Against increasing pressure from Amazon and other e-commerce sites, Baton Rouge-area retailers will focus on diversifying the ways in which customers can purchase products. In a word, that means going “phygital.”
The concept of growing a digital presence while maintaining a smaller brick-and-mortar footprint seems to work because it blends the convenience of ordering online with the desire to actually touch and feel a product before purchasing. It’s a trend, says Jonathan Walker, a broker with Maestri-Murrell, that’s made its way here.
Baton Rouge-based Woolly Threads, a sweater startup launched in 2015, recently moved its headquarters to Government Street and it features a small showroom where customers can see the items previously found only online.
For those retailers not making the change? They’re liable to get left behind and replaced with fitness centers, restaurants and medical facilities, says Walker. So who will replace those who don’t survive? Most likely an entertainment venue like Topgolf (pictured left), which opened this month at the former site of Tinseltown, and Main Event Entertainment, which will offer bowling and arcade games at the former Border’s Books and hhgregg space at the Mall of Louisiana.
“We’ll continue to see closures, especially soft good retailers, such as clothing and electronics—stuff that’s not as internet-proof,” Walker says.