2019 Brick & Mortar Trends: Physical Space- the Next Frontier


Hey, it’s Syama Meagher here, CEO of Scaling Retail, and we’re talking about 2019 trends in brick-and-mortar retail. The first trend is looking at the evolution of the retail mall landscape. We were hearing so much about the retail apocalypse. In fact, hundreds and hundreds big box and independent fashion retailer stores being closed down, but was anyone paying attention to the rise of the new modular retail space and new ways in which malls are now incorporating lifestyle, working, and, yes, art and culture?

Take us to our first example, the new retail development that’s happening in Hong Kong, K11 Musea. This is a really interesting concept as they are now merging the actual museum landscape. So think for example like The Louvre or, like, The Getty but now incorporating this into a retail shoppable experience. Now, this is taking place in Hong Kong in the midst of a $2.6 billion development space that will also be including other forms of residential as well as other commercial real estate.

Now, what makes this so interesting and exciting? Well, when was the last time you guys ever thought of a museum as a way in order to capture and draw customers in? Certainly we always think about museum gift shops, but do we really think about the blending and the merge of art and culture as well as offering a curated suite of luxury lifestyle brands in order to cater to that consumer? Super interesting. This is going to be released in 2019. Can’t wait to see what happens there. It presents endless possibilities for the creative independent fashion retailer owner and enterprise exec alike.

Now, the second great example is actually how we’ve been seeing the development of co-working spaces. As you guys may have heard in 2018, we saw WeWork take over the Lord & Taylor flagship building in New York City. Now, that was an amazing real estate venture simply because WeWork has now been such a huge mainstay in how today’s urban culture, entrepreneurial culture is looking to bridge their work lifestyle and really the synthesis and combination of the two.

So, what’s interesting here? Well, not only has WeWork recently hired a retail director and a development of retail, meaning that they’re starting to look at their co-working spaces more as retail projects, but we’re also starting to see the synthesis between WeWork that are for retail and for working as well as for living. WeWork recently announced that they were also having a co-living space and we’re starting to see a lot of retail developers capitalize on the merging between retail, housing as well as also workspaces. It makes so much sense that retail has evolved this way. It’s like a natural progression from the concept store independent fashion retailer to totally immersing retail in our lives.

Over here in Los Angeles – over in Glendale – we’ve seen another great rise of a very interesting retail mall concept called the Americana. Nestled behind a suite of high-end, luxury retail stores, we have a suite of condos again looking to bridge that live-work lifestyle. Not only are there retail storefronts but also restaurants. So imagine this, guys. We now have a captured customer who is not just looking to go into a space in order to shop but is also living there, eating there, right, and possibly working there.

Now the last example we have is coming out of New Jersey over in the Cherry Hill shopping center. Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust as well as incubator, 1776, are now merging in a really exciting venture in order to take retail incubators and bring them into these modular retail spaces. So it’s interesting here, guys, as we now have real estate companies that are also looking at finding ways of bringing modularity back into how they are doing retail leasing.

Over in Los Angeles, we have brands like platform as well as the ROW in Downtown LA also enacting something very similar: open storefront spaces, being able to come in and shop as a consumer, having the right kinds of real estate that’s surrounded by a mix of not only food options as well as brick-and-mortar clothing as well as accessory stores and furniture stores. And the most interesting thing that we find here, guys, is the retail spaces are rotating. These are actual spaces that are planned in order to have retail businesses come in and be there for 3 months, 6 months, maybe a year… but the developers and the real estate lease holders are actually understanding, hey, we’re going into this modularity in order to do product market testing and in order to give our consumers a higher touchpoint marketing experience. It presents a huge opportunity for the independent fashion retailer business in particular. It makes having a physical retail space that much more attainable.

All right, so what does this mean for you guys? Well, my enterprise businesses… this means that we need to start rethinking how we are approaching opening up brick-and-mortar retail. Yes, you may have shut down stores in the last three to five years. Yes, you may have been reconsidering a lot of your different brick-and-mortar investments. However, as we start to see the merging between shopping, lifestyle, and work, it’s really important we now look at new real estate developments as key opportunities to become embedded into the lifestyle of your consumer.

Growth stage companies. Very important that we start to take a look at how these pop-ups and these modular spaces are now going to be playing a much bigger role in your direct-to-consumer interfacing. This means you might be looking to partner up with different developers across the country and start to keep your eye on who is doing what in terms of modular rentals and in terms of modular spacing. This is a really amazing opportunity to really bridge your online to offline and really create a great customer exchange and experience.

Now startups… what does all of this mean for you? Well, like I mentioned about that real estate option that was happening out in Cherry Hill in New Jersey, looking at incubators that are now partnering up with real estate companies is a great way for you to foray and test-market your product into the industry to see how exactly are consumers are going to feel and relate to it. This is going to help you with product positioning, pivoting and really figuring out if you have the right price points, and, guys, the right market demographics for where you are launching. There’s maybe never been a better time to get into the independent fashion retailer business.

All right, want to know more about launching retail? Want to know more about getting into brick-and-mortar? Guys, send us an email at hello@scalingretail.com. We open-source globally. We make sure that our clients have the right pop-up experiences, they’re in the right storefronts, and, guys, we make sure that from a merchandising standpoint you’ve got the right product at the right place for that target market. Hope you guys have a great 2019. Love to see how these strategies work out for you. Thanks! Bye.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *