Retail Science

Retail Science: Equipped, Educated, Trusted Advisors

Posted on 7.27.16 by Kathrine Brody GIllis in In the News

When you think about the business of retail, you probably wouldn’t pair the words “Retail” and “Science” together; maybe Retail and Consumer or Retail and Trends, but not Retail and Science.

One of the definitions of science is “a systematically organized body of knowledge on a particular subject,” such as “the science of criminology,” and in CBRE’s case, “the science of retail.” At CBRE, we don’t want to simply be retail transactional sales professionals. We want to understand all parts of the retail real estate business from the consumer to the owner to the analytical location data and everything in between.

With that, CBRE has created Retail Science. Simply put, Retail Science is CBRE’s use of research, location analytics and customized training to serve our retail clients as trusted advisors who understand all aspects of retail. CBRE wants to take that organized body of knowledge, information and resources available to us and figure out the best formula in which to use it, to ensure the best possible service and outcomes for our clients. We want to have the retail real estate practice “down to a science,” if you will.

What is the makeup of Retail Science? There are four pillars to CBRE’s platform – Research, Location Analytics, Education and Sales Training. Within these four pillars, CBRE professionals are equipped with the right research tools, industry data and specific ongoing education programs for the retail real estate industry, resulting in knowledgeable, trusted advisors for clients.

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CBRE researchers and analysts are some of the most important people on the team. Their ability to gather and analyze industry information and provide expert reports to our sales professionals is unmatched. How do we make it even better?

With Retail Science, CBRE is expanding its research team and enhancing our approach by focusing on four key areas – placemaking; urban retail; food and beverage; and disruption, technology and innovation in retail. These focus areas allow our team to have a prominent voice on the state of the market and provide important information to clients on various industry-wide trends that are influencing different markets in the Americas.

Location Analytics

Like research, Location Analytics provides important data, which aids in a sales professional’s ability to pinpoint positive areas of interest for a client. However, location analytics takes that data, analyzes it and then gives clients a visual representation of a market as a whole or of any specific location.

The Location Analytics pillar of Retail Science aims to harness the power of data to best advise clients on multiple aspects of their current and future store sites. To do this, CBRE utilizes two Geographic Information System GIS) technologies – Dimension and Forum Analytics’ SIMMS Online platform.

Dimension allows our professionals and clients to view, in digital-map format, multiple data points that influence their decisions about specific sites. Forum uses various data streams and proprietary-modeling techniques to generate precise forecasts of the results that clients’ store sites will generate. Simply put, Dimension showcases information about what’s currently happening in specific retail markets, whereas Forum allows clients to generate forecasts for what will happen in those markets in the form of performance forecasts for specific stores.

Dimension and Forum allow CBRE to continually and significantly enhance our use of data and market insight to benefit clients’ retail real estate needs.


The Education pillar provides CBRE professionals the opportunity to enroll in a first-of-its-kind program designed to enhance their knowledge of the business of retail and how those inner workings influence retailers’ real estate-decisions. The course material focuses on multiple aspects of retailers’ business models, both inward-facing to the retailer and outward-facing to the customer.

Some of those topics include product assortment, customer engagement, supply-chain management and sourcing. It’s not enough to only understand your side of the business. To truly serve the needs of your client, you must know every side. Industries are constantly changing, and ongoing education ensures professionals are up-to-date on the latest developments, new technology and best practices.

Strategic Advisor/Sales Training

CBRE facilitates a sales training program called Finishing First, which helps our professionals serve as trusted advisors capable of assessing needs and effectively outlining long-term solutions for them, rather than solely as vendors selling a one-time service. Finishing First often involves components from the Research, Location Analytics and Education pillars of Retail Science.

At CBRE, we want our professionals to be strategic advisors for our clients. We want to be able to diagnose client needs, both declared and undiscovered, and address those needs that build on advantage for them. The Retail Science platform educates and equips our professionals to do just that.

Retail Science is not a fancy tagline; it is CBRE’s value proposition for our retail professionals and it is the plan we have in place for our team to be excellent in all things retail. With Retail Science, we are excited and ready to enhance and refine the skills of our current team members and mentor and produce the next generation of top retail real estate trusted advisors.

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