As this challenging year comes to an end, it was uplifting for our retail community to virtually engage with one another at the annual ICSC CenterBuild Conference. As one of the premier events for the world of retail development, design, and construction, #TeamHenderson was logged-in and connected with industry professionals from around the globe. This year showcased how quickly retailers adapted to meet their customers’ needs. As stay-at-home orders went into place across the country, the retail and grocery sector had to quickly respond with new processes and distribution/delivery methods that often were not in place at the start of the pandemic.

One common theme we took from the conference is “change.” What initially felt like a temporary hold on typical in-person shopping experiences, as the retail landscape adapted to accommodate online, curbside pick-up, and advanced delivery methods, there has been a long-term impact on customers. It’s not just how the products are getting to customers that’s been impacted, though. Retailers are also learning to handle the vast numbers of returns that the move to shopping online is creating.

This year’s conference was much more focused on how retail is going to embrace the purchasing options that this year transformed. Many of the concepts will require fine tuning and all involved must work together to meet this new expectation.

A few additional key takeaways included:

  • Behaviors changes from buyers are here to stay.
  • Anchors will continue to morph, depending on the surrounding demographics.
  • Brand loyalty is a top driver – standing for something and being authentic will resonate with the next generation of consumers.
  • Strategic inventory control with an emphasis automation.
  • How can incorporating smaller open venues help drive traffic and revenue?

The pandemic has also changed the way retailers utilize technology within the retail sector. From touch-free checkout and mobile point of sale systems to digital signage that amplifies branding efforts, the strategic use of retail technology can have a lasting impact in keeping customers safe while growing revenue.

At Henderson Engineers and Henderson Building Solutions, we don’t just create retail environments, we create environments where the customer experience can thrive. To learn more about our retail expertise, click here.

About the Authors

Jason Wollum

Retail Practice Director | Principal
Jason Wollum is the embodiment of Henderson’s purpose statement: he definitely creates an environment where people can reach their full potential. When he first started at Henderson in 1997, Jason was entrenched in the day-to-day designs of a variety of retail and mixed-use projects, as well as forensic engineering investigations. Through the years, Jason grew into one of our top leaders. He’s now a senior vice president responsible for the design, management, and coordination of several programs for some of our most important clients.

Steven Neville

Workplace Practice Director | Principal
A positive attitude, even-keeled temperament, and ability to impact others will take you a long way in life. For Steven Neville, these are traits that allow him to thrive as our mixed use practice director while working with some of our premier clients. He is also a talented darts player, which always aligns with his role in keeping his team on target. Steven runs point for our mixed use practice that includes workplace, hospitality, and housing, working with our experts in those respective verticals on strategy and execution.

Pablo Mejia

Retail Practice Leader | Principal
When Pablo was in high school, he loved taking apart, cleaning, and reassembling the carburetor of his ’69 Pontiac GTO. That interest in knowing the ins and outs of how things work drove him to a career in engineering. Now a senior vice president, Pablo joined Henderson Engineers in 1992 and has played a crucial role with our firm’s largest retail client in the development of guidelines and procedures for international vendors. In doing so, he spent multiple weeks at a time in Mexico, China, and Brazil troubleshooting equipment and local integration.   Throughout his tenure, Pablo has served as a team leader, practice director, and member of senior management assisting with strategic planning. He’s now focused on business development with retail programs, both nationally and internationally. Fluent in English and Spanish and deeply passionate about his clients, Pablo is always looking for new ways to rev it up, just like he used to in his ageless muscle car.