Shopping Centers Today

AUG 2018

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

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and retailers: Should they sign up with a certain vendor or deploy a specific technology today, or should they instead wait to see if something more advanced comes along? To some degree this uncertain- ty, along with the heightening of security concerns, has slowed the uptake of these upstart technologies, according to Garrick Brown, national retail research director for Cushman & Wakefield. "ere are a slew of new companies in the big-data world making an awful lot of promises," Brown said. "It's like the Wild West." Some landlords, including Wood- land Hills, Calif.–based NewMark Merrill Cos., are undertaking the technological tasks on their own. In addition to beefing up Wi-Fi at its properties, NewMark Merrill places cameras in stores to gauge store traffic, levels of customer service and rates of conversion, says President and CEO Sanford Sigal. e firm also tracks the comments made about its tenants on social media, to help evaluate their strengths and weaknesses. More- over, NewMark Merrill uses its Wi-Fi to capture huge amounts of shopper mobile data, enabling the formulation of direct-mar- keting strategies. Sigal says the combination of these tools, especially the data collected, gives the firm a compet- itive advantage in courting prospec- tive tenants. "More and more tenants are asking what our technology strategy is," said Sigal, a self-described tech geek who is also chairman of proptech firm BrightStreet Ventures. "Having an answer gets you pretty far along." n

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