Technology providers are transforming the ability of mall operators to leverage data analytics to evaluate traffic patterns, optimize store layouts, better understand their customers, optimize marketing campaigns, support their tenant retailers, and drive competitiveness and increased performance for both. Below are several examples of technologies used by shopping malls and their tenants to better compete in today’s retail landscape. Case studies highlighting mall operators, who are using data-driven solutions to improve their own performance, as well as attract, engage, and retain their tenant retailers, are also summarized below.
TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS USED BY MALL OPERATORS OR RETAILERS
1. ShopperTrak Analytics
- ShopperTrak offers data analytics solutions to shopping centers and retailers in 64 countries. ShopperTrak’s technology-based solutions help shopping center owners optimize marketing and operational decisions, and retailers better understand shopper and traffic patterns, to optimize conversion rates. ShopperTrak is an innovator in people-counting technology for retailers and shopping venues.
- ShopperTrak Retail Analytics measures visitation patterns through entry and exit sensors (with 98% accuracy). They leverage Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and beacons, to provide customer journey (a customer’s path throughout the mall) analytics.
- ShopperTrak Analytics measures mall traffic patterns, provides traffic benchmarking to prior time periods, offers traffic pattern forecasting, and helps shopping center owners measure in-mall marketing campaign effectiveness.
- Benefits of the ShopperTrak Analytics technology solution to the shopping center operator include optimizing the retailer mix within the mall and supporting new and profitable tenant leasing rates. Analytics from the ShopperTrak Analytics platform are often shared with tenants to help improve their own operations.
- Some specific deliverables include heat-mapping, which shows usage of areas within the mall, ‘first-intent’ stores, and ‘power hours’ per entrance.
- Placer.ai offers insights around shopping center foot traffic to attract higher-value customers, engage more closely with desired tenants and retailers within the shopping center, and identify potential acquisitions. Placer.ai just closed a $12 million funding round to expand their capability in the US.
- Placer.ai uses geolocation and proximity data from mobile devices to provide real-time data, analyze foot traffic, and create consumer profiles, to support marketing and advertising spend decisions. Their data science team ensures the highest-quality data through filtering sources, using state-of-the-art algorithms and artificial intelligence to provide dependable data, and comparing results to external sources. They guarantee privacy by displaying aggregated data, which is not personally identifiable, and do not sell their raw data.
- The technology measures customer visitation (foot traffic, customer dwell time), targeting information (where customers live and work), and customer profiles (demographics and stores of interest), and offers competitive benchmarking against other shopping venues.
- Placer.ai offers benefits to mall owners such as tracking and building their target audience, understanding key tenant and mall behavioral metrics (such as foot traffic, dwell time, cross shopping, and customer profiling), optimizing the tenant mix, attracting high-value tenants with data-driven proposals, and measuring how events within the shopping center impact the business.
- Analytics are delivered via a user-friendly intelligence dashboard.
- GroundTruth offers a location-based marketing and consumer insights platform to retailers and shopping centers, to help these venues better target their customers and optimize marketing efforts. Started in 2009, GroundTruth leverages a first-party database of 120 million unique monthly users across 21 countries, to deliver consumer insights to their clients.
- The location-based technology leverages geofencing (a GPS-based location technology) to provide real-time insights around customer’s location (in or outside a venue), and provide targeted information about these customers. When a consumer uses a location-enabled app, GroundTruth’s technology verifies and analyzes the signal, and matches the signal to a location, using a proprietary location mapping process. This technology helps retailers and mall owners reach consumers in real-time, driving traffic into a store or shopping center, or targeting consumers with relevant advertising via their mobile devices.
- In addition to providing real-time customer location data, GroundTruth offers mall operators visitation data, audience data, and trade area data to target key audiences, both in-store and online.
- Key benefits of the GroundTruth technology for mall operators and retailers include the ability to target key audiences in real-time, thereby optimizing marketing spend, driving traffic from outside the shopping venue to the mall and its retail shops, and building their respective brands.
- As a leading location-technology provider, GroundTruth has worked with a number of retailers to optimize their marketing strategy and drive in-store traffic. Plato’s Closet, a teen resale clothing store, leveraged GroundTruth’s Neighborhood Targeting’s geofencing technology to drive awareness among potential customers, who would be more likely to visit their location and shop at this particular type of store (including potential customers who visited competitors). They found that audience targeting generated 82% of visits to their store during the back-to-school time period.
