Brick & Mortar Retail In a Digital World | Part I

Jan 6, 2020 | Brick & Mortar Retail, Carrie Bob & Co Blog, Entrepreneurs, Gen Z, Social Media

by Carrie Bobb

a world where people would rather go without sex for a year than give up their
smartphone for a year, how in the world is a landlord of brick & mortar
retail space supposed to compete with that[1]?

media shopping today is as mainstream as purchasing from a brick and mortar
store. So how do landlords merge into the fast lane with so many competing
platforms coming at consumers?


After having closed transactions through social media canvassing and influencer programming, I am more and more convinced how critical social media is to retail leasing.

I began this three part series with studying social media, how it works, why it is so important to retailers and trends for this upcoming year. In order for us to better jockey for position when a consumer decides where and how to spend their time and money, I wanted to know exactly where the opportunities were for the brick & mortar players.


are currently 3.725 billion active social media users[2].
The world population is estimated to be 7.8 billion, so just over half the
people on the planet are using some sort of social media. The retailers,
tenants and consumers landlords are looking to attract are most likely part of
this statistic.

average internet user has 8.5 different social media accounts[3].
91% of retail brands use 2 or more social media platforms. The various
platforms reach different audiences with different content, creating multiple
avenues of reach to different target audiences.

Source: Statista

to Google, people have 2X more interactions with brands on mobile than anywhere
else – this includes TV, in store, you name it[4].
If a developer or landlord is not pushing their social media platform, they are
static in a world that is anything but constant.


Speed goes beyond the sense of urgency of a typical deal cycle. The time from canvassing tenants to signing a lease seems to be getting longer. Speed wins the tenant. Both in digital and physical real estate.

her book Instabrain, Sarah Weise writes, “On average, Millennials juggle
3 screens at once, meaning they could be playing a video game, reading a Reddit
thread, and snapping photos to friends on Snapchat…In fact, attention spans
have plummeted from 12 seconds (Millennials) to 8 seconds (Generation Z).”

Many times we look at the Millennial through the lens of the consumer. But what about the decision making process and the attention span of the Millennial entrepreneur? We’ve heard “time kills deals” and that window is getting narrower.

Being “digital-first” isn’t necessarily the solution for retailers. Brick and mortar stores are still relevant, especially as consumer spending continues to increase. Retailers are looking for storefronts, but are certainly cautious.

Hudson Yards | Source: Forbes, Image credit: Getty

Whether a landlord is an urban, class-A retail project or an average daily needs shopping center, meeting consumers and potential retailers on social media is a must. It is most likely the first place they will look to discover more about a product, property or company.

There has been a fundamental shift in retail over the past decade and it just isn’t the way it was 10 years ago. The depth of tenants expanding into brick and mortar storefronts is down. Demand to lease retail space, especially in in-fill markets, is down.


are using social media as a research channel, replacing search engines. There
is a shift in the purpose of social media from personal sharing to more mindful
and purposeful initiatives.

In 2018, for the first time in US history, social media surpassed print newspapers as the primary news source for Americans.[5]

good news is social browsers are brand-engaged. Over 54% of social browsers are
using social media to research a product. The bad news is for those landlords who
do not have a strong presence on social media.

platforms give retailers and developments an opportunity to meet customers
where they are. It’s a peek into the physical stores which should carry local
product not as easily discovered online.


The best way to capture the target audiences today is through the same medium they are using to engage with their audiences. Staying in front of potential tenants is critical to both engaging and closing the deal. And if the past decade is any indication of this next decade, the pace is only quickening.

If you have any questions about how to reach your audience or how to implement retail leasing through social media platforms, please reach out, we would be happy to share more!

Carrie Bobb is the Founder & CEO of Carrie Bobb & Co. She has completed transactions with brands such as Sephora, SoulCycle, Drybar, Fox Restaurant Concepts and many others. She has implemented leasing through social media on several projects, including an influencer programming model. She was named one of San Diego’s Power Women in Real Estate and received her MBA from the University of San Diego. Carrie lives in San Diego with her husband, Matt, their three inquisitively adventurous kids and one joyful golden doodle.