The long-awaited market comeback just might finally be under way, and retail malls need to take stock. Not just of empty spaces, but of the shift in their customers’ shopping habits, too.
Because a fair number of large retailers have walked away from malls, challenges to landlords and developers to fill those spaces will remain on the agenda for years. The migration to online shopping looms large for traditional bricks-and-mortar retailers and certainly can’t be ignored when configuring a shopping experience.
If you’re a real estate owner or leasing agent, there are three things you can do with customer analytics to improve how you choose winners for your retail lineup.
Stop relying on consumer surveys. We call the results you get “false positives.” Participants often embellish their answers. Instead, start with demographic information and enrich it with household-level consumer behavior datasets to develop a strategic plan. If the trade area has changed — perhaps due to unemployment, falling home values and foreclosures — deep, robust customer data can give you clear and honest insights to build predictive models based on current shopping and buying patterns.
Know what the market will bear for rent. Once you define the audience of potential shoppers and their specific needs and wants, you’ll know the retailers you can successfully target as tenants. And, just as important, you can determine how much you can expect for rental agreements and forecast overall productivity for the property.
Keep your store mix “hot.” Optimize the success of your property with continual attention to customer analytics. Fine-tune the tenant mix based on changing consumer preferences and develop marketing campaigns with pinpoint accuracy.
How much customer shift have you seen in trade areas around malls? What are you doing about it? Getting your hands on the most in-depth customer information available has never been more critical to your decision-making than now.