Retail Trends: Q&A with Bill Stinneford at ICSC 2016


Chain Store Age interviews Buxton executive Bill Stinneford.

During ICSC RECon this year, Bill Stinneford discusses retail real estate trends including urban and rural expansion, mobile data technology and more.

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>> KATHERINE: I’m Katherine Boccaccio, Chain Store Age, and I’m talking with Bill Stinneford, Senior Vice President of Buxton. Bill, based on what you’re seeing in the market, what are the latest trends in retail real estate?

>> BILL STINNEFORD: You know, there’s certainly a lot of trends in retail real estate right now. I think there’s a couple things about where people are looking for locations would be one. For the last few years you’ve really seen people looking in rural areas, people looking in very urban areas, right? Because especially if you’re a big retail concept and you’ve got many locations, you’re going to see that in suburban areas and maybe regular metro areas you’ve got a lot of locations. So, how do I continue to add stores in the US? And to do that you have to tackle places like urban, and very small towns. So you’ll see that. I think what you’re also seeing is omnichannel strategies, right? But how do I get more out of my existing retail footprint, maybe without opening up a bunch of additional locations? There’s still a lot of retail growth, but you also have people reimagining their footprint, right? Maybe I’m overstoring, maybe I have too many locations. So how do I move the chess pieces around optimally to continue to keep my brick and mortar sales while also growing overall sales by pushing some of that traffic to online and also using those two interrelated, right? Online and brick and mortar to help, they really need to be aligned as strategies, you’re seeing that. And I think the third thing is really the embrace of technology in retail real estate, right? You don’t have the traditional real estate executive from 20 years ago, right? You know, driving around with the Mapsco Map and looking at things. You can do everything now on your phone, right? You can look at your stores, you can score sites, you can look at potential customers, you can analyze markets, analyze decisions, anywhere you are at, anywhere you have internet connection. On a phone, on a tablet, on a laptop. The embrace of that mobile technology is enabling retail real estate people to do their jobs more effectively, and get out ahead of their competitors. So those are really the three big trends that we’re seeing.

>> KATHERINE: How is Buxton positioning themselves to respond to these trends?

>> BILL: Well, you know I think that we’re always out at the forefront, right? We pioneered this industry of site selection and predictive analytics to help retailers know where to grow, how to open up home run locations, how to avoid poor performers, how to improve the performance of their existing locations. So, we’re always continuing to pioneer, to provide that to our clients. And so mobile technology, the ability we talked about a second ago. The ability to take out your phone, and to see everything you need to see, that’s pioneering. No one else really has that right now. To be able to take something that’s very complex and powerful, but making it easy to use. Just pushing a button and getting the answers that you need. The embrace of new data sets, you know, there’s certainly mobile data out there. The embrace of credit card data, healthcare data. There’s huge outpatient growth for facilities in healthcare, which are more retail like. So all of those additional data sources that can help make you smarter, combined into mobile technology is putting our clients ahead of their competitors as they make those decisions. And you don’t have to be an egg head, not that there’s anything wrong with being an egg head, but you don’t have to be an egg head to do all of this. It’s meant for anyone be, if you can use an app on your phone to order pizza or do anything else, you can score a site, you can understand market potential, you can understand cannibalization, you can understand how to market to your customers. That’s what we’re helping our clients innovate and put in their hands to make them be better at their decisions.

>> KATHERINE: What can we expect to see for the remainder of 2016 in terms of the market and Buxton?

>> BILL: Well, I think from the market you’re going to see growth. Retail is still in a very good spot, there’s a lot of good competition, so you’re going to still see a lot of growth, but smart growth, right? You’re going to look at urban locations, you’re going to look at small town locations. International is huge. We’re helping our clients grow in over 80 different countries, all from one same platform, SCOUT. So think about not only mobile technology but you get to do that anywhere across the world. So you’re going to see international growth, right? People are looking for additional places to open up home runs. Their also looking for ways to market better. So I think one of the biggest things you’ll see, I mentioned mobile technology, we’re coming out with a program that allows an individual store operator all the way up to a corporate level CMO to be able to pull out their phone, locate an individual trade area, look at the potential customers in that trade area, so using analytics to identify not all households or all workers but who are the people, who are the right kind of people, be able to literally circle them with their finger, push a button, and then be able to execute whether you want to talk to them through Facebook, you want to talk to them through IP targeting, you want to talk to them through email, direct mail. To be able to execute the campaign from your phone, to have that be fulfilled, go out, and then we can measure those results and channel that all from your phone. So it’s not just opening up permanent locations and avoiding the expense of misses, it’s understanding how to market to your customers in the most efficient and effective ways and not just be up at the sea level to make those decisions, to empower the individual store operator, the individual franchisee to take control of their situation and increase their sales but do it profitably, do it efficiently and effectively all from their phone. That’s what we’re pioneering and that’s what we’re seeing those technologies and those solutions to help be smarter about how they grow their business.

>> KATHERINE: Retail real estate pros are above all trend watchers. But their also trend setters, making sure that the brick and mortar experience stays ahead of the curve. For Chain Store Age, I’m Katherine Boccaccio.

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