Contextualising data

ART Software Group’s director Gareth Jordan talks the story behind the numbers

Gathering data on shoppers that visit a retail destination is necessary for a host of reasons, not least measuring performance. The rules, however, have long since changed and malls can no longer rely simply on footfall numbers if they want to up their game and elevate their destination status – simply knowing that foot traffic is up or down is not enough to understand complex consumer habits in the modern era.

“Consumers and businesses are navigating a new chapter, and traditional year-on-year analysis is proving less relevant as that information represents a very different time in terms of trading conditions,” says Gareth Jordan, director of ART Software Group which supplies retail destinations including London Designer Outlet and McArthur Glen sites with its customer analytic Retail Advantage technology. Today, says Jordan, you have to start with a different mindset and use other ways to measure.

Retail destinations with smart reports are agile enough and can create the flexibility needed to understand and win customers within the current environment, he explains. By closely monitoring the stepping stones and jumping from one activity to the next with a clear view of how they are genuinely impacting consumers, they have the clarity and visibility that makes retail and leisure spaces function at their best.

“As we have all experienced, in many ways nothing compares with face-to-face interaction,” says Jordan. “However, the demand for digital has enabled better structured data systems and efficiency tools to become second nature, so it is easier to connect teams and structure conversations and planning around customer performance and engagement metrics.”

It can be hard to find time for discussions or if opportunities for strategy meetings with brand partners are limited, and so a tool like Retail Advantage gives tenants and destination managers ongoing touchpoints around shared consumer analysis.

Jordan says that anyone can see data going up and down, but that it is key to get a precise picture of the trends that define what is happening, and a good return on investment on what you know about your customers by enhancing or supplementing that with other relevant information and insights. By pairing granular detail with commentary notes, for example, site teams can contextualise the story of their data, motivating cooperation and productivity, and inspiring healthy competition through rankings.

Sue Shepherd, general manager at London Designer Outlet says that for her team, strategically they can look at trends, monitor like for like, and see how various categories are growing. “It also supports our leasing work. For example, we had a great brand onsite [recently] and we were able to talk to them about the athleisure category and how that was growing month on month and how it compared to mixed fashion or menswear or ladieswear in confinement.”

“Not everyone responds to numbers, but people respond to the narratives within analytics,” adds Jordan. “These reveal more about the factors that influence consumers and can be collaboratively used to interact and grow performance. Building customer-centricity through tailored-convenience and special experiences that truly engage.”

This was first published in Retail Destination Fortnightly. Click here to subscribe.

share on:

Leave a Response