Photography: Parker Stewart
With the great online success of local retailers like Prospector Co. and LoveLane, the question can be raised, “Does location still matter?”
Yes. Yes it does.
Everything seems to be moving into the mobile e-commerce arena, from interior design apps to money management via text message; however, consumers, especially in a tourist driven economy, still value a personal connection and tangible shopping experience. www.internetretailer.com states that mobile commerce accounts for 30% of all e-commerce in 2015, almost a 5% increse from 2014. Yes, mobile commerce and e-commerce can sustain your business and cover most if not all of your overhead, but our community is structured a little differently than most.
The Savannah area Chamber of Commerce says the tourism sector saw an increase of 9.2%, approximately $2.5 billion, in 2014 with a staggering 7.6 million overnight visitors. Unless seeking a specific destination, most tourists won’t venture too far from the area where they’re staying and come to Savannah to find our many hidden gems.
Last May, we discussed the State of the Commercial Market and saw that vacancy rates are lower than ever- with statistics even suggesting that in 2 years the vacancy rate will be a negative number in the Landmark Historic District.
24 e’s Ruel Joyner was just named Georgia Retail Association’s Retailer of the Year. We’ve seen new boutiques like Alton Lane open with a completely new and innovative business model and customer experience, and Service Brewing is quickly becoming a regional favorite with national recognition. Their tasting room is key to their presence and success. The market for completely personalized experiences will never go away, regardless of the global changes in retail trends.
It’s great to see so many shops and restaurants opening; it’s good for my business, theirs, tourism, everyone really. But prices are about to drastically change- it’s becoming harder and harder to find the right space for clients because the inventory is going so fast. I think in our city, where tourism is king, brick and mortars are still the way to go.
Founder and CEO