Information has always played transformative roles in mankind’s evolution, from basic knowledge to the most advanced interactions. The ability to access data, capture, analyze, and communicate it, and strategically use it, has constantly changed the game since the beginning of time. Today’s technological innovations continue to drive change and advancement more rapidly than ever, transforming how we live, where we live and how we interact across the board. Tech advancements, such as blockchain distributed databases, clearly lead to better, faster, and stronger decisions. These changes will continue to have an exponential impact on discovery, underwriting, execution, speed, and efficiency—and will definitely have flow through impact on real estate strategies and footprints.
As an industry, we must continue to invest in the foundation that this infrastructure is built on. No one has more intel than tech companies, and this knowledge is exponentially valuable in efficient markets. The ability to apply this knowledge to the ownership of hard assets is invaluable. Imagine Expedia’s capacity to forecast where best to build hotels or WeWork to build office buildings. The same clearly goes for the digital native retailers and traditional brick-and-mortar retailers that leverage the power of data via their access to proptech such as geofencing, store interior mapping, e-parking, concierge AI, and, of course, their own unique information.
Technology continues to drive reinvention and reinvigoration of the retail and real estate industries, as digital and physical experiences both intersect and extend the reach of one another. Leading players on both sides of the retail real estate equation are adapting their business models accordingly. Just as best-in-class retailers have embraced omni-channel retailing by giving their customers a seamless experience through multiple shopping channels, digitally native retailers are now opening physical stores to optimize the intangible needs that the shopping experience meets beyond the transaction itself.
So, it is no surprise that retail and retail properties are going through a major transformation as traditional retail, changing technology, e-commerce, and demographics converge. Natural selection is at work, the fittest and those that adapt will not only survive but thrive and those that do not most likely will not.
Steven A. Lieberman is the Co-Founder, CEO, and Co-Chairman of the Board of Directors at The Retail Connection.