Blurred Lines: E-commerce and Traditional Retailers

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By Matt Dickerson
Senior Vice President
Jones Lang LaSalle Indianapolis

In yet another example of the increasingly blurred lines between traditional bricks-and-mortar retailers and e-commerce retailers, Macy’s has begun to offer same-day delivery service to its customers in major U.S. cities.

Macy’s joins Bloomingdale’s, Target and several other traditional retailers that have announced similar programs in select cities. Walmart.com and Amazon, of course, are already delivering same day in some markets including, in Amazon’s case, Indianapolis.

But while Amazon’s growing popularity has had a significant impact on the Industrial real estate landscape – particularly here in Indy — the advent of same-day delivery by traditional retailers has not had much of an effect so far. While Amazon uses its extensive network of distribution and fulfillment centers to service its online customers, many of the bricks-and-mortar retailers are now using the ship-from-store model, where inventory is taken directly from local store shelves to fill same-day-delivery requests.

Today, online retail sales only account for about 6.4 percent of total retail sales nationwide, but that number is up from just 3.9 percent five years ago and the trend will only continue to gain steam over time.

As that happens, look for the related impact on industrial real estate to be significant as more and more retailers try to keep place with America’s evolving shopping habits.

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