It seems that anytime the media is reporting on retail, it’s to announce a closure. By their estimate, every brick-and-mortar establishment is circling the drain, and it’s only a matter of time before the doors closed for good. While it is true that 79% of Americans now shop online, physical stores are hardly becoming obsolete.

Retail is changing. To combat the online market, companies are creating destination locations; adding cafe’s and restaurants, entertainment hubs, and charging stations to their stores to make the shopping experience long-lasting and enjoyable. Walmart and Nordstrom have gone a step further and are building pickup only “retail locations” that won’t actually sell anything.

Located in large cities and surrounding suburbs, the new units will cater to consumers who want to purchase online but don’t want to wait for home delivery.  Walmart is building a 40,000 square foot location that will look very similar to a traditional Walmart, except it will have no customers. Consumers can pull up to a designated parking space, and employees will load their purchases into the car for them. Nordstrom is building pickup units smaller than their traditional stores. These locations will allow customers to pick up online orders and return items as well. Both Walmart and Nordstrom are positioning the pickup stores in densely populated areas, which will make picking up online orders while driving home from work easy and convenient.

Pickup locations are becoming increasingly popular with retailers, especially grocery stores. It affords customers the option of getting their purchases quickly, with the added bonus of retailers avoiding shipping/delivery fees. Since the stores are hubs for the large warehouses, the size of the store isn’t as important as the location. Setting up several small pickup destinations in a tightly populated area is both smart for retail, and convenient for shoppers. Property owners may find new opportunities to repurpose vacant lots as pickup destinations when the trend spreads nationwide.