By: JC Pelusi, Great Lakes Market Director, Jones Lang LaSalle
According to JLL research, about 20% of retailers’ yearly sales revenue is generated during the holidays. During the 2012 season, shoppers spent about $9.5 billion daily, adding up to a grand total of $579.5 billion.
The holidays are a critical time for the retail industry, and retailers across the country are scrambling to generate a successful shopping season. This year, however, due to the shorter holiday timeline and growing competition in a quickly evolving industry, retailers are being pushed to reevaluate their service offerings and real estate strategies. Plus, as my colleague Rob Roe discussed in a recent blog post, digital technology is transforming commercial real estate.
To help retailers better align their retail space with industry changes and expectations, experts from JLL’s Retail Group identified five key tips, which I’ve listed below.
In order to reach the 3.9% sales growth estimated by the National Retail Federation, retail sectors will need to produce about$9.9 billion in sales each day this holiday season.
Tip 1. Plan for a Shorter Shopping Season
Retailers always plan ahead for the flood of shoppers between Black Friday and Christmas day. But, because this year’s season is 19% shorter than last year (only 26 days, in fact), most retailers started marketing for the holidays a bit earlier.
Leading the pack this year are department store giants who drove early holiday sales by opening for business on Thanksgiving Day. According to research firm ShopperTrak, this tactic proved to be successful—in-store shopping traffic this Thanksgiving and Black Friday increased 2.8% compared to last year.
Tip 2. Reassess Real Estate to Better Serve Online Shoppers
According to projections from JLL’s Big Box Outlook Report, “e-commerce sales will more than double over the next four years, one-third driven by the retail sector.”
Undoubtedly, online shopping is here to stay, and it is completely altering traditional retail real estate strategies. Leading retailers, including Apple, Nordstrom, Wal-Mart and BestBuy, are expanding their in-store space so that online shoppers can conveniently pick up orders at the nearest brick and mortar location.
Lew Kornberg, Leader of Retail Tenant Representation, Jones Lang LaSalle said, “…bricks and mortar retailers with locations that double as online fulfillment centers will see an uptick in their sales.”
Tip 3. Test New Markets with Short-Term Space
The holiday season is the perfect time to explore new markets. We suggest securing short-term space to test different markets, without the commitment of a long-term lease. Big retailers, like Crate and Barrel, are setting up “pop-up shops” this year to see if it increases their holiday returns.
This holiday, our specialty leasing team is coordinating roughly 5,500 short-term agreements with clients. We suggest that your retail operation explore the possibility of short-term, holiday space if you’re considering entering a new market.
Tip 4. Optimize Existing Space
Because real estate is among retailers’ most costly expenses, aligning business goals with real estate goals is essential. Apple is a prime example of a company doing this well. Apple houses products in their retail space, but also positions their stores as the epicenter for product support – which is critical to the brand’s customer loyalty.
Maximize use of your space by ensuring that the shoppers’ in-store experience as effortless as possible. Keep them coming back by creating an engaging them as soon as they enter your store.
Tip 5. Create a Unified Experience Across Devices (And Spaces)
Shoppers have gone digital. Today’s savvy shopper expects a consistent experience from one device to the next. According to JLL research, “89% of buyers consider it important for retailers to make cross-channel shopping easy.”
With this in mind, it is up to retailers to make cross-channel shopping simple. To do so, companies should consider offering free Wi-Fi connections, making websites mobile friendly, and offering tools, like iPads, to simplify mobile checkout.
Today’s retailer must consider transforming the infrastructure of their retail environments. According to JLL’s Global E-Commerce whitepaper, “the key to omni-channel is the integration of processes, information systems and infrastructure, including property, to enable the retailer to meet customer demand from whatever location is positioned to provide the best customer experience.” As online sales continue to grow, retailers are forced to decide where, when and how their products will get into the hands of consumers.
For more from JLL’s retail experts, visit the full release on holiday retail strategies.
Have questions on how to implement the above strategies to your retail space? Contact me for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
JC Pelusi is an International Director for JLL and works out of the Pittsburgh office. As the leader for JLL’s Great Lakes region, JC has extensive experience in a variety of areas, including Corporate Account Management and Transaction Services.