What we’ve observed is that the retailers that most successfully embraced an omnichannel platform during the past year (and previously) were the ones that won the most business during the pandemic and the ones that best positioned themselves for success in 2022 and beyond. Today, whatever the consumer wants, retailers have to provide. They need to do a better job on choices for pricing and availability. They have to provide new options for how people research and make a purchase, employing both physical and digital options. Both Target and Kohl’s have done an excellent job of swiftly embracing omnichannel, setting up package pick-up zones inside their stores and curbside pick-ups in their parking lots.
There has been a big mind change in the general public about shopping brick-and-mortar and shopping online. Look at some of the most successful direct-to-consumer brands like Amazon, Warby Parker, and Untuckit and they’re doing nationwide expansions into physical retail. And it’s not brought about so much by COVID-influenced changes. It’s been amplified by supply chain issues that the pandemic shined a spotlight on. Industrial real estate is in very short supply and physical stores now play a crucial role as local distribution centers for high-volume online brands. Not long ago I saw a story on Chain Store Age’s website called, “If you own a mall, you also own a warehouse.” It’s so true. If online sellers are out to kill brick-and-mortar retail, why are they moving into our malls?
Truth is, the formula for Pyramid’s success is relatively simple. It’s to put a few hundred of the highest quality sellers of goods and services together with the best entertainment options, the widest selection of restaurants — hotels in our larger properties—and provide them excellent service and amenities.
Not all enclosed shopping centers will survive, but the best ones, the ones that are paying attention will—especially those that find exciting new retailers, redefine the shopping experience, and adapt to changing consumer preferences.