29 Nov 2016

In the Urbis Global Retail Trends series, we look at some of the most interesting, exciting themes and opportunities we saw while on the Urbis International Retail Study Tour 2016. Here we consider the stores that are jumping from the web to the shop floor…

The online marketplace is becoming crowded and fragmented, and a physical presence is becoming a necessity

Just as many physical stores, especially notable brands, pursue an omni-channel approach to serving their customer’s needs, there is a trend emerging whereby former pure play (purely online) retailers are now seeking a physical presence.

The online marketplace is becoming crowded and fragmented, and a physical presence is becoming necessary in order to achieve better customer engagement, brand recognition and higher growth.

The 2016 Urbis International Retail Study Tour to North America has seen a number successful previously online-only businesses take up space in strips and centres, particularly in areas where their product has already achieved reasonable online penetration.

Warby Parker, Bonobos, Blue Nile, Amazon and Deciem are notable examples.

Convergence is certainly accelerating in another direction too, with tech savvy start-up businesses that are new to the retail world emerging in shopping centres. For example:

  • WithMe is a new player in shopping centres and is taking up in-line space to incubate emerging fashion brands and new ideas from established brands on a 2-3 month cycle. WithMe certainly brings technology into the store in no uncertain terms, offering personalised digital shopping experiences in store; and
  • B8ta has recently completed a capital-raising to showcase the latest tech gadgets in physical stores, or more appropriately a ‘showroom’, where transactions are made online but in store.

Leasing teams will no doubt be looking into the online marketplace for future deals. 


WithMe at Santa Monica Place

In September Urbis embarked on its latest International Retail Study Tour. Along with a group of our clients, we visited six cities in the USA and Canada and experienced more than 40 shopping centres through the eyes of people operating in different disciplines within the retail industry.

We’ll be showcasing some of our findings through the Global Retail Trends series. 

See the first instalment of the Urbis Global Retail Trend series here: Car Showrooms in Shopping Centres.