The digital era continues to affect businesses’ needs with physical space in commercial properties. Commercial firm broker-owners are keeping their eye on three trends Transwestern recently highlighted in its first quarter Insights report:
1. Retail: Rise of Mobile Data
Retailers are getting more sophisticated in collecting mobile data about their customers. Many businesses use mobile apps coupled with monitoring devices in their stores to track and interact with customers. If a consumer has that business’s app on their phone, it allows the retailers to engage with them by offering coupons or product suggestions. This personalized shopping experience provides specialized data on consumer activity and interactions with the physical store location, according to Transwestern, and it’s influencing business owners’ location decisions and physical configuration needs at the storefront site.
2. Industrial: New demands for e-commerce distribution centers
Demands for faster shipments in online sales, and massive increases in e-commerce business is causing companies that have large fulfillment centers to rethink location. Previously, online retailers chose industrial warehouses in lower-cost areas outside of population centers. Today, there’s a new demand for large commercial space closer to metro areas in order to quickly and efficiently store and ship commodities to customers, according to Transwestern. These companies want better access to various modes of transportation, such as trucks, rail, airfreight and even seaports. Real estate pros should identify sites with access to these amenities, as well as spaces that offer specific productivity and operation efficiencies that can help clients increase net operating income.
3. Multifamily: Micro-unit apartments in urban markets
As renters flock to urban centers for the live-work-play lifestyle, entry-level lease rates are becoming unaffordable for many recent college graduates, service workers and young professionals, according to Transwestern. One way of providing more affordable living space is through micro-unit apartments. The Indie Apartments in Austin, Texas, for example, include 138 apartments – 350-square-foot studios and 520-square-foot, two-bedroom units – and commercial restaurant space on the ground floor.