Container developments a winner for all
RetailWire contributing editor, Bernice Hurst, grew up in New York City but has lived in England for forty years. Her American trips now are a mixture of business and pleasure, often triggering trains of thought on the way things have (and haven’t) changed in retailing.
Container parks are a cheap, practical way to attract footfall and small retailers with their mixed-use target audience. The Downtown Container Park, which opened in December 2013 and has become a destination in Las Vegas, for example, could happily be replicated anywhere. The site repurposes shipping containers for use as shops and cafes, adding open spaces for adults and children to relax. The location offers everything except parking (close but not on-site).
Conceived to help regenerate poor, neglected areas while supplying places for new employees and residents to shop, container parks are an opportunity for retailers looking to be recognized and stand out from the competition. The Vegas park boasts a 4.5 star rating in 36 Google reviews, and is ranked 34 among 267 attractions in the city by TripAdvisor.
Momtastic.com spelled out potential uses for containers, that typicall have a shipping lifespan of just five years. "Durability, adaptability, light weight, low cost and ease of stacking" make them ideal for transformations all over the U.S. as well as Europe, Australia and Russia.
Containertech.com noted their sustainability and uniqueness as ways of putting sustainability principles into practice. Whether permanent or pop-up, they emphasize innovation and economy as significant advantages, adding having temporary status could encourage customers to buy quickly before a store disappears, contents and all, onto the back of a truck, train or ship to its next location.
With doubts raised recently about the future of large malls, indoor or out, perhaps containers’ time has come. Photographer Seph Lawless (not his real name) has published a book entitled "Black Friday," not on the subject of the annual shopping frenzy but, rather, portraying empty and dilapidated malls countrywide. The Guardian refers to multiple estimates projecting the closure of malls in the next decade or two, citing changes to communities and lifestyles.
Shoppers show preferences for shopping in places more like "downtowns." Perhaps shopping centers like that in Las Vegas, which are made from environmentally friendly, recycled and re-purposed shipping containers, are part of retail’s future.
- Downtown Container Park
- 15 Awesome ways to reuse shipping containers – Web Ecoist
- Shipping container Pop-up shops around the world – Container Technology Inc.
- A new use for shipping containers: stores – The Wall Street Journal (sub. required)
- 10 shops and restaurants made from shipping containers – Remodelista
- Why no one likes indoor malls any more – The Washington Post
- The death of the American shopping mall – The Guardian
What do you see as the pros and cons of retail container parks? Do you see more retailers using containers in the future as either pop-up shops or permanent stores?