By staff writer

February 2019

According to a Statista report, in 2017 a total value of $2.3 trillion in sales were made on the global online marketplace. By 2021, those sales are projected to reach $4.5 trillion. Mobile commerce hit $700 billion in revenue in 2017, which was equivalent to more than 300 percent growth over the previous four years. There’s no question that e-commerce is rapidly growing its share of total U.S. retail sales; in fact, online sales currently represent nearly 10 percent of retail sales in the U.S., and that number is expected to increase by almost 15 percent each year.

However, even as this massive game-changer disrupts the retail industry, brick and mortar stores are innovating and adapting to make sure they stay in the game. Some companies are even finding that e-commerce is simply amplifying an already successful retail model. For the Las Olas Company, a leading commercial real estate and hospitality company in Fort Lauderdale that owns and manages the Riverside Hotel and leases office space and more than 50 locations of retail space on the bustling Las Olas Boulevard, e-commerce hasn’t had a negative impact.

“E-commerce is not really impacting the retail we’re trying to attract because some of the retail companies that we’re talking to are market leaders in that area,” Michael Weymouth, president of the Las Olas Company, told Invest: Greater Fort Lauderdale when he sat down with our team in October. “People come to the stores to sample the goods — whether it’s clothing, high fashion or something else — and then they order it and have it shipped to their house the next day. I don’t know very many people who go into a store, buy a shirt and literally wear it out. To have it delivered the next day to your house is almost more convenient; that way, you don’t have to carry the bag around.”

In a world where instant access, round-the-clock accessibility and lightning-quick turnaround are not only desired but also expected, retailers are turning to e-commerce to deliver. Millennials make 54 percent of their purchases online, and for non-millennials that number is only slightly lower, at 49 percent. More than three-quarters of these online shoppers report they would like their products shipped the same day.

In addition to augmenting service, e-commerce allows retailers to set up their brick and mortar shops in smaller spaces and encourages them to provide a more personalized in-store experience. Physical retail is far from dead, and even as its share of the market drops, it is still expected to be well over 80 percent five years from now. In fact, online giant Amazon is today one of the biggest players in the brick and mortar game.

E-commerce is disruptive, but with the right flexibility and foresight retailers can capitalize on the benefits of both the clicks and bricks spaces. The Las Olas Company sees this as opportunity.

“Overall, we are well-positioned with our new product coming online to attract national brands, along with our existing product, which is mostly boutique,” Weymouth told Invest:. “E-commerce is a way for a lot of these companies to be able to service downtown residents without having to take a huge retail footprint. What’s going on in the retail industry is disruptive, there’s no question about that, but there’s a solution to it. And we happen to be in a good spot to offer that solution.”

To learn more about our interviewee, visit http://thelasolascompany.com/.