Trends for Downtown Retail

Interested in what the next year has in store for retail? Carol Gies, presidents of 4Insights, a consulting firm that works with downtowns and other specialty retail areas, shares her thoughts. 

Who will be buying? 
The baby boomers are not the primary market they no longer have a steady income and they re worried about their retirement savings. The focus now is on single adults. 

70% of households have no children at home and the most common type of household is a person living alone. Because of this, retailers are shifting away from offering only family-oriented products. 

Shift your focus to single adults and female head-of-households. Revamp your merchandise for a younger age group, with items such as electronics or eco-friendly goods. Look to extending hours in the evening and upgrading your web presence. 

What will they buy?
For 80% of consumers, necessity, price and deals are at the top of their list. The other 20% are luxury shoppers who are slowing moving back into the market. 

Stock and promote items necessary for daily living–household goods, towels and linens or tabletop items. Promote your lower priced items to pull people into your store. Offer perks and special services, like next-visit discount cards or personal shoppers. 

How will they be shopping?
Time-pressed consumers are making fewer special trips for shopping and instead integrating it into their daily activities. They will pick up a gift on a lunch break or pop into a store before meeting friends for dinner. 

They also do a lot of shopping online. They’ll check menus or hours on a business website, comparison shop at their desk, friend a business they like, and much more. 

Take advantage of downtown workers, evening diners and other incidental customers. Use web and social media to keep your business top of mind, like tweeting about lunchtime deals or blogging about a great new customer perk.