David Fuller-Watts, CEO of Mallcomm, discusses the role of digital platforms in capturing the data needed to improve shopping centre management and performance.
Data is the backbone of shopping centre management. Captured correctly, it provides invaluable insights into tenants, customers, and a centre’s overall performance. Not only is this information vital for shaping property management strategies, but engaging an entire shopping centre community.
However, for many managers it’s the ‘how’ rather than the ‘why’ which is now their focus when it comes to data. The need to simplify and improve data capture is paramount, bringing digital platforms to the fore.
Swifter sales data
Keeping track of tenants’ sales figures is just one element of an effective data strategy. Accurate reporting is essential to drive performance and inform property management decisions. That’s why automated data collection is so important. Using a digital platform such as Mallcomm removes the need for manual processes or emails, saving time and avoiding the risk of slower, disjointed practices.
Data collection periods and forms can be quickly generated and reminders automated to ensure sales reports are sent on time, maximising submission rates. Data can be quickly and easily downloaded or built into reports and integrated with existing reporting systems to build a complete picture of performance.
Managers can also use Mallcomm to share details of a centre’s performance with tenants, including sales and footfall. Not only does this help to build trust and transparency, but provides individual store managers with a wider and more commercial picture of the centre which can inform their own sales strategies.
Shopping centre managers globally are recognising the benefits of using technology to collate and share sales data, including Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW) in the US, commercial real estate group Immofinanz in Slovakia, and Meadowhall in the UK.
Data capture isn’t just about the numbers. Collating qualitative information is essential to monitor and enhance tenant engagement. This can be achieved through the formation of bespoke surveys, polls and feedback forms on the Mallcomm platform.
The impact of marketing initiatives, events and campaigns can be analysed in this way along with feedback on how the centre is being run, enabling managers to continuously improve and adapt their strategies.
The Mallcomm technology also allows managers to monitor how tenants are engaging with key communication updates sent via the platform. Details of which tenants have read the messages, at what time and on what device can be analysed. This helps to identify any tenants which may need a more personal approach to ensure all are fully engaged.
Effective data monitoring goes hand in hand with improving the customer experience. Through our B2C solution, feedback forms, polls and surveys can be tailored for shoppers to reveal the drivers behind their visits and how their experience could be improved.
Different customer audience groups can be targeted using the same technology, providing them with details of tailored offers, events and other marketing initiatives. The impact of these activities can then be analysed through the tracking of footfall and spend.
Liverpool One, a shopping, residential, and leisure complex, is one example of a centre which is using Mallcomm to engage with both tenants and shoppers. The data gained provides powerful insights into the popularity of events and sales offers as well as the impact of communication from the management team.
Reducing environmental impact
With an increasing focus on environmental sustainability, a digital platform like Mallcomm can also measure energy use, providing insights into operational changes which could improve a shopping centre’s carbon footprint.
The technology enables managers to understand how a building is being used and the impact on energy use. Environmental performance can be tracked in real time and data gathered from tenants to establish ways in which carbon emissions can be reduced.
These insights can determine whether the opening hours of a building should be changed to reduce energy use, if there is a need for more energy-efficient or intuitive lighting in common areas, how natural ventilation may reduce the burden on heating and cooling systems, and how much water could be recycled.
Providing a tailored solution, we have recently worked with one global shopping centre management company to help it monitor tenants’ energy use out of hours. Through the Mallcomm platform, management teams can track lighting, air conditioning and electrical equipment that have been left on unnecessarily.
This data is collected and analysed by the platform, generating a report for centre managers. These insights are being used to support tenants in changing their habits and putting initiatives in place that make a measurable difference to energy use and carbon emissions.
The bigger picture
To coin a phrase, ‘data is king’ but without the tools to capture it quickly, easily and effectively, it will lose its crown. The adoption of a digital platform like Mallcomm not only brings tailored data into one place, but provides the technology to glean quantitative and qualitative insights, driving more informed decisions and high performing shopping centres.
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