• Although, I disagreed with some of the points you made about retail before. I have to admit this time you are spot on.

    Main Streets here in Los Angeles rely on things like colleges close by or easy freeway access otherwise they are either dead or dying a slow death.

    The retailer is very much like the commercial professional. If they do not learn to leverage the new technology they will cease growing and will die.

    If the main street retailer does not do online and get more proactive locally then, if there is the right amount of traffic, I believe larger stores will come and take the local merchant space. If you have seen the Grove or Americana in Los Angeles you might get a feeling for what I am talking about.

    Well known stores in smaller quaint shops that attract shoppers using lots of marketing and merchandising techniques.

    I sometimes go around the streets and see all the mom and pop shops and used to wonder how they stayed afloat. The fact is that they had a small loyal clientele that has since reduced the amount they spend and younger people are not flocking to these shops so they are starting to die quickly.

    Thanks Duke for your insight. Keep it coming.

  • Dead on. Like you I spend most of my retail dollars online. At the same time I want to see vibrant City Centers, the question is how to do that.

    For example, I buy running shoes online, almost exclusively due to price. Why can’t the local shoe store set up a website that monitors my “likes” in shoes, and notify me of deals? Perhaps set themselves up as affiliates for online purchases and realize a percentage of my purchase. Or better yet, monitor the deals and try to match, and then let me know my shoes are priced right and available.

    Now I know the routine. Go to the store, they won’t have my brand, or they will be too expensive or out of stock. Then go back home, go online, find what I want in minutes.

    FatWallet, a company that moved to my hometown (Beloit, WI), has an affiliate network set up. I can buy from Amazon, via FatWallet, and get money back from FatWallet for my purchases. Then FatWallet gives me a daily update of the deals they have found on the web. I get sale prices, and money back on my online purchases.

    Bars and restaurants can start developing email lists, get online with Facebook (and more), and send out updates. Who is playing, what deals are out there, why should I come out on Saturday night. Some do this, most don’t. So easy to do and so cheap– why aren’t more doing it??

    Retailers need to figure out how to service their customers, both online and physically, or they will die a slow, expensive and painful death….