Kevin May Director, GRS Group (310)

Kevin May
Director, GRS Group
(310) 614-9329

It isn’t new news that drones can impact commercial real estate.

There are several reasons for this that are very relevant for all sectors of the industry. Amazon is now using drones for delivery, through its Prime Air service, which will have a strong impact on industrial commercial real estate because of the frequency that facilities will be utilized will jump.

Also, commercial real estate owners and brokers are using drones increasingly to market their buildings. This is especially helpful when you need overhead images, of offices and other types of assets, where potential investors and renters need to see a building from above.

Well, instead of outdoor drone activity, Walmart is up to something else.

The largest retailer in the world is now apparently putting drones in its stores. What Walmart would like to do involves “dispatching an airborne drone to an item located within a retail shopping facility, securing that item of inventory to the airborne drone, and then directing the airborne drone to carry the item of inventory to a delivery area located within the retail shopping area.”

This could be a game changer across the retail real estate industry if it actually works.

Stores like Lowe’s or The Home Depot, which have so many products, and are in such large spaces could use thing kind of in-store technology that can have products delivered to customers more efficiently. The same goes as well for Costco and similar warehouse retailers.

On a different scale, food-retail operators are also experimenting with drones, which could involve having pizzas and other types of quick-service food delivered to a consumer’s door.

If all of these scenarios come to fruition, it is only good for retail real estate. Drone efficiency will only cut down on overhead costs for these and make products more available in a fast way, which helps adapt to an increasingly Internet-reliant shopper base.

For this actually happen on an every day basis, there are a lot of regulatory hurdles in several locales that need to be cleared.

We will see what happens with the flying drones and where they eventually end up in the big picture of commercial real estate.