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Three Keys to Rethinking Retail (1/3): Omnichannel Omnipotence

modern automated warehouse with robots

For retailers stuck in lockdown, or teetering on the edge of one, it’s hard to imagine what the next few days will bring — let alone the next few years. But there is plenty of desire, and plenty of reason, to hold onto hope. 

Before Delta, Australian retail sales were trending towards recovery, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics data. Across the ditch, retail drove a large part of New Zealand’s economic recovery (before Australia’s outbreak spread there too), and green shoots have started appearing overseasThese glimpses into life in a post-COVID ‘new normal’ are promising signs — and preparing for this optimistic future makes sense both psychologically and economically. 

Take Culture Kings’ massively successful first international store opening in Sylvia Park. With a groundbreaking combination of experiential innovation, cultural cachet and world-class tenant representation (if we say so ourselves), Culture Kings showed us that brick-and-mortar retail isn’t dead — just different. For retailers to thrive in a post-COVID world, there are three key adjectives to consider: omnichannelexperiential, and local. We think each of these deserves an in-depth exploration, so we’ll tackle one each week in this three-part blog series. 

Rethinking shopfronts as touchpoints, not endpoints 

With foot traffic becoming web trafficretailers need to start rethinking shopfronts as touchpoints in an integrated customer journey — not necessarily as endpoints. Click-and-collect, curbside pickup, buy online return in-store and the like have become the norm, taking the physical touch out of shopper ‘touchpoints’. 

For Culture Kings, their investment into strategic SEO to drive online traffic into a scalable eCommerce platform, customised to match its trademark in-store vibe, has paid dividends. In the words of co-founder Simon Beard, “it allow[ed] us to more focus on our art side rather than being so bogged down in the science side”. (Not coincidentally, partnering with the industry experts to focus on the retail artistry it does best is exactly what Culture Kings has done in collaborating with Tenant Leasing Group.) 

Another example of a retailer embracing omnichannel innovation is IKEA. In addition to its augmented reality app enabling customers to visualise furniture in their own homes, the Swedish conglomerate has unveiled a small-format store wildly different from its traditional big blue boxes. The first IKEA Home Planning Studio in Australia opened in Sydney’s Westfield Warringah Mall in 2019, where no stock is held — customers pre-book appointments to plan their homes, and orders are then fulfilled for home delivery or store pick-up. 

Speaking of fulfillment, supply chain logistics are becoming increasingly important for successful omnichannel retail businesses (as we’ve written about previously). Smart, strategic investment into optimising order and inventory management can be expensive in the short term, but when done well, can boost profits in the long run. To do so, it is vital to understand your internal and external environment as well as evaluate potential logistics partners, technologies and fulfillment approaches. Tenant Leasing Group can make this process easier by helping procure the best industrial and logistics property to fulfill your desired strategy. 

And while Culture Kings and IKEA have millions of dollars and years of omnichannel expertise, it’s never too late or too futile to prepare your retail business for a dynamic, innovative future. Tenant Leasing Group partners with retailers new and established, large and small. Whether you want to find a new site, re-negotiate your lease, extend or get smart about your property footprint — we help optimise your leasing arrangements to grow your business in a post-COVID future. Get in touch today!

Stay tuned for Part 2 next week.

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Phil Reichelt

Director, Tenant Leasing Group

Phil has 25+ years experience advising and representing tenants on retail, office, industrial, large format retail, healthcare and other commercial property leasing.

A trusted veteran, Phil knows how to work negotiations in the tenant’s favour. He builds relationships directly with founders, business owners and senior executives to help optimise their business property situation.

Better lease deals for business tenants.

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