Beyond the Build

Construction Trends

Nothing is Forever, Especially in Retail.

If there is one constant in life, it’s change. When it comes to habits, things swing one way, then another, before finding the equilibrium for a while. Then the cycle starts over. We’re starting to see that trend in retail.

For years, we’ve heard “brick and mortar retail is doomed,” but it seems the pendulum may be swinging back to a balance. As online retail has grown, we’ve seen underperforming stores shuttered for any number of reasons, same as it has been for decades. The best retailers have mastered both ways of “delivering the goods” and the last mile.

For some consumers, easy shopping is important, using the screen to compare services or goods. Others are looking for an experience and social interaction. To me, the market can, and is, meeting the needs of both of these delivery systems. 

I find it even more astounding that almost all members of Gen Z, the first “digitally native” generation, shop at physical stores. This study released by IBM in 2017 points out that Gen Z seeks engagement and interaction of the brick and mortar platform. While this generation has never known life without screens, they seem to be seeking that human connection and interaction. This may be driven by more urban living or maybe just human nature. At any rate, the pendulum is swinging.

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Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and President of the Stewart Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.