- OneMarket is a retail technology solutions provider, whose vision is to help brick-and-mortar retailers better compete in today’s retail landscape, given the growth and prominence of online retailers. OneMarket is a proptech spinoff of shopping mall-operator, Westfield, designed largely to help retailers and retail property owners acquire and share customer data, and better communicate with their customers. The solution is available in the US and UK.
- OneMarket’s technology uses a combination of data derived from customer receipt uploads, and technology-enabled transactional data inputs from multiple retailers. Sophisticated data-analytic techniques, such as AI-driven retail-specific segmentation and analytics, and multi-touch sales attribution, are used to provide powerful analytic solutions for retailers and mall operators.
- The company philosophy is driven by the concept that data shared among multiple parties is far more powerful than data from any one retailer, in terms of driving insights, and ultimately, business results, for mall owners and individual retailers.
- OneMarket collects consumer transactional data, including what they buy, where they buy, and how much they spend. Sophisticated analytic techniques are applied on top of the data to provide higher-end solutions and insights, such as retail segmentation, detailed target customer profiles, online shopping behaviors, and the ability to target, communicate, and engage with customers efficiently, via its cloud-based platform.
- The OneMarket solution is specifically designed to benefit shopping center operators and the retailers within, with an eye toward facilitating the success of brick-and-mortar retail operations. Specific benefits offered include the ability to better understand and target their consumers, attract new customers, maintain and increase loyalty among existing customers, and drive return on investment (ROI) for all parties.
- OneMarket has relationships with a number of key retailers, including mall anchor store, Nordstrom, and other prominent retailers, such as Guess and Lancome.
- CountBox offers a cloud-based retail analytics platform that measures foot traffic and provides customer targeting insights, via demographics. CountBox estimates that lack of information about customers results in 15% less revenue for malls and their retailer tenants. Their retail analytics solutions are intended to improve the competitiveness and financials of mall owners and retailers.
- CountBox uses sensor and video-based technology to measure foot traffic and develop customer demographic profiles. Video technology measures foot traffic, while sensors are used to develop consumer profiles, including demographic variables and mood. This information is synthesized and delivered via a cloud-based platform tool, which helps users visualize customer data insights and customer traffic patterns.
- CountBox measures foot traffic patterns, and can measure initial mall and store visitation, as well as return visitation. The technology can measure ‘dwell time’ (time spent in one location), frequency of shopping, and provide customer profiles. Their technology can also be used to test the effectiveness of various marketing programs and store (and shopping center) layouts.
- As a next-level benefit, their data can be integrated with retailers’ point-of-sale data, for a holistic understanding of the shopper, including their shopping patterns, purchasing behavior, and demographic profile.
- Their solutions benefit retailers by helping them optimize staffing, drive store visitation, and improve their merchandising (such as window displays) and loyalty programs. Mall owners can leverage CountBox to analyze real-time customer foot traffic, understand return visitors, and develop an understanding of the effectiveness of event marketing within the facility.
- RetailFlux is a Norway-based company, offering innovative retail analytic solutions that help mall owners understand shopping mall traffic and how consumers navigate the space once inside.
- RetailFlux uses in-store CCTV video systems to track each consumer on premise, and develops heat maps based on the data collected, reflecting the customer journey throughout the premises. The technology emphasizes privacy, and RetailFlux does not keep records of shoppers’ identities. They emphasize their platform as cost-effective, based on a plug-and-play system.
- RetailFlux measures foot traffic (supported by their AI-driven counting solution), retailer conversion rate, passerbys (number of shoppers who have passed certain locations or retailers within the mall), impressions (number of shoppers who have spent time at specific locations within the mall), and dwell time (amount of time spent at any location within the mall).
- RetailFlux helps mall owners encourage shoppers to visit underutilized areas of the facility, which also benefits tenants, as it drives additional traffic to less-frequently-visited areas within the shopping center.
- Other benefits offered by RetailFlux are marketing campaign, merchandising, and store design optimization, and operational efficiencies (via aligning resources with shopper behavior). These benefits help contribute to improved performance among both retailers and shopping center owners.
CASE STUDIES: MALL OPERATORS USING DATA-DRIVEN SOLUTIONS
The Shoppes at Mandalay Place
- The Shoppes at Mandalay Place is a shopping center in Las Vegas, Nevada, offering a collection of unique stores, bars, and restaurants.
