Ecommerce and online (U.S.) retail sales are projected to reach $226 billion this year (12 percent increase over 2011) and many retailers have established online commerce channels in addition to physical locations. To help the conventional brick and mortar model remain competitive with Internet-only businesses, many landlords are launching leasing and promotional products to compliment retail sales and occupancy growth, Forbes Magazine reports. Several of the publically traded REITs like Kimco (KIM) and Weingarten (WRI) have launched leasing platforms to assist tenants with business development. Kimco, for example, has developed the new KEYS (Kimco Entrepreneurs Year Start) program to assist startup entrepreneurs and first-time business owners with operational and financial support through critical startup incubation years. Weingarten has also developed a proprietary communication platform where the company provides leasing, consulting, and operational support for existing and proposed tenants. This SHOPCENTRIC platform is designed to assist customers with simplifying certain business-related procedures, enabling Weingarten’s tenants to remain competitive. In addition, some developers such as LA-based Caruso Affiliated, are building a better brick and mortar retail experience, pioneering concepts like the open-air, experiential shopping center, according to Forbes. Caruso branded centers enable visitors to maximize time and engage in meaningful activities with friends and family, which is critical to the shopping and retail experience as peoples’ lives grow more complex.
Innovations for Brick and Mortar Businesses
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