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Digital retail: what does it mean for your retail tenants?

Retail is changing, and omnichannel is becoming the norm. What does this mean for your retail tenants and what can you do to support them?

Wishibam is a leading B2B and B2C SaaS platform enabling retailers to reconnect with sustainable growth through omnichannel. They also partner with Chainels to enable property managers to offer omnichannel commerce services to its tenants.

In anticipation of MAPIC 2022, we spoke with sales executive Benjamin Brannerud to get their thoughts on the future of retail. 

How has the retail business model changed in recent years?

Even before Covid, the retail industry was evolving quickly. It’s mainly due to the exponential growth of online commerce, a trend that the pandemic only accelerated. Today, a shopping centre’s main competitor is no longer the other centres present in the catchment area but rather pure web players, like Amazon or Zalando.

Consumer behaviour has changed too. They now expect to be able to shop when and where they want, regardless of the place, hour, or channel. If a retailer is not present at that moment, consumers will simply purchase from one that is.

Being just a “pure web player” or “physical retailer” is no longer enough. Businesses need to adapt and become omnichannel.

How can property managers in places like retail parks and malls adapt to these changes?

In order to adapt to these changes, you first have to understand them and explore your options. Use actionable data to respond to new consumer behaviour and adapt the customer journey to their expectations.

Therefore, a new level of service, like logistics or online sales, need to be offered to tenants and clients. Implementing an omnichannel strategy is crucial to reconnect with sustainable growth.

What role must retail property managers take up in this new age of retail?

Property managers are expected to bring business to their tenants. Originally, the shopping centre itself was enough to attract customers thanks to a good catchment area, parking facilities, entertainment, food offers et cetera.

Now to attract and retain tenants, landlords need to offer innovative services to their tenants that will help them increase their turnover and footfall.

They need to find a way to become a more powerful business provider for their tenants using the space that they have. Thus, the digitization of their assets becomes one of the most relevant options.

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What is the potential for technology to change the future of retail?

Technology has already induced changes in all sectors, including retail. For instance, online commerce, social media and other means of communication are bringing business and customers closer together.

Customers can now benefit from immediacy and innovative services, retailers are using the available data to better understand consumers and adapt their offers accordingly.

Personalization of the customer journey is a must-have today for all retailers. 

How can physical retail spaces survive the growth of eCommerce?

Omnichannel can create unique opportunities for physical retailers when done properly. A purely online model is no longer sustainable, due to increasing customer acquisition and delivery costs. Combining a strong physical presence with e-commerce can give retailers a comprehensive edge.

By setting up local marketplaces, shopping malls are also tackling CSR issues that are inherent to players like Amazon, Zalando, etc… Moreover, they can eventually offer logistics services for their tenants (ship-from-store, C&C, etc…) and thus generate new revenue streams. 

What is the future of in-store shopping?

At Wishibam, we think that physical and online shopping are not competing but are complementary.

By becoming “omnichannel” and offering products available locally in store, the customer journey is enhanced. As a result an omnichannel customer spends on average 7 to 4 times more than an e-Commerce one, and 3,4 times more than a physical client.

We strongly believe that the future of shopping will neither be “online only” or “physical only” but a wise mix of both giving the customers the possibility to buy when and where they want to buy.

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