Why I’m Going to Shoptalk.
As a retail real estate practitioner, what I am about to say should come as no surprise – our industry is at a tremendous inflection point. New technologies, e-commerce, and a changing consumer paradigm have fundamentally changed the way we should view our business and ultimately run it. Before I go any further, let me say, I am clearly on the record that I believe the narrative that has been espoused by many is a bit over-blown…and I am not backing off that. That said, there is also little doubt that these trends aren’t going away and need to be addressed by our industry in a practical and level-headed manner.
At the end of the day, I fully believe the value proposition that quality real estate offers will win-out, but that doesn’t mean that we can hide our collective head in the sand and not address these trends with an openness and willingness to evolve. In fact, when we do, we find more often than not that digital technologies provide more positives for us as CRE professionals than negatives. A challenge simply is just another word for an opportunity and those willing to see it in that light will ultimately benefit.
To date, I’m not sure we’ve had as open of a dialogue around these trends as we need to. Part of it is clearly that, as an industry, we’ve been put on the defensive by many negative articles and analyst positions – but if we are honest with ourselves – we need to shoulder some of the blame as well for being a bit slow to react. I don’t want this to come off as being negative either – I think this industry has made tremendous strides when it comes to taking up the call to address these challenges or opportunities – but I still see it as a bifurcated effort. Retailers and property owners seem to be still working in separate vacuums on these issues when a holistic effort is what I believe is required to make significant changes. I know that’s not easy – especially when the relationship between the two sides can become adversarial from a business standpoint on lease negotiations. More often than not these are congenial negotiations – this isn’t divorce proceedings by any stretch – but the two sides of the table are still looking for the upper-hand. What today’s retail landscape requires is that shopping center owners and retailers align their interests more closely to create more equity for themselves and a better experience for the consumer.
Retailers see the value in real estate – but a more nuanced approach in how the physical and digital worlds are combined is still needed. That’s where Shoptalk comes in – I believe this is the only conference that:
1.) Is having a fully transparent dialogue around these trends?
2.) Has all of the retailers and technology companies in attendance that are on the cutting edge of finding innovative solutions for them.
As the old adage goes, “if you don’t have a seat at the table, you’re probably on the menu” – and that’s why I truly believe for retail real estate professionals it’s the most important event you can attend if you are interested in finding solutions to help your business be positioned to compete in today’s multi-channeled landscape.
Lastly, as we all know CRE is still a relationship business, the networking component is a big reason I’ll be going as well – so if you are planning to attend let me know; I’d love to connect!
Why I’m Going to Shoptalk. Guest Post Jesse Tron.