Over the last 22 months online shopping has expectedly increased substantially for most demographic segments.  However, now that most of the country has opened up and come back to life, you might be surprised at who is shopping in traditional brick-and-mortar locations, and why…

Older generations are no longer hesitant to shop online and according to consumer reports over 54% of baby boomers have already done most of the holiday shopping online.   However, that isn’t leaving the stores and shopping centers emptier; it’s reported that over 70% of Gen Z and 64% of Millennials– who are already savvy online shoppers– are actively trying to find in-person shopping experiences that offer more than just picking out and purchasing goods.

This shift towards multi-generational technically savvy shopping has pushed in-store retailers to reinvent their sales strategy to engage a more diverse marketplace than ever before. It’s about creating a more inclusive environment.  “The retailer of the future is moving in the direction of more personalized experiences – walking into a store could be unique for every person,” says Ian Conger, Senior Property Manager for 1045 Real Estate.

Some retailers are redesigning their dressing rooms to include technology that will allow customers to dim the lights if they prefer, and QR codes that will tell staff a customer wants to try on an item of clothing. Some retailers now have in-store partnerships with other national brands hoping to provide an elevated experience by combining genres not normally sold together.  Also, some urban retail locations are revising transportation access to ensure their store is a more integral part of the community’s landscape.  The utilization of online consumer data enables some brands to adjust a specific location to be more “locally-relevant,” based on shopping patterns and app usage in a geographic area.

As retailers learn how to better incorporate a customer’s online preferences into a physical trip to the store, there are internal discussions among many teams – marketing, branding, architecture, entertainment – to create a store that works for a purpose.  The goal of the modern brick and mortar location is to make transactions between online and in-person seamless, creating an experience that can’t be done digitally and connecting with more personalization while creating a sense of community among a retailer’s customer.