With the rise of e-commerce elevating consumer expectations of the traditional shopping experience, how can brick-and-mortar retailers compete? We believe it is by focusing on what online shopping cannot do — create a sense of place. Enter the art of placemaking

The power of technology

“More retailers are implementing omni-channel retail strategies to expand their consumer base and remain relevant. In an increasingly digital age, it is more difficult for landlords and retailers to accurately track point of sale of a product. Effective asset management and placemaking is therefore more crucial as footfall and marketing success of a retail asset may potentially displace sales turnover as a peg for variable rent components as a Key Performance tracker.”

M&G Real Estate
The evolution of placemaking

In this day and age, almost every major retailer has both an online and physical presence. There are tons of independent brands with little or no physical presence, but it’s imperative to be active in both in order to meet shoppers’ expectations. Especially with the rise of the need for authentic products and experiences.

The term ‘bricks drive clicks’ stands true, as a brand’s physical store actually increases web traffic by up to 27{4f03c6e27db00c93db060a7b3cc4f9098d4e035f1f618b80cc5bc62cfac58f73}. This builds a diverse sales strategy, and this generation of retailers are taking advantage of both areas in order to sustain success. Those with a digital only strategy (native digital retailers) will need to think of ways to get their products out there in new ways to increase consumer engagement.

Retail has been trying to merge digital and physical shopping experiences for a while now. While a few such campaigns have been successful, few create enjoyable experiences for customers, and most represent a significant barrier to entry for the less technologically savvy consumer. 

Shoppers are looking for a more sensorial and personalised experience, where the joy of discovering great products and socialising is augmented by technologies that offer price comparisons, product reviews by other shoppers and unlimited variety. Therefore, it helps to think of digital and physical shopping not as siloed experiences out to destroy the other but as complimenting each other to afford a more connected and richer experience to the shopper.

“As a result of the large scale store closures, retailers are being forced to step up to the plate – or suffer the consequences. Today’s consumers favour specialty, meaning that the era of cookie-cutter retail is far gone. With that being said, small is the new BIG. Niche products are outshining traditional retailers, and big-named brands are eager to merge with these smaller and savvier companies.”

NAI Global

Placemaking quotes

“Location, location, location” still holds, of course, but for the retail side, the main considerations these days might be stated as “food, fun and fitness,” as retailers strive ever harder to create experiences that will bring shoppers into retail centres”

Marcus and MIllichap
Omnichannel pyramid
Here’s the difference between omni and multi channel retailing
Omnichannel retailing
Both a physical and digital presence is required for retailers

Today’s placemaking efforts require the thoughtful creation of memorable multi-purpose public spaces, seamlessly integrating technology to the point that it’s invisible. It merges the best of physical and digital worlds – allowing users to enjoy the conveniences that digital technologies provide, without getting their nose stuck in a smartphone or tablet screen the entire time. And true placemaking is closer than we might imagine – technologists, architects, and developers are actively designing experiences that reimagine familiar technologies in radically creative ways.

“Placemaking also creates tourism which attracts the presence of international brands. A place’s overall offer must be curated. “


While modern retail wisdom is built on the cornerstone that brick-and-mortar is dead, the reality is that we’re on the cusp of a real-life retail renaissance. The problem is the perspective. Retailers, architects, and developers won’t succeed in creating spaces that rely solely on product supply and demand anymore. But there’s a new commodity in high demand with low supply: experiences. This requires collaboration.

By creating places that are designed for actual human beings, not just consumers, to discover new and interesting things every time they go there, brands can leverage a unique and expansive marketing opportunity.

How we are helping: StreetDots is helping brands, whether they are independent brands with a single product, or large global brands looking to engage with consumers in a fresh and exciting new way. We are giving people a physical presence without the expense of a bricks and mortar lease or purchase. Retail needs to evolve and we are here to bring incredible products and the creators behind them direct to you!

For more information about opportunities for digital retailers looking for a physical presence – get in touch!

A few of our forward-thinking land operator partners

We work with hundreds of the UK's top real estate firms and transportation organisations to activate dormant land.

We do this free of charge. We do not charge our partners anything for this service. In fact, our land operators make money by collaborating with us. The most which can be made from a single dot is £50,000 per annum, if fully activated.

  • Abredeen Asset Management
  • Blackstone
  • British Land
  • Brookfield Asset Management
  • CBRE
  • Derwent London
  • Great Portland Estates
  • Grosvenor
  • Here East
  • New River
  • Savills
  • Schroders
  • Segro
  • Stanhope
  • TIAA Henderson Real Estate
  • Transport for London
  • Wembley
  • Westfield
  • Wework
  • u+i