The changing face of retail as contactless shopping set to sweep the nation

14th October 2021

The changing face of retail as contactless shopping set to sweep the nation

The days of queuing at a till may be coming to an end as technology means contactless shopping is becoming a reality - today. Here, Jen Hicks-Jones, Senior Associate in our Commercial Property team, looks at what it means for commercial landlords and investors.

There’s a shopping revolution gathering pace and destined to take over the high street in the years to come – contactless shopping.

We’ve all become accustomed to self-scan checkouts in recent years and the convenience they offer when buying groceries in a hurry.

Contactless shopping takes things a step further by allowing customers to simply pick up a product and walk out the door.

Advanced shopping technology means the outlet knows exactly what has been taken from the shelf and takes the money straight from the shopper’s account, sending them a receipt via email.

Amazon has led the charge for contactless shopping with its Amazon Go offering. It started with a small convenience store in Seattle in 2018 measuring a cosy 1,800 sq ft.

There are now 29 Amazon Go stores across the US, up from six stores in December 2018.

And now Amazon has shifted its focus to bringing the ‘Go’ experience to the UK by trialling stores in London, kicking off with its first official outlet in Bluewater Shopping Centre in Kent earlier this month.

But it’s not just Amazon. German supermarket Aldi, also, has started trialling the technology at one of its stores in London, despite some concerns from customers that tech threatens to replace jobs.

Amazon’s business plan is to grow by acquisition, targeting high street businesses. Projections are impressive, with UK gross sales over the next five years set to outpace Tesco with compound growth for Amazon of 16.3 per cent compared to 3.5 per cent from the supermarket giant.

So, it seems we have started along an irreversible path of changing the way we shop forever. But what does this all mean for retail investors and commercial landlords in the post-pandemic world?

For retail investors as we move into a new era, there is going to be stiff competition in the years to come for desirable space to market and drive ‘e-tail’. Combining this with the large amount of commercial space available in the UK, there is going to be a demand for both short and long leases, as well as potential for future franchising opportunities.

At Higgs LLP, we provide a full service for both landlords and leaseholders. These include reviewing and advising occupiers on leases to ensure they reflect their business requirements, as well as preparing and negotiating new leases on behalf of investor landlords looking to diversify their portfolios and encourage new kinds of tenants.

Our expert team can also advise on the acquisition, construction and development of retail space and assist with general commercial and/or corporate requirements to help with changing business needs and growth targets.

Whatever your requirements as the landscape shifts and changes in the years to come, we are here to help.

Contact our commercial property team on or 01384 327183.


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