Historically, within the shopping centre industry, the onus has been on driving and measuring improvements in footfall however, it is apparent that simply counting footfall may distort the complexity of the shopper’s journey to and through the shopping centre. In this article, we will draw upon the processes by which data is collected, the benefits the data can provide and how our clients and their centre management teams are using the software to enhance asset value.
There are a number of businesses at present producing and implementing software initiatives in schemes throughout the UK to diversify the data centre management teams use to promote turnover. With some of the leading shopping centre specialist footfall analysts reporting growth of up to 500%, the demand and utilisation of this multifaceted software is snowballing.
What does it do?
The software is extremely intricate and can be used in many different ways dependant on which business is providing the service and the needs of the centre. Some use complex camera systems to determine the number of visitors daily whereas others use equipment which measures mobile phone signals to track the journey of the shopper as well as recognise their loyalty to the scheme, which units they visited, which car park they chose, dwell-time and many other elements of their journey and experience.
Not only does the technology provide mounds of data crucial in driving the success of the asset but it encourages a stronger partnership between landlord and tenant. By providing significant and effective reports to tenants, landlords can add great value to their service charge as well as encouraging trust and collaboration. It does not just make for a happier tenant but the “two-way” relationship can be used by the landlord to obtain fundamental sales figures which will determine tenant performance and turnover as well as analysis for when the time comes to renew leases and complete rent reviews.
What are the benefits?
The benefits are obvious. The vast extent to which information is provided is imperative in the understanding of the shopper. Results can assist in determining the most effective tenant mix, influence marketing strategies to take a more targeted approach, be used in a rationale for improved signage to and through the centre, improve the customer’s experience and enhance further collaboration with tenants to name a few.
A further and substantial advantage to the landlord is the use of results in attracting NEW tenants. A tailored and tangible report specific and relevant to a prospective tenant’s brand can only be beneficial to the process. By demonstrating the level of footfall past the empty unit, the number of shoppers who visit similar brands and how they can channel that footfall to their unit can be used as simple yet effective selling points.
The businesses we see predominantly used in the UK shopping centre sector to measure such figures include Path Intelligence, Darius and Springboard – our clients are not only using data for the benefits above but primarily to drive marketing strategies and business plans. With the industry having an emphasis on marketing at present, the reports can inspire and rationalise effective strategies with the knowledge each targeted campaign will be a success.
The shopping centre industry has evolved at a rate of knots in most recent years and the use of up and coming digital technology is becoming a necessity rather than an accessory in gaining a competitive advantage and driving overall asset value.
Alex Rowbottom, Divisional Head of Destination Management, Foundation Recruitment