Shopping Centers Today

AUG 2018

Shopping Centers Today is the news magazine of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)

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"Technology has become a necessity in the shopping center industry," said David Sheldon, vice president for cli- ent engagement at Long Beach, Calif.–based Retail Design Collaborative. "Retailers have to accept that technology has shaped and advanced how we engage with the world socially. e challenge is not to accept new technologies, it's to accept change itself." Ultimately, all this could lead to a recalibration of the ways in which landlords are compensated under percentage leases, says Naveen Jaggi, who leads the JLL retail brokerage business in the Americas. In the U.S., if a customer returns a product purchased online to a physical store and then uses the credit to purchase another item, such a transaction is not considered part of the in-store sales volume. Land- lords want to see that reversed, Jaggi observes. "Postreces- sion, malls in particular have been told to update their asset by bringing in better food, beacons, Wi-Fi and all the things that make people want to come and stay," Jaggi said. "Land- lords are enabling customers to buy more product through their phones with technology, but they're not receiving commensurate value for that when a transaction takes place at the store." e onus is on the landlord to provide the tenants an internet pipe large enough to offer crash-free usage for hundreds of shoppers simultaneously researching goods, receiving loyalty-program notifications, or posting aer-purchase selfies to social media, according to Heather Bogden, a Salt Lake City–based vice president of the retail division of Colliers International. Shopping center tenants in Europe have similar expecta- tions, according to Peter Kuzmiak, founder and managing director of Veritas Consulting, a Czech Republic–based retail real estate services firm. Wi-Fi systems must have suf- ficient power to handle increased volumes of processes, as retailers adopt emergent omni-channel technologies, such as digital mirrors that enable shoppers to change cloth- ing colors virtually or to purchase items direct from the dressing room. "A new generation of shoppers are requiring more-advanced technologies and are pushing retailers to evolve," Kuzmiak said. Fashion retailer Mango is implementing digital fitting rooms in its stores, including its Lisbon, Portugal, flagship, which opened last fall, says Stela Dhami, an Albania-based managing partner with Colliers. is innovation enables customers to scan clothing tags and receive suggestions for complementary garments or accessories, or to get help from sales associates to find a different size or color. "Businesses are starting to be aware of the ways technology can increase sales, improve market share, create brand awareness and facilitate the operations processes," Dhami said. At the back of the house, landlords and retailers alike are using Wi-Fi, beacons and similar means to collect informa- tion from customer phones — including driving distance, frequency of shopping visits, what the shoppers tend to buy and where they spend the most time when they visit. And retailers are more frequently sharing this data with their landlords for collaboration, which is a departure from the past, says Stephen D. Lebovitz, CEO of Chattanooga, Tenn.–based CBL Properties. "I think retailers realize that we're competing against Amazon and other experiences," he said, "so we need to pool our resources to stay competitive." In many cases retailers and landlords are using real estate technology vendors (so-called proptech firms) to collect this information. Forum Analytics and OneMarket are among a growing number of companies acquiring and ag- gregating data to furnish consumer insights and to deliver products conceived to enhance the shopper experience and drive sales. One of OneMarket's products, called Live Receipts, allows consumers to receive and aggregate receipts from a variety of stores and venues through Facebook Mes- senger, email, text message or other digital channels. It also gives retailers and landlords the ability to keep engaging the shopper. "We are living in an experience economy, where physical retail has a huge advantage, and it's going to be those that best leverage their physical assets — and aren't afraid to dis- rupt them with technology to meet consumer demands — that will stand out as the winners," said Don Kingsborough, CEO of OneMarket. While mobile data now offer unprecedented insight into the consumer base itself, the real value may well be found in the potential to predict shopper behavior, says Paul Sill, founder and senior managing director of Forum Analytics. But the science is still young, and a current lack of trained statisticians is impeding expansion, he says. "Collectively, the data is changing the game in terms of understanding who your customers are, their pattern of movement and their shopping tendencies," said Sill. "But there's a big leap from knowing that to being able to predict some future out- come based on what action a landlord or store might take." e fact that big-data-mining technologies continue to evolve presents something of a dilemma for many landlords 38 S C T / A U G U S T 2 0 1 8 "There are a slew of new companies in the big-data world making an awful lot of promises. It's like the Wild West"

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