The retail landscape is everchanging. With the continued rise of e-commerce, it was only a matter of time before we witnessed the challenges facing traditional retail. However, as digital companies like Amazon establish brick-and-mortar presences, the future points to more experience-based retail. So, what does this mean for construction companies, those charged with building these spaces?
As builders of a changing world, we know physical retail stores must differentiate themselves from their online competitors. Providing all-in-one destinations, where retail is part of a larger ecosystem that focuses on the overall experience as opposed to a mere transaction, is a strategic trend. Mixed-use developments aim to create these destinations and experiences.
In Grand Rapids, Rockford is currently building two mixed-used developments – Bridge and Stocking and 234 Market. On the West Side of the city, the Bridge and Stocking development brings together residential units, job training opportunities, office users, and key retail spaces, including the Bridge Street Market, Meijer’s new urban grocery concept. At 234 Market, residential units and retail opportunities complement established businesses in the neighborhood, like Founders Brewing Company, Cheeky Strut Salon, and The Rapid Central Station, the city’s main transportation system. In both developments, retail is a key component driving enhancements to the environment where people live, work and play.
In Fort Myers, Florida, Rockford recently broke ground on the renovation and redevelopment of Bell Tower Shops. "As the Southwest Florida community continues to grow, Bell Tower Shops is evolving to deliver a transformative experience that meets the ever-changing needs and interests of today’s consumers," said Whitney Livingston, Senior Vice President, Madison Marquette. In addition to shopping and dining, Bell Tower Shops is dedicating spaces for entertainment. This creates an atmosphere unmatched by today’s online shopping experiences.
For a construction company, it’s important to find the balance between leading processes, creating experiences, implementing innovative ideas and responding to client needs and end-customer demands. In terms of retail, while e-commerce likely won’t decrease in popularity, neither will the innate desire to connect in-person. Experience-based retail bridges the gap.