Commercial Real Estate Prepares for Era of the Click-n-Mortar

I attended the 2nd Annual SoCal Retail Summit hosted by Bisnow, where executives from California’s leading commercial real estate (CRE) brokerage, development, and investment firms provided their input on market trends. The forum was focused on the retail sector, which has seen an upward tick over the last year as the economy recovers and consumers’ buying habits continue to gain strength. Consumers drive the success of the retail industry, and as customers shift more of their purchases to the online space the CRE industry must adapt.

Below are some ways the CRE industry is using online marketing tools to capitalize on the preferences of today’s shopper and increase the value of their properties.

The benefit of social media in the CRE industry is two-fold: in one respect, social media is a strong indicator of an organizations’ ability to bring customers to their stores, an important statistic for CRE investors when vetting tenants, whose profits are important to keep renewal rates high and drive property value. Similarly, retail developments are enlisting social media as a means to communicate with their communities about promotional events or incidents that can affect the development’s public image. One panelist remarked, “You’d better have a plan for Yelp,” touching on the power of online opinion to affect the success of a development and its stores.

Online and event marketing were also initiatives that developers are focusing on in 2013. One exec explained that his company was committed to investing in shopping center tenant support—from kids clubs and auto shows to direct mail and online marketing campaigns. This show of support and investment translated into positive relationships with their tenants and achieved the goal of driving traffic to the development.

The Internet provides an efficient and focused marketing tool for shopping developments and their tenants. Partnering with tenants on this front will work to the benefit of all parties involved and the continued success of the business community.

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