Image Source: Pablo Ruiz Múzquiz DigitalFlash Internet Week, NY 2014 recently hosted an exclusive retail panel, providing a peek into some new retail trends that can be impacting factors for the commercial property and real estate future. It's no secret that e-commerce is on the fast track to becoming a multi-billion industry. Over the last few years, the media has been focusing on how consumers are trending towards shopping online. With the increase of wireless smartphone tracking technologies, mobile coupons and push notification capabilities, many believe the e-commerce market is the only way to survive and thrive. However, at the New York Internet Week conference a different tune was sung. Instead, recent moves by leading technology firms suggest brick and mortar establishments are in fact flourishing with these new technology movements. Online giants such as Shopify and Google are increasingly embracing the offline retail space. Google, for example is currently competing with Apple through the development of physical retail stores and their upcoming release of Google Glass. In fact, leading technology entrepreneurs and online startups are actually in support of offline infrastructure. One panelist from DigitalFlash Internet Week even ventured as far as saying technology wasn't even in their long-term business plan. While others dismissed the online realm as just another tool in the shed, to use in complementary with their core business plans. Most significantly, some e-commerce based businesses at the event are even looking to transition their business models to more of a brick and mortar strategy. With this trend, continual demand for retail space will only grow. In particular, smaller shopping plazas will become targets for retailers looking to start-out and test their strengths before braving the demands of well-established shopping malls. As for commercial real estate investors, this forecast brings rosy expectations of rising equity and cash flow, while prolonging the most opportune time to get into new retail property investments.
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