“Retailers who know how to embrace the changes and channels in shopping are the ones we’ve seen succeed.”

- Gerald Divaris, chairman and CEO of Divaris Real Estate

1. Sync up with your shoppers using an omnichannel approach

The retail world is upside down because of lessons we learned from COVID, the catalyst that fast-tracked a massive change in retail.

While brick and mortar retailers were being told they were dead in the water, direct to consumer retailers were seeing some of their biggest sales to date. Some retailers quickly pivoted immediately removing themselves from shuddered storefronts, hoping to find their customers online.

Pivoting to meet your customer is vital, and the American consumer has proven their resiliency. The retail trends that began taking shape in 2020 are here to stay, but that might not mean what you think it does. Consider your own shopping habits. How have they changed, and how do they continue to evolve?

Adaptable retailers began to restructure with an omnichannel approach to meeting their customer’s needs, employing a spectrum of services: combining online ordering with curbside pickup, in-person returns, and same day delivery. While retailers focus on creating meaningful and engaging in-store experiences, customers seek the opportunity and reasons to shop in person. Integrated online options deliver a smooth and consistent experience across all channels.

Amazon is an example of a retailer who has employed an omnichannel approach.

Take Amazon and Kohls for example. By teaming up, Amazon shoppers can continue to shop online and return orders in person at Kohls. Returns aren’t as profitable for online-only retailers. It takes inventory out of stock for a month or longer, sometimes it can’t even be put back in stock, online returns is where online retailers are really losing. Store credit feels like free money because you’ve already spent it. Think again to your own shopping habits, how often do you purchase something additional when making an in-store return?

Amazon has also had a chokehold on the electronics world, offering the convenience of online shopping and competitive pricing, then Best Buy woke up – now they are a full service online competitor, and guarantee to match any price.

By making some products exclusively available online, Walmart’s online profile is a higher end customer than the one walking into the store. Walmart has now stepped into the ring as a direct competitor with online retail giant, Amazon.

Omnichannel is the dominant strategy for retailers in a post-pandemic world, and it’s here to stay.

2. Cash in on the impulse buy

Online retailers often lose out on the impulse buy, which reportedly makes up 40-80% of purchases. It’s reported that 87% of US shoppers make impulse buys, and more than 50% of all grocery is sold because of impulsiveness.* – Shopify Retail Blog, Oct. 18 2021

Retailers who implement smart merchandising can cash in on the impulse buy. From walking into a store and deciding you need a shirt in every color now that you’ve touched it, to throwing something extra in the bag at checkout. This is an advantage that brick and mortar retailers have over online retailers. Resourceful retailers know exactly the placement and price point – the where and what – of the spontaneous purchase.

Impulse buys make up 40-80% of retail purchases.

3. Size and location matter

With decreased foot traffic and the uncertainty of the pandemic, many retailers closed up shop and left the market. The retailers who stayed, perhaps reconfiguring their footprint, downsizing the storefront, or adjusting their offerings – remained top of mind.

Many retailers are even reconsidering their location, throwing their arms open wide to the previously overlooked mixed use shopping center. Who doesn’t need a smoothie after the gym, or decides on a quick errand after the salon? Grab lunch and grocery shop? Voluntary footfall is free and more is more.

Adaptable retailers are expanding and growing, meeting shoppers where they are – online and in person. Creating in-store experiences that use technology and smart merchandising, and following up with online exclusives.

The ability to resize footprint is an advantage in a rapidly changing situation.


Gerald Divaris

Gerald Divaris is the Chairman of the Divaris Group of companies which includes Divaris Real Estate, Inc. (DRE) and Divaris Property Management Corp. DRE is a full-service brokerage firm with a portfolio of approximately 31.5 million square feet in management and leasing assignments. The Company currently employs over 175 people and has offices in 10 cities nationwide. Gerald heads up Divaris Real Estate’s Retail and Development Services Divisions, nationally. Also, he is on the board of Realty Resources, the nationwide network of brokers specializing in retail real estate. He is on the board of the Hilton Club of New York and a founding Director.

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