Demetree Real Estate Blog

Top 10 Takeaways From ICSC RECon 2017: Part 1

[fa icon="calendar"] 08.03.2017 / by Michelle Heatherly


Find out what is shaping the future of retail and how you can stay on the forefront

As we gear up for ICSC Florida Conference & Deal Making 2017, I can’t help but think back to my top takeaways from RECon 2017 in Vegas in May, which provided a wealth of information on the retail industry. From the professional development to the CRE sessions to the networking to the showroom floor, parties and more - it was an awesome 5 days. Whether you’re an owner, developer, property manager, broker, construction professional/GC or retailer, ICSC RECon offered something for everyone.

In case you missed the conference, here are 10 top takeaways from RECon.

1. It is critical to stay ahead in this industry.

As we get knee deep in the digital age, it seems like technology upgrades happen more and more quickly, and the way customers buy continues to drastically change at a more rapid pace. It’s so important for your business to keep up. If you don’t, you have a high risk of being left behind. One of the most valuable characteristics of both individuals and businesses in today’s digital age is an ability to adapt to change. Being fluid, flexible and adjusting to the market’s demands have become the keys to success.

2. Ongoing professional development is a must.

Again, see #1. You must continue growing and sharpening your skills as professionals in this industry. The moment you switch to a fixed mindset is the moment your competition starts passing you by. As the saying goes, you’re either growing or dying. Take advantage of general professional development opportunities as well as industry events, seminars and workshops like those offered by ICSC.

3. Retail is here to stay, just in a new way.

As technology continues to evolve, our customers’ buying habits and patterns evolve and we must adapt. We’re now competing with AmazonFresh, UberEATS and other delivery services online. Many retailers say more and more customers are looking for this on demand type service, like high touch home delivery, the ability to place orders online for delivery or in-store pickup. Though physical stores will still exist, some retailers are downsizing space needs and requirements, keeping less inventory in store or in F&B’s case, offering a smaller, more high touch experience.

4. We’re in an industry metamorphosis and have to adapt.

The fact is, consumer buying habits have changed. We have a much more sophisticated, educated customer (thanks to the internet). They research and do their homework. Most of the time, customers already have a good idea of what they want to buy, its features, advantages and benefits before they even walk in your store. It is all about the user experience and catering to this evolving customer.

5. Reinvesting, redeveloping and repositioning isn’t optional.

There are two shopping center classifications - needs and wants. Those needs and wants have to respond to those of your customers in your community (which, as we discussed in #3, are changing). Retail centers must change with our customers’ changing demands. There is an art and science to mixed-use development and finding the perfect tenant mix. When redeveloping our centers, we have to be more considerate not just of our centers, but of the value we will be providing to the community. It’s about more than just a stagnant strip center. It’s about a dynamic environment and the customer experience - creating a sense of place and an emotionally engaging space with beautiful, walkable streetscape and thoughtful programming.

We are now having to put more into negative space, parking and outdoor seating. We must plan for community events (food truck festivals, yoga in the park). Wikipedia defines placemaking as a multi-faceted approach to the planning, design and management of public spaces. It capitalizes on a local community's assets, inspiration and potential, with the intention of creating public spaces that promote people's health, happiness and well being. This is already happening now and is the future of retail.

To be Continued... 

You can check out my other 5 top takeaways from RECon 2017 in Part 2 of this blog post, here. 

Are you going to ICSC Florida Conference & Deal Making this year? Make sure to stop by our booth, #1716, to see the three new development projects were working on - lots of retail opportunities available! 


About Demetree Real Estate Services

For decades, Demetree Real Estate Services has been specializing in providing property management, leasing, development, consulting and construction management services to property owners throughout Florida. As Central Florida’s oldest, locally owned, full-service commercial real estate management firm, we believe that business is built on relationships. That’s why honesty and integrity are at the heart of everything we do. For more information, visit


Topics: Florida Real Estate, Commercial Real Estate

Michelle Heatherly

Written by Michelle Heatherly

Michelle is the Director of Marketing for Demetree Real Estate Services. She is committed to providing the highest level of service possible and ensuring customers have an excellent experience. Michelle has over 13 years experience in marketing and communications for both publicly and privately held companies.