Data often influences the way owners and developers think about their properties and tenants. However, the right data – and the know-how to use it – can transform their entire business and supercharge their leasing efforts.
Buxton, a Fort Worth, Texas-based consumer analytics platform, provides the data that owners and developers need to make smarter decisions. Buxton’s data consists of three innovative and complementary applications that combine demographics, psychographics and location information to give real estate execs an idea of their properties’ true performance potential.
Partner Insights spoke to Buxton’s SVP of Product Operations, Chris Briggs, and SVP of Sales, Tim White, to learn how the company’s consumer intelligence platform helps owners and developers increase property value and lease vacant space faster, easier and more efficiently.
Commercial Observer: How does Buxton work with property owners and developers?
Tim White: Buxton operates in several different industry verticals by identifying ‘the who’ and ‘where’ of customers, the value of those customers, and other factors that influence the performance of specific locations, properties and markets. Our technology platform consists of three unique applications: Mobilytics, Match and SCOUT. Each application addresses the challenges facing brands, property owners and developers and municipalities. We help property owners find the right tenants for their sites, and we help brands find the right locations to serve their customer base.
How would you describe the retail landscape today and what can property owners and developers do to adapt?
Tim White: Over the course of the pandemic, a number of businesses have closed, creating more vacancies in retail properties and mixed-use developments than usual. While that’s a positive for brands that are looking to expand, it also means they have to be smarter about their site selection process. More options don’t necessarily translate into good options, so retailers must make sure they’re choosing the best locations for their strategic growth. And by best, I mean the best for their brand(s), specifically.
Chris Briggs: Pre-pandemic, when we would do an optimization study for a retail customer, they’d say, “I know where I want to operate my next 200 locations, but there’s no real estate for me.” Now, because they have more inventory to pick from, they can be choosier. Property owners and developers have more competition for tenants, and they need to be armed with the right tools and data to bring these brands to their properties, whether open-air centers, malls or mixed-use buildings. Data helps retail owners and developers convince potential tenants to lease space.
What are some of the top concerns retailers have today regarding site selection? What does that mean for property owners trying to attract top brands to their sites?
Tim White: Retailers are thinking: “I want the site with the greatest visibility, the best ingress and egress – all the things that make it a classic real estate location.” But the most important factor, not only for retailers, but property owners too, is the consumer base or trade area around the property. If your customer’s not there, nothing else matters – not the rental rate, co-tenancy or ownership.
The real question is: Can the consumer base around this property support the tenant?
Buxton’s data platform answers that question by marrying analytics and classic real estate savvy. By helping to identify the factors that influence performance, owners can pursue the tenants that have the best chance of success at their properties, and retailers can feel confident that they’ve made a good choice and laid the groundwork for their next best-performing location.
That brings us back to Buxton’s platform. Can you tell us more about it and how it helps owners and developers identify the right tenants and top brands for their properties?
Tim White: Buxton’s platform consists of three applications: Mobilytics, which uses mobile GPS data to track foot traffic; Match, which measures a brand’s potential at any location; and SCOUT, a mapping and data visualization application.
With a phone in everyone’s pocket these days, there’s more data available than ever. This consumer data provides a deep understanding of individual customers including where they live, where they shop and where they go before and after they visit specific places and properties.
Mobilytics takes that data and enhances it with other Buxton datasets, creating a higher level of granularity into customers. We track roughly 75,000 attributes on almost everyone in America, which allows us to really understand a retailer’s customers and if a property’s trade area has enough of those customers to support the brand.
Chris Briggs: Match is another increasingly valuable tool for property owners and developers. With the click a button, you can find out which brands are a fit for any property (or site) in the U.S. Match tells us which customers are there and which brands they like.
Simply put, it’s a matchmaking tool for owners and developers that guides them in the direction of brands and tenants they should pursue. Match helps them fill their space with the best tenants for portfolio properties.
For individual properties, Match looks at the characteristics of the trade area, focusing on the profile of the customer base, and determines how it matches the actual customer profile of any given retail brand. The application compares a retailer’s best locations, indicating whether that particular brand has been in markets like this before, which locations offer the closest comparison, and how those locations are performing.
If an available property matches a retailer’s worst locations, that’s obviously not a good fit. But if a property is almost an identical twin to 15 of a brand’s top 30 locations, that’s attention-getting. The retailer and owner is, thus, missing out on that customer opportunity. Property owners can use that insight to prospect potential tenants and tell a powerful and compelling story with a combination of customer demographics and psychographics.
Should owners and developers emphasize demographics or psychographics?
Tim White: There’s no question that demographics are important. However, psychographics provide a much more in-depth view of the customer based on behavioral characteristics. It digs into the ‘why’ and ‘how’ not just the ‘who’ and ‘what.’
For example, demographics tell a retailer that its customer is 30 to 35 years old, makes $80,000 a year and has children. But demographics can’t tell a retailer what the customer cares about or how they spend their money. That’s where psychographics come in. They shed light on how people live their lives.
Psychographics, meanwhile, can pinpoint the households that are interested in education and the households that are more environmentally conscious. Those things matter because it means they watch different types of television, shop at different places and are involved in different activities.
Think of it this way: Demographics are a black-and-white photo, while psychographics are full-color videos.
Buxton’s platform marries both demographic and psychographic data so owners and developers have in-depth knowledge and understanding of the people who live around their properties and those who visit them. By working with Buxton and using our platform, owners and developers can invest time in attracting tenants that will add value to their properties.
This piece was originally published on The Commercial Observer's website on January 31, 2022.
Read the other two articles in this series: How Consumer Data Can Help Property Owners Attract Medtail Tenants and To Fill Vacant Restaurant Space with New Dining Concepts, Owners Need More than Foot Traffic Data