More e-commerce stores are opening up brick-and-mortar storefronts – how will this impact retail construction in Los Angeles & Southern California?

It wasn’t that long ago when traditional in-store businesses were hurting due to the rise of e-commerce and online retailers. Online shopping was convenient. You could do it from home in your pajamas and find great deals 24/7 no matter how far you were from a mall, shopping center, or main street. Shopping online also meant less hassle. Cyber Monday became an alternative to the pandemonium of Black Friday. Meanwhile, business was down at storefronts and malls throughout the country.

This period also wasn’t good for commercial construction companies in the Los Angeles and Southern California region. Local and national retailers were pinching pennies to save costs, maximize profit, and stay competitive. We were seeing less and less new retail construction. More clients were asking for minor interior alterations instead of the full retail remodel they used to get.

But The Times They Are A-Changin!

Smart retailers looking to get shoppers back into their physical store were starting to reimagine their retail space. They looked for ways to enhance the shopper’s experience and give them a reason to continue coming back. This led to bold forward-thinking retail renovations in Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara, and throughout the So Cal area.

Then something else happened. Online-only retailers began to recognize the value of opening pop-up locations, product showrooms, and full-fledged brick-and-mortar stores.

In fact, this summer, Seattle-based online retailer Amazon is opening a physical bookstore (its second) in Southern California near UC San Diego. The Los Angeles Times recently wrote of rumors the e-commerce mammoth plans to open up to 300 to 400 brick-and-mortar bookstores.

When the online eyewear store Warby Parker decided they wanted to expand into storefronts, Sunset Boulevard, Abbot Kinney, and Alchemy Works stores popped up to serve Los Angeles while Newport Beach and San Diego stores rounded out their Southern California presence – second only to New York City.

More online retailers are thinking about broadening their horizons; recognizing that the key to maximum reach and profitability may be having both a web store and physical locations.

What’s Behind This Trend & What Does It Mean For Retail Construction in Los Angeles & Southern California?

For years, online entities have built their business with the understanding that consumers love the convenience of shopping online from anywhere in the world regardless of the time of day or night. But something was missing. The actual shopping experience.

When you shop online, you lose that ability to pick up the product, hold it in your hands, feel it, try it on or test it out. Also missing from the equation is the salesperson. While many shoppers initially preferred this, many now realize that these sales floor representatives are helpful. They can discuss or explain the product face-to-face in real-time in a way that most e-commerce sites can’t.

For Southern California and Los Angeles area commercial contractors, it’s advised we all carefully watch as these online players transform into in-store players. As a commercial builder serving Los Angeles and most of Southern California, we here at H.W. Holmes, Inc. are paying close attention to the in-store design trends these online brands use at their retail locations. If these online brands are successful with this transition, others will undoubtedly be emulating what’s working for them when they come to us for retail remodels and renovations.