Shopping Center Business

JUN 2018

Shopping Center Business is the leading monthly business magazine for the retail real estate industry.

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SHIPPING CONTAINERS 50 • SHOPPING CENTER BUSINESS • June 2018 R epurposed shipping containers have been used for decades as habitable spaces. Containers have been used for residential, hotels, trade show booths, emergency structures, and even swimming pools and the trend has made its way to retail. Whether it is a glob- al retailer such as Puma or Nike looking for a mobile point of access for their customers or a full-fledged "shopping center" of shipping containers they have many advantages. They offer an attitude that attracts a younger audience that can drive your brand through their social me- dia channels. The containers themselves are cheap, easily transportable, and quite durable. They are often presented as be- ing environmentally friendly and much cheaper than traditional construction. Shopping centers and retailers have certainly faced many challenges in re- cent years. To remain relevant shopping centers and retailers are looking to offer unique environments and experienc- es to remain competitive. Clearly con- sumers are looking for something else. This shipping container design trend offers an innovative and Instagram-able shopping and entertainment experience where the consumer can interact with an ever-changing shopping and restaurant environment. By creating a more engag- ing retail experience, a shopping center can drive more traffic, increase sales, and guarantee that customers leave with memories. A collection of containers can create a placemaking experience for an underperforming retail center providing the center an opportunity to build new experiences. A container "village" on a vacant lot or an underutilized parking lot (which are predicted to increase with the rise in car sharing and the advent of driv- erless cars) becomes a way to drive traf- fic to your center while providing a fresh idea targeting those customers looking for a more interesting experience. Cre- ating a special space for events is a great way to add buzz and promote the center. All this feed the bottom line where the developer sees increased foot traffic and rising revenue. This approach to retailing can also pro- vide a platform for new local retailers and entrepreneurs with a chance to break into the market or star chefs the opportunity to try new concepts without the large up- front capital costs. Consumers today are looking for authentic experiences, which often come from having locally-based shops. These tenants are more personal- ized and provide a stronger connection to the local community — and help to create that important sense of place. However, they often lack the funds to lease a tra- ditional retail space. These pop-up con- Ship Shape Shipping container retail is hot, but don't jump in without exploring the positives and negatives. Dustin Watson At Popbox, emphasis was on creating space that was economical to develop, and that maximized public gathering spaces in a small area.

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