- The shopping mall owners leveraged ShopperTrak data analytics, including metrics such as daily and hourly traffic flow, to attract and retain high-value retail tenants.
- The shopping center operators shared their ShopperTrak data with their tenants, which resulted in numerous positive benefits for these retailers, including increased operational efficiency, optimized visual merchandising, and the ability to benefit from the promotions and marketing campaigns executed by the Shoppes at Mandalay Place.
- Retailers within the Shoppes were better able to compete against other Las Vegas shopping venues, based on the data-driven insights provided by the shopping center operators. As a result, sales per square foot increased from $450/square foot to $719/square foot, well above industry averages.
- The mall owner benefited by its increased ability to attract and retain high-quality tenants.
- Brian Robison, Vice President and General Manager, The Shoppes at Mandalay Bay, referenced ShopperTrak data as “the single-most important factor that helped change the operation of the Shoppes at Mandalay Place”.
Kampii Shopping Center
- Kampii Shopping Center is a large shopping center in Helsinki, Finland, which is visited by over 100,000 people each day.
- Prior to leveraging a retail analytics solution, Kampii’s marketing team had focused on after-work hours and evening as the time in which their high-value and high-engagement customers were most likely to visit.
- Kampii partnered with a retail analytics provider to learn more about their key target audience. People-counter sensors were installed throughout the shopping center, enabling the analysis of traffic patterns and ‘dwell times’ (time spent in specific locations within the shopping complex).
- The data revealed that Kampii’s high-value customers were actually spending more time in the mall during lunch hours, than after work and evening. The data also revealed that shopper demographics between Monday and Friday were consistent with the weekend shopper, another prior misconception.
- Based on retail analytics, Kampii was able to revise and optimize their marketing efforts to better target and meet the needs of their shoppers.
- Kampii’s marketing team felt the utility of the retailer analytics was extremely actionable, commenting “with customer analytics like this, we understand customer behavior with much higher granularity and are able to improve our decision-making regarding marketing, layouts, tenant locations, and much more.”
Mall of America
- The Mall of America, located in Bloomington, Minnesota, is a leader in retail and entertainment, and is considered a shopping venue and tourist destination in the United States. The mall is large and complex, covering 5.6 million feet, with over 520 stores (which are frequently rearranged).
- Given the massive scale and complexity of the complex, as well as the relocation and turnover of tenants within the space, in 2015, Mall of America began to leverage indoor intelligence and location technology to accomplish several key objectives. Their primary objective was consumer-focused, as they wanted visitors to be able to effectively navigate the space (dynamic mapping), and match consumers most closely with their retail interests, especially with tenant relocation and turnover. They also wanted to prioritize keeping their tenants up-to-date with information and updates, and they wanted to harness the data they collected for future initiatives.
- Technology efforts were multi-faceted, including the installation of halo beacons for a better view of navigational issues, mining of WiFi data, and an indoor mapping platform. They initially worked with Carlson School of Business to mine the data, but have since moved their data analytics team in-house.
- Besides optimizing the guest experience, data analytics were used to craft targeted messaging toward users and to identify and address service and maintenance issues more quickly.
- At the end of 2019, Mall of America leveraged ShopperTrak to improve their foot traffic estimates, and make more informed marketing and operational decisions.
- Reflecting Mall of America’s customer-focus, Mall of America IT project senior manager noted that precise foot traffic measurements are required to “continue to deliver a seamless experience for our guests.”
- Storcent Nord, a 55-store shopping mall in Denmark, used customer analytics to improve their floor plan, strengthen their marketing performance, and create customized, consumer-focused messaging for their visitors.
- Storcent Nord worked with Emplate, a retail analytics provider, who offers solutions for shopping center owners to increase traffic, strengthen engagement with tenants, and optimize marketing.
- The technology used for data collection and analytics included beacons installed at the entrances to the mall and each store, and a customized mobile app, that maps and highlights consumers’ journey throughout the mall.
- Specific metrics collected include demographic data, proximity to mall, store preferences, store visitation behavior, and response to marketing messages.
- Benefits to the mall operator include the ability to personalize marketing to their shoppers, optimize their floor layout, and engage with customers and tenants. Tenants receive the benefit of a free consumer channel (via the app), in which they can message consumers, and receive information about which offers they do and do not like or respond to.
- Since building data-driven solutions and customer analytics into their day-to-day operations, Storcenter Nord experienced increased visitation, as well as increased customer engagement.