying to work their way through their new reality. In Baltimore, according to WJZ channel 13 (CBS), curbside retail opened up with the city looking to create pick-up and drop-off zones in commercial districts to make things more convenient for customers and delivery drivers. “It’s been a challenge. We’ve tried to adapt our business from being completely closed to try to partially open some of our stores,” said Brian Nasuta, General Manager at Charm City Run in Harbor East.
Shopping Centers Turn Something Old into Something New
Your humble e-newsletter editor grew up in a time the preceded the days of the multiplex movie theater, with its 3D and Real-D films and stereo, super sound systems. Ah, the days of the drive-in with the ripped movie screen and tin-can mono-audio speaker hanging in the driver’s side window. For the most part, that slice of Americana has gone the way of the phonograph record. But some shopping centers have been bringing it back, in a way, what with their spacious parking lots and room for a giant screen. Just add in a low-power FM radio station or an app with piped-in audio and you have yourself a drive-in! “Bringing a nostalgic and safe summer experience right into our backyard will empower the local community to come together safely to enjoy longer summer days, all while facilitating important social distancing,” said Queens (NY) Councilman Paul Vallone of a plan to bring a drive-in to Bay Terrace Shopping Center on June 19th. Where drive-ins still exist, they’re getting the jump on their multiplex cousins, as they already have social distancing down to a science.
Using Technology to Jolt In-Store Consumer Experiences
As we’ve seen over the last few months, an e-commerce platform is vital to retailers that typically have real-world footprints. A consumer’s ability to purchase items via the internet but pick them up curbside or in a store parking lot has become a part of the retail scene that is not likely to go away once the smoke clears. In the UK, for example, Fitch Ratings reports that “Physical stores also support web-to-store channels such as click-and-collect purchases, which have grown in importance since the crisis began and drive complementary traffic.” Writing for Retail Info Systems’ website, Audwin Cash, senior vice-president of Atrius Enterprise Solutions at Acuity Brands, said that by leveraging location-aware IoT networks, traditional retailers could create more personalized in-store experiences that address their future business needs. “In a 2019 NetSuite study, 80% of customers said they felt dissatisfied with the level of personalization within both in-store and online environments. What works online cannot be translated literally into a physical environment, but retailers can create a richer in-store experience for customers using technology,” he said. This, in turn, would result in a positive impact on margins.
Retail Re-openings Creating New Opportunities for Brick & Mortar
Memorial Day Weekend did deliver the traditional retail punch it has in years past, but it does seem to be delineating a turnaround that America’s consumers are yearning for. The industry’s changing environment has kept the DMM research team on their toes. We’ve got tons of data to help you figure out how consumers are adapting to their new normal, and how retails are doing the same. DMM’s major shopping center and mall data, which includes vital statistics on over 8,700 major properties and their 313,026 associated tenants, is essential to your situational analysis and business opportunities. Click here to learn more.
DMM e-News - Issue #183
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