10 Things We Saw in the Multi-Location Brand Space in 2023

10 Things We Saw in the Multi-Location Brand Space in 2023

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Of course, we’ll be publishing predictions for 2024 and beyond, but here’s a brief recap of some of the major shifts (and tiptoes in new directions) in the MULO (multi-location) brand space in 2023.

  1. The pandemic is over…the virus remains…and some shopping and dining trends have forever changed. We’ll detail some of those evolutions (or pivots, as we became fond of saying) throughout the rest of this list.
  2. Health and wellness are now top priorities for many and, with the aging of our population, are not likely to become less important. MULO urgent care centers, IV drip brands, and multiple places to get vaccines abound, joined by the telemedicine clinic.
  3. Small is the new big. As brands look at real estate costs and online shopping, they are evaluating how large a brick-and-mortar needs to be to be profitable.
  4. Big is the new entertainment space. Vacant mall properties are being turned into new types of businesses like brands that combine pickleball and dining, golf and baseball simulators, and the equivalent of the adult arcade.
  5. That adult arcade is now a staple of the dining/playing experience, known as eatertainment. Related to that is the integration of media into many other aspects of consumer behavior. Barbiemania and the Taylor Swift Eras tour are two recent examples of how fandom can translate to brand promotions and tie-ins.
  6. Hospitality is also now an integrated experience and restaurant and retail brands are getting into the hotel business and food and retail brands are locating within hotels and other non-traditional locations.
  7. OOH is now digital and ubiquitous. The small screen may be on our phone, but medium and big screens are in our car service cars, on digital billboards, and even in restrooms.
  8. Big data is leading to bigger ideas, thanks to AI. Although our “machines” are not yet as smart as we humans (yet), they are capable of processing real-time data, enabling MULO brands to locate and analyze individual site performance, monitor shoplifting and employee and customer safety, and plan better marketing campaigns.
  9. The omnichannel experience is in the hands of the consumer. When we search for “laundry detergent near me” or a less practical purchase or dining desire, we can make our decisions based on proximity, how we want to get the product (curbside,  inside or delivery), and when we need it. Price? Brand? Those will of course, always be factors But where it fits within the consumer’s brain can vary widely.
  10. The QR code is here to stay. Birthed in 1994, they didn’t become mainstream until we all got our smartphones. And then, the pandemic gave them a moment. Now, “scan this” seems to be part of our everyday vernacular.

StreetFight 2023

And, on that note, let us know if you have a story to cover in 2024!


Nancy A Shenker, senior editor with Street Fight, is a former big brand (Citibank, Mastercard, Reed Exhibitions) marketing strategist and leader. She has been featured in Inc.com, the New York Times and Forbes.