PECO is literally and figuratively close to the ground when it comes to retail insights through its management of nearly 300 shopping centers that include Kroger, Publix, Ahold Delhaize and Albertsons anchor stores. PECO identified several key focal areas for the coming year, including:
Large retailers’ ongoing efforts to open to smaller-format concepts as a way to connect with local customers, evident in reduced-footprint stores from banners like Target.
The continued popularity of the buy-online-pick-up-in-store (BOPIS) model, as pandemic-era shopping habits settle into some regularity.
The effectiveness of “social selling” and virtual and augmented reality in targeting consumers with items that appeal to their personal preferences.
Automation that improves experiences and efficiencies for both consumers and retailers, from ordering to delivery.
According to PECO’s experts, technologies are accelerating at a time of need and opportunity. “With supply chain issues dominating headlines as we navigate the holiday season, automation is playing a critical role in how retailers are getting product from point A to point B,” said Mike Conway, VP of national accounts and retail partnerships at PECO. “These tools can help brands to better track, identify and analyze issues, informing their decision-making and also allowing them to better and more proactively communicate with customers to set expectations and handle delays. Automation also provides critical predictive analytics that allow retailers to take a hyper-localized approach to stocking their shelves at neighborhood shopping centers like ours, advancing their last-mile delivery strategies. We expect to see continued investment in automation and supply chain technology.”
As retailers compete with restaurants for the share of the consumer food dollar, they can also heed foodservice trends likely to impact shoppers’ behavior. PECO highlighted the launch of digital-only restaurants and ghost kitchens in the quick-service and fast-casual spaces, noting that those trends reflect the restaurant industry’s drive to accommodate demand for off-premise dining, which is likely to continue beyond the pandemic.