DDi - August 2011 - (Page 48)
48 | Shopping with Paco
More lessons from offshore
n 1987, I bought the first new car I’d ever owned: a dark red Honda Accord Coupe. Befitting its origins, I named her Uki— after one of my mother’s Japanese best friends. The choice of brand was driven by convenience; the Manhattan Honda dealership was on the corner of Sixth Avenue and 18th Street, a mere 4 minutes from my office and a 10-minute walk from my home. Uki was driven twice a month, got to live in a garage and was dropped off regularly for servicing. I mourned when the dealer’s location morphed into an Old Navy. I drove Uki for 12 years, finally turning her in simply because making the commute to the dealership uptown became too much of a chore. All across the world, our shopping lives are motivated by convenience, regardless of our financial circumstances. Convenience is not just about location, but is also the ability to multitask. How many years ago did someone think to house a Jiffy Lube and a nail salon at the same location? We look at our kids, who have the ability to watch TV, text, snack and do their homework at the same time. Have the business models for shopping followed our evolution into institutionalized attention deficit disorder? Twenty-first century arithmetic is the act of computing time, transportation expenses and cost. Is it really cheaper to drive the extra distance to use that $2-off coupon? Many major big-box retailers are looking at what services could be incorporated into their superstore locations. Most are, at the same time, working on smaller-format versions of themselves. Some of it is the recognition that we have reached the apogee of the big box, and that a well-managed store with great supply-chain management may very well outperform a store twice as large, but containing less-focused inventory. In mainstream suburban America, the shopper’s need to effectively multitask has challenged our prevailing real estate models, including our current concept of the strip mall, lifestyle center and even the local and regional shopping mall.
Retail executives and retail real estate professionals are scrambling to understand how the shopping model is changing. We only have to look offshore for the obvious answers.
Almost every new shopping mall outside the United States has a grocery tenant. If at first we can’t see the compatibility of a Wegmans or Whole Foods to a Saks Fifth Avenue or Neiman Marcus, then a
visit to the Food Floor at Harrods in London or the Food Hall at Le Bon Marché in Paris can effectively show the success of this concept. It works down-market, too; in suburban Texas, adding a Fiesta Mart supermarket to your mall creates traffic problems that most landlords would envy. At Bondi Mall, the Westfield-owned center in Sydney, there is a floor of doctor’s offices, a daycare center and a gym. You can buy flowers and wedding services. In the upscale Siam Paragon Mall in Bangkok, there is a floor devoted to health and beauty services. Botox and yoga are neighbors. Part of the mall is designed to host tradeshows in the common area—imagine the hallways at the King of Prussia Mall, only twice as wide. Taking it a step further, at the recently redeveloped Sollentuna Mall in Stockholm, there is a large Lutheran Church. At the Gothenburg Shopping Center, operated by the same developer, the mall even includes the commuter bus station. My favorite example takes us to Thailand, where an automobile dealer has an outpost in the mall. Want to get your car serviced and pick up a loaner? It’s a no-brainer. Given the very few miles I put on a car, if the same service were here, I might still be happily driving Uki.
—Paco Underhill is the founder of Envirosell and author of the books “Why We Buy,” “Call of the Mall” and “What Women Want.” He shares his retail and consumer insights with DDI in a bi-issue column.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of DDi - August 2011
DDi - August 2011
From the Editor
From the Show Director
Channel Focus: Green
Big-impact visualShopping with Paco
Store Windows Showcase
Shopping with Paco
DDi - August 2011