There still seems to be some confusion between real estate development and retail.
Retail is a complicated holistic operation. Once it was about the right product, in the right place, at the right time, with the right promotion and at the right price. Today’s savvy consumers want a more enriching return on their investment, they want an experience. Now we must add innovation, imagination, presentation, service, environment, emotion and seduction to the retail mix.
Real estate developers would have us believe that retail is all about footfall – build it and they will come and the bigger the better!
”…Ireland, in terms of population and shoppers, is just about the size of Manchester. It is not New York or London…”
In reality retail success is about conversion, conversion of footfall into sales and profits.
Some retailers must accept blame too. Ireland, in terms of population and shoppers, is just about the size of Manchester. It is not New York or London. Many retailers, greedy or inexperienced, chased their competitors up blind alleys. They believed projections rather than evidence. They opened multi branch networks , converted corner shops into chain stores. The country became ‘overshopped’.
Others understood the basic rules of retail engagement. They put the consumer at the centre of their propositions. They understood the difference between quick profits and long term rewards. They knew that customer loyalty must always be considered a challenge, never be an assumption.
Have sufficient lessons really been learned? Are we still building real estate sandcastles or sound retail propositions? As a customer I fear the worst.