Adapting to the new retail scene

Tim Harrup

In its ‘Back-to-School 2020 Retail Trends’ report, Cushman & Wakefield says the covid-19 outbreak has accelerated the trends previously observed on the Belgium and Luxembourg real estate markets and will contribute to a strong reshaping of the retail landscape, with impact on activity, footfalls, rents and yields. More than ever, retail will be a question of location, positioning, market knowledge and adaptations.

Six months after the beginning of the covid-19 crisis we have learned a lot, Cushman goes on to say, beginning with the fact that an omni-channel presence is a must have item. In the short-term, the drop-in footfall traffic will negatively impact retail sales numbers. However, going forward in the mid- to long-term, Cushman expects retail sales volume growth rates to return to pre-outbreak levels. Along with this, there is likely to be an acceleration and a deeper integration of offline/online omni-channel retail services, given the recognized importance of these platforms for driving retail product and service sales.

Secondly, digitization/data intelligence has become important in the retail sector but the crisis has proved to a number of retailers that these tools can be further optimized. Looking forward, best practice use of digitization and data intelligence will help retailers to place a greater emphasis on customer relationship management, in-depth data gathering, product personalization and intelligent supply chain management. This will lead to a further improvement in the customer shopping experience and, ultimately, retail sales performance.

Cushman also expects more retailers and shopping centres to change their existing marketing models and adapt them to the use of live online broadcast channels to not only market their products and services but also to improve the overall shopping experience for their customers. Despite the current context, Cushman says it also sees new opportunities coming onto the retail market.