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When it comes to running a successful retail business, there’s more to the equation than just opening your doors and waiting for customers. Many smart retailers are taking a new approach when entering a market, and becoming a part of the community surrounding their sites. For Twin Cities retail real estate, this means more than just location strategy. It means connecting with the personality of the local community and finding ways to support their lifestyle choices.

twin cities retail real estate
My Burger in Minneapolis captures the essence of Lake Calhoun in its decor.

Recently, Anjee Solanki, the director of retail services for Colliers International, discussed how brick-and-mortar stores are attempting to connect with consumers and give them a reason to come in and shop with them. In this GlobeSt article, Solankie discusses the benefits of integrating a company’s brand within the local community. Whether it’s a local event, community outreach, or becoming involved in the local chamber of commerce, introducing a brand into the grain of established communities helps drive customer loyalty and build strong local relationships.

In the Twin Cities retail real estate scene, smart retailers are jumping on this trend. Terese Reiling-Holden, a vice president with the retail group at Colliers International | Minneapolis-St. Paul, has seen this first-hand. “For example, My Burger tailors their respective stores to the fabric of the immediate community. Each store complements their branding and interior decorating with facets of the area they are in. They also host events and conduct social media that differentiates them from their competition, connects My Burger to the community and builds on repeat business.”

Cross-shopping in Twin Cities retail real estate

Another trend that has been gaining traction in the Twin Cities retail real estate space is the concept of cross-shopping. By clustering complementary stores together, retailers can capitalize on the sense of convenience they’re providing shoppers, and they’ll see an increase in spending. For instance, locating a clothing store near a shoe or accessory retailer will entice shoppers to purchase an entire outfit, rather than just one article of clothing.

And, thanks to the ability to gather consumer data, it’s clear that these trends are successful. Solankie shared that the average consumer makes an estimated 52 shopping trips per year, with 32% of shoppers visiting three to four merchants per trip and 20% of shoppers visiting five or more merchants per trip. These trips include cross-shopping behaviors, for example: 68% of consumers shop for both food and retail during a single trip, while 26% shop for retail only and only 8% shop for food only.

Experiential Retail

Another way that local retailers are ingraining themselves in the community is through experiential marketing and events. As this recent NAIOP article explains, in this age of online shopping, people will still go to brick-and-mortar stores to have actual experiences, and retailers are capitalizing on that fact. In the Twin Cities retail scene, landlords are refining the mix of traditional consumer product stores with experiential stores such as beauty salons and fitness facilities. Locally, retailers are also courting patrons with special in-store events and experiences to help drive revenue. Since joining the Twin Cities retail market last year, grocery giant Hy-Vee has showcased a variety of in-store events, including having a local dietician available, hosting cooking classes for kids, and supplying busy patrons with make-ahead-meal classes.

Whether it’s a grocery store with an event calendar, or a national retailer sponsoring a local charity, smart retailers are seeing the benefits of becoming a part of the Twin Cities community, making brick-and-mortar stores still relevant in the digital age.