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Vacant Anchors Reinvented Via New Shopping and Fulfillment Ecosystem

By Dennis Kaiser

Shopping Fulfillment Centers (SFC) are a new model set to emerge in the retail sector this year. SFC’s are expected to deliver a blend of next generation omnichannel technology, retail and logistics services to retailers. This “all-encompassing suite” includes online fulfillment, drive-through pickup, regional distribution to other stores, store design and even operations.

One of the first examples of this new retail industry wrinkle is being introduced by New York-based Case Equity Partners at a cluster of five suburban retail properties in major cities. This hybrid retail and fulfillment concept is expected to increase sales while cutting retailing costs and time to market. The SFC is also expected to drastically reduce the burden of returns.

Coming in fall 2019, the initial iteration will feature a turn-key multi-season shop specifically curated for the retailer, backed by an on-site last mile fulfillment center. The plug-and-play logistics component will fulfill/distribute to store, home and satellite store, and its tenancy will consist of both digital native and traditional transitioning retailers.

The process of fulfilling online orders involves storing, picking and shipping individual products. While maintaining a store network and stocking shelves involves receiving pallets at regional distribution center, and sending cases to stores.

A downside to a traditional retail model is the fact that there’s little or no crossover between selling channels. And, rolling out a store network requires significant investment and a steep commitment from both an eCommerce and store perspective. Typically, digital native brands have added physical locations as a marketing strategy, and those stores offered little or no product on-hand, thus sales were lower.

The SFC’s unparalleled infrastructure, which brings together both sales channels, allows digital native brands to accelerate quickly from having no stores to being able to cover an entire market. And, aside from inventory and store design, there’s not much up-front investment required. That also plays well to one of the drivers behind a digital native brand’s cost reduction strategy for opening up a physical store. The benefits of SFC’s include: they can be an effective sales channel, while working to cut customer acquisition costs, and retailers are expected to see reduced logistics and returns costs.

Shoppers benefit from this SFC and offline retail strategy, too. Their quest for instant gratification can be met, since they aren’t waiting for a product to ship because retailers in a SFC network are able to have a larger assortment of products in stock at all times. That allows customers to touch and feel a product, which is also expected to help reduce order and return cycles, since shoppers can buy the right product the first time. Another benefit of a SFC is it will enhance the buying online and picking up in store model. The process can be managed in an adjacent, well-organized fulfillment center, which will allow products to be picked with greater speed and efficiency.

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For comments, questions or concerns, please contact Dennis Kaiser


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About Dennis Kaiser

Dennis Kaiser is Vice President of Content and Public Relations for Connect Commercial Real Estate. Dennis is a communications leader with more than 30 years of experience including as a journalist and in corporate and agency marketing communications roles. He is responsible for Connect’s client content operations and is involved in a range of initiatives ranging from content strategy, message development, copywriting, media relations, social media and content marketing services. In his most recent corporate communications roles, he led a regional public relations effort across Southern California for CBRE, played a key marketing role on JLL’s national retail team, and was responsible for directing the global public relations effort at ValleyCrest, the nation’s largest commercial landscape services company. In addition to his vast commercial real estate experience, Dennis has worked on communications and launch strategies for a number of residential projects such as Disney’s Celebration in Florida, Ritter Ranch in Palmdale California (7,200 homes, 22,000 acres), WaterColor in Florida and PremierGarage in Phoenix. Dennis’s agency background included firms such as Idea Hall and Macy + Associates. He has earned an outstanding reputation with organization leaders as a trusted advisor, strategic program implementer, consensus builder and exceptional collaborator. Dennis has developed and managed national communications programs for Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, both public and private. He’s successfully worked with journalists across the globe representing clients involved in major-breaking news stories, product launches, media tours, and company news announcements. Dennis has been involved in a host of charitable and community organizations including the American Cancer Society, Easter Seals, BoyScouts, Chrysalis Foundation, Freedom For Life, HOLA, L.A.’s BEST, Reach Out and Read, Super Bowl Host Committee, and Thunderbirds Charities.

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