Retailers Focusing on Efficiency, Variety This Season

CBRE Report Outlines Trends in E-Commerce, Promotions, Pop-Ups

HOUSTON – October 26, 2016 – Innovation and consumer choice are fueling the most significant trends shaping this holiday shopping season, including a proliferation of “rogue” retailing and the refinement of e-commerce distribution and returns, according to a new report from CBRE Group, Inc. 

With most forecasters predicting a healthy but unspectacular increase in holiday sales this season, many storylines are likely to focus on the changes within retailing rather than the season’s volume of sales. To that end, the CBRE report outlines four of this season’s trends centered on improvements in e-commerce logistics as well as shoppers’ demand for new and unique options.

  • The mainstreaming of “rogue retailing”: Shopping center owners and retailers are seeking to entice shoppers with unusual concepts that make each visit different. Those include temporary, pop-up stores and more independent, craft stores. Mall owners such as Westfield Group, as well as several established retailers like Nordstrom Inc., are among those embracing the pop-up format.
  • Expanded e-commerce: Online sales are again expected to outpace in-store sales this season. But what’s not as well-known is who is driving those clicks: Brick-and-mortar retailers dominate online sales, and they’re investing in their platforms to do more. Additionally, mobile commerce has emerged as the fastest growing sector of online sales.
  • Improved logistics beget e-commerce profits: This could be the season in which the technology, analytics, delivery networks and past experience amassed by retailers and shippers coalesce to produce ideal holiday logistics – to the point of making e-commerce profitable. That includes shoring up strategies for minimizing returns of goods bought online and quickly processing those that are sent back.
  • The holiday promotions shuffle: A proliferation of landmark shopping days, from Black Friday and Small Business Saturday to Green Monday and Free Shipping Day, is allowing retailers to spread their promotions and shopper traffic across the entire season rather than just a couple of key days. Many thus can better manage their inventory. Shoppers, meanwhile, tend to dwell longer and spend more absent the hectic crowds. 

“This holiday shopping season is all about thinking outside the traditional retail box,” said Melina Cordero, CBRE Head of Retail Research, the Americas. “Retailers are innovating their store formats and revamping their e-commerce fulfillment systems. Owners are adding new and intriguing stores to their mix. It will add up to a very different and more efficient holiday shopping season.”

To read the full report, click here.