Mobile phone screens are the new “land grab” for retailers

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September 25, 2017

By: Michael DeMaria, Managing Director, JLL

Retailers have been quicker to adopt new technologies than most other users of ‘brick and mortar’ real estate.

This statement might seem a little confusing given that ‘traditional’ retailers have taken a bit of a beating recently due to the rapid rise and reach of e-commerce, but it’s true.  Here’s why.

There’s an app for that

While 95 percent of Americans own a mobile phone of some kind, more than three quarters of all them own a smartphone, according to data analyzed by the Pew Research Center. That’s a huge market to tap and retailers have moved quite aggressively to capture those of us with our eyes on our phones by developing apps. While still in its relative infancy, the retail app sector has huge potential.

 Coveted real estate

In fact, your iPhone or Android screen is the new “land grab” for retailers. One reason your phone’s home screen is valuable real estate is the ability of retailers to geo-fence or geo-tag customers. This means much more than just being able to target ads. Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) technology allows retail apps to know when you are close to a store and then deliver coupons, offers and even tap your store “wish-list” to let you know if an item you want to buy is in stock.


Retailers’ biggest challenge is securing customer loyalty so that we will regularly use and value these apps.  To do so, they are adopting different strategies – some based on convenience, some offering products not available in other venues and some allowing the cost-conscious consumer to compare pricing. Whatever the strategy, the longterm commitment to reaching into the customer’s phone to enhance the sale is clear.


Technology is also expanding within the traditional brick and mortar mall environment.  Companies like Westfield have been pioneers in adapting malls to reflect the overall retail landscape, combining traditional store formats with online retail experiences and new technologies.  It’s a move more retail landlords will make:  more than three quarters of shoppers already interact with brands or products before going into a brick and mortar store.  Now that there are more mobile users than desktop PC users, being able to connect with them through their phones or tablets is a must.

About me

I specialize in leasing even the most challenging of office spaces in San Francisco, regardless of the market conditions, by invigorating properties and promoting them through the strong relationships I’ve built in the brokerage community. Me and my team provide the highest quality of service and results to our clients. Since joining JLL’s Agency Leasing group 10 years ago, I’ve listed well over 30 buildings, totaling over 3 million square feet.

You can contact my by phone at (415) 395-7248 or via email at

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