The Rise of the Urban Store

For years retailers raced to suburbia, opening mega stores in shopping centers next to bedroom communities.  Super Walmart, Target, Costco.  For years they have gotten bigger and bigger, with a belief that the more they offered, the more they will sell.  They call it the “one trip” effect, or convenience model.  It made sense for a different customer base.

I hate big stores.  I avoid them like the plague.  A Super Walmart to me feels like an aircraft hanger.  I have shopped there a few times – the prices were good.  But I like shopping with my kids, and shopping at a Super Walmart or Target with kids is near impossible.  The most annoying thing in a Walmart is buying burgers and dogs in the summer and then having to walk about a half mile for charcoal in the lawn and garden department.

Or grocery shopping, but then having to walk another mile or two to get to the HBC aisle to get the soap you need.  I get it Walmart – some guy told you to put the soap next to the pharmacy because it made sense 20 years ago.  Maybe it did make sense 20 years ago.  But if the majority of your traffic is buying groceries, go ahead and take a look at putting a few items where people are.  I think you will be surprised.

I know some people love them, but I feel the trend of the big store is coming to an end.

Target recently opened a new Urban Concept in LA.  The store is smaller and focuses on the household basics.  The target is urban dwellers and commuters, with a focus on essentials and items they can carry on the bus with them.

Walmart also opened up a new Neighborhood Market in California this week.  California has been a testing ground since 2007 When Tesco entered the US Market with their Fresh and Easy Concept.  All of these retailers are testing their offerings, but one thing is constant – the stores are smaller.  While I think these stores are a little ahead of their time for the east coast, I also believe they are the future of retail.  Offer the customer what they want, at a location that is so insanely convenient, they will have no choice to shop there.  It’s pretty simple actually.

I welcome these smaller stores with open arms.  I look at it as a little less area for my kids to break something or get lost.  Except Costco.  I will keep my Costco just the way it is thank you.


2 thoughts on “The Rise of the Urban Store”

    1. Paige – I agree a small store is overdue on the Northside and North Shore. Thanks for the Smith Brothers Link. I agree with their insight. I worked with Shopper Marketing Managers from P&G, Nestle, Kellogg’s, etc and they were adopting to this, although a little too slow for my liking. It’s interesting – the zero moment of truth used to be in aisle 5 – now it can happen anywhere.

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