Sam’s Club to Amazon: It’s War! (in Cashier-less Stores Battle)
Amazon may have tried it first, but look out internet giant, retail giant Sam’s Club is hot on your heels. Walmart recently launched a new effort targeted for Dallas called “Sam’s Club Now,” which is designed to be a smartphone-powered experience, though a little different than Amazon’s. Boy Genius Report, a mobile and tech news website, reported that while the latter’s allows shoppers to swipe their app, shop, and then leave, Sam’s Club Now will be much larger than Amazon Go stores (2,300 square feet compared to 32,000 square feet) and shoppers will have to still check out with a cashier. SamsClub.com CEO Jamie Iannone blogged recently that the new store in Dallas will be a concept store where technological kinks and advancements will be hashed out and eventually become cashier-free. “Our associates are key to bringing this experience to life, which is why we’re introducing a new role called the Member Host. Think of these associates as the concierge of the club. We’ll empower them with new technology that will allow them to serve members better and faster. We’ve known for a long time our associates make the difference, and that won’t change just because shopping preferences evolve,” Iannone said.
Retail Trends to Watch: Smaller Grocery Stores, Mixed-Use and Pot
A recent retail summit in Houston gathered several experts in the industry to discuss the retail climate and future. They came up with five trends at the Bisnow Mixed-Use and Retail event that are worth watching and considering. Among the ideas, shopping centers as specialty concepts, with entire mixed-use centers revolving around one idea, such as health or food. Another suggested trend is the evolution of smaller grocery stores. “The fact that you can get your staples delivered to your house, grocery stores are going to be more focused on fresh product,” said Nick Hernandez, Managing Director, Transwestern, a commercial real estate company. The legalization of recreational and medical marijuana around the country could push shopping centers to accommodate stores of that type, though the inclination is to restrict them in the short-term.
Simon Sez: Shopping Centers Could Benefit from Fewer Anchors
Malls have always been paired with at least one, giant department store. Larger malls have several. That’s going to change in the future. That’s according to Simon Properties’ CEO, David Simon, who, in a Q3 2018 earnings call, said the end of the traditional mall anchor could be near and “maybe our industry got just too carried away with having all these big department store boxes.” Simon added that he is encouraged by results showing smaller stores are benefitting from the closure of larger stores such as Sears. “The store experience and the store requirement is back, and that shouldn’t be underappreciated.”
DMM e-News - Issue #145
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