Author: Stephanie Hegedus
You can contact Stephanie at firstname.lastname@example.org
I can’t get that guy from Project Runway, Tim Gunn, out of my head sometimes. “Don’t ever buy anything without trying it on!”
I agree, Tim! But I am busy. I just don’t have the time to shop, and I’d rather not spend my free time dealing with crowds because the only time I have to shop is on the weekend. So I go online.
And so do many of my other educated Millennial friends. For convenience, I will forgo the price-shopping at times, but I like to browse for reasonably priced items.
There are times that I am not completely ecstatic about my online purchase, a shoe heel is a little higher than expected or the material is kind of flimsy. But honestly it saves me time and money, so I’m okay with it.
If I need something quickly for a party or I want a unique gift item, I will go to a physical store. However, I am drawn to a store (no matter online or brick-and-mortar) if I like the people and values of the business.
Sure that’s a great bracelet, but I am more impressed by what it represents or who made it.
I am not necessarily going to cave to the social conscience of buy local. It’s not enough that the business is locally owned, I want to feel good about the experience in their store and about the local owner. Or if that’s not the owner I just met, he/she sure felt like one. The store “ambassador” has the ability to show me the value of buying there by giving recommendations and knowledge on the product, and being helpful, personal and friendly go a long way.
I am also drawn to the sense of community around the shopping experience at on-ground stores, such as shopping with friends, talking with people on the sales floor, and making an event out of visiting a locale. I don’t want it to be just about running errands.
So don’t worry brick-and-mortar stores, you haven’t lost me. And online stores, this is your opportunity to provide me with a better customer experience online.
Not to be one of those self-absorbed Millenials, I asked for other perspectives.
One from commercial realtor, Ryan Schneider, owner and broker of PIER Commercial Real Estate Brokerage, LLC in Savannah, Georgia. What trends have you seen in shops leasing retail space?
With retail leasing it’s all about location and price. The landscape shifts to meet the demand. It depends on what the tenant is looking for in a location, such as nearby restaurants, a shopping district, proximity to residential areas. Some will pay more for the business of walk-in traffic. And others will look for space that meets their budget. We have seen little shopping and dining clusters pop up around where there is affordable residential living. And when you get some business owners to band together and create that sense of community of which you referred, it can make it a desirable destination that attracts people from the outside.
Speaking of destination shopping and dining, how did Downtown Decatur, a city located six miles east of Atlanta, Georgia that only has locally owned businesses, fair during this past holiday season? I asked Linda Harris of Decatur Downtown Development Authority.
Decatur’s base is the residents of Decatur who prefer to live, work, dine and shop predominantly in one area. There’s a strong sense of community that supports businesses here. But what we notice around the holidays, and throughout the year, are the increasing number of people from other areas of Atlanta coming to experience the community feel of Decatur. It’s one of the few destinations in Atlanta that you can park once or hop off MARTA and stroll along the sidewalks the entire time you’re here.
Decatur’s restaurants make it a foodie destination, and the shops are becoming an attractor on their own. It’s the entire community experience and convenience to Metro Atlanta that’s the attraction.
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At Glimsity, in our regular work day we talk to a lot of people, collect useful nuggets of information, gather insight and identify trends locally. Lil is an acronym for Local inside look (Lil). At Lil G Blog, we want to share the good stuff with you. It’s everything that doesn’t fit into our short videos.