Today, retailers in well-managed shopping centres have a great new opportunity. Thanks to property owners investing in traffic tracking technology and data analytics solutions to power improvements to their sites, retailers are enjoying the knock-on benefit of rich insights that could help them boost conversions and turnover.
ShopperTrak’s new report, Mall traffic data grows success in Europe, explains the opportunities in more detail. It addresses the changing market for malls in Europe, showing how mall operators are adapting their offer for the modern consumer, and are learning how to use traffic data to drive their own profitability and better support retail tenants.
Traffic data benefiting mall tenants
Naturally the trend for updating, extending, refurbing and reconfiguring European shopping centres will be a boon to retail tenants, who rely largely on the look and vibe of a shopping centre to attract the necessary visitor numbers to drive their revenues.
Aesthetic improvements and marketing campaigns to increase traffic and dwell time are increasingly being accompanied by investment by the property owner in people counting technology and traffic analytics solutions. This is because landlords want to see a ROI in their new concept centres and marketing spend, so are keen to measure and report traffic, which in turn allows them to structure leasing accordingly, justifying their leasing models to tenants.
Collaborate to win
This means a more scientific approach is being adopted, with landlords taking responsibility for traffic generation, benchmarking achievements and building on successes wherever possible. The trend is encouraging news for retail tenants, who should see traffic into their stores improve, and can expect to be far better informed about long-term traffic projections, peak trading occasions in the pipeline, and valuable insights into shopper behaviour patterns around the mall.
Even more welcome is the fact that smart leasing managers are beginning to use traffic data to assess their portfolio of retailers to see who is and isn’t performing, and step in with assistance where needed. “This prompts them to ask how they can help the retailer get more people into the shop,” says Steve Richardson, UK/UAE Regional & Global Strategic Accounts Director, ShopperTrak. “Maybe the product offering isn’t as attractive as it used to be. It may be necessary to move the retailer to a more appropriate space. Working together in this way is preferable to losing a tenant and having to deal with empty units.”
Bring on the experiences
As our report illustrates, retail tenants will increasingly see shopping centre space given over to community events, catwalk shows, cooking demonstrations and pop-ups, as experiential retailing is more widely adopted in both local and large destination centres. Smart landlords will be sure to measure the traffic these events generate, to estimate ROI, and to track the success of activities across a portfolio of properties. Again, if executed well, this is another way for property owners to deliver added value to their tenants, justifying the rents they are charging, and being clear during the negotiation process of what they can offer.
Brian Field, Senior Director, Retail Consulting Practice, ShopperTrak says: “Retailers may balk at these actions as the common belief is that mall traffic is down across the board. While traffic levels are not what they were 20 years ago, today’s shopper is quite different. By capitalising on the trend to evolve malls to have more focus on experience — not just transactions — the mall operator can demonstrate greater value than the operator who simply leases to who will pay a given rate and term.”
Optimise staff in line with power hours
Another easy win for retail tenants in shopping malls that provide data insights, is the ability to tailor their staff scheduling in line with busy and slow traffic times. Ensuring your best sales people are on the shop floor during weekend or lunchtime power hours, for example, can really supercharge conversion rates.
With access to data, shopping centre management and tenants can be fully prepared for known calendar peaks, and able to focus on boosting conversions on key dates. Tenants can be regularly briefed on when to expect weekly or daily power hours, or traffic surges driven by high profile mall events and marketing promotions. The more data that is made available, the better prepared all parties can be, which is why the concept of data sharing between landlords and retail tenants is being so carefully considered just now.
Traffic data for future growth
Retailers see the importance of using anonymous customer location-based data to inform decisions about how they configure stores, how they merchandise their ranges, present seasonal promotions, and plan their staff resourcing throughout the week. When their own traffic and shopper movement flow data is combined with mall traffic data, demographics, weather data, sales data and purchasing power information, retailers can begin to create a really compelling shopping experience for consumers, and fine-tune their operations in line with known data points. With Wi-Fi technology and video factored in, even greater opportunities begin to present themselves.
The industry-wide interest in data cannot be ignored. As our report acknowledges, the wealth of insight to be gained from traffic data is a cause for celebration. Our conclusion is that if mall management teams are empowered with traffic and behaviour insights they can react to events that are impacting the popularity and profitability of the venue. Crucially, they can fully assist retail tenants who are striving to attract and retain shoppers and drive conversions in an ever-more competitive marketplace.
Contact us today for a demonstration on how traffic data can improve leasing models, and boost profitability in your shopping centres.
Download the Mall traffic data grows success in Europe report to see how leveraging shopper traffic data can improve mall profitability.