- August 25, 2017
Recently, I had lunch with a commercial banker who gave me some insight on brick-and-mortar locations. He explained the banking industry and its experiences with online services.
Online banking brought opportunity, convenience and lower overhead costs. Yet banks continued to locate and build brick-and-mortar locations. Why?
Because computers don’t relate to people. They do not build rapport. Computers are not able to recognize better and more tailored solutions for customers, especially compared to industry professionals. Only in face-to-face conversations do you often discover the small, but important, details.
So what did the banks figure out? That they could save some overhead costs by creating online banking, but they realized that they missed out on a huge opportunity in the process. The opportunity to sell other products or better advise their clients with different product offerings. Their sales dropped, and they implemented a strategy to offer the market both opportunities — online and brick and mortar.
The commercial real estate industry is watching a similar story unfold. This time, however, it is the inverse or the e-commerce companies searching for expansion into the brick-and-mortar world. Bonobos, Warby Parker and even Amazon are seeking ways to interact and engage customers.
As developers, site selectors and commercial real estate agents, it’s important to understand what these companies are looking for, such as: trade area demographics; great location; visibility; brand expression; size and flexibility; and cost of operating versus sale opportunities.