In the developed countries of the 21st century, convenience – something that contributes to an easy and effortless way of life – has emerged as perhaps one of the most powerful drivers of our time. It is also one of the main factors provoking changes in the retail real estate market.
Convenience has the ability to make other options unthinkable. Once you have used a washing machine, cleaning clothes by hand seems irrational. After you have experienced streaming television, waiting to see a show at a scheduled time seems old-fashioned.
Apart from the fact that it makes other possibilities pointless, convenience is also an incredibly powerful motivator. For example, we might drive 25 miles to get to a restaurant we enjoy, passing 10 other restaurants along the way. But when we come home hungry at night and haven’t had time to prepare dinner, the closest restaurant will do the job.
So it’s all about saving time and effort. But how is this connected to real estate? The answer is simple: whether it's a grocery store or any other type of shop, such as fashion, furniture or electronics, you have to offer convenience.
On the one hand this means that you have to be where your customers are. Consequently, shops in residential areas, along highly frequented traffic routes or at train stations will continue to increase in popularity. In London's Woolwich district, for example, Tesco has built hundreds of homes above its supermarkets as part of its strategy to maximise the value of its property portfolio so consumers don’t even need to leave the building to do their grocery shopping.
On the other hand, you have to offer users the most convenient shopping experience including cashless and automated payments, home delivery or Click & Collect – even HM The Queen has now used a Sainsbury’s self-service machine. No wonder that it’s not long until Amazon is due to open its first European check-out free supermarket Amazon Go store in central London.
After all, time has never been more valuable than today and everything consumers are looking for is an efficient and enjoyable shopping experience.
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