David Fuller-Watts, CEO of Mallcomm, discusses the importance of tenant engagement in driving sales and how digital technology can add value to this strategy.
A return to physical stores, innovative technology and a renewed focus on efficiency are all helping retailers to weather the economic and political storm. But for shopping center owners and managers, these aren’t the only trends which will make a difference to the bottom line.
From our conversations with clients across the globe, there are not only positive signs of recovery but evidence of significant growth. Retailers’ sales are strengthening, resulting in higher retention rates and rents for retail destinations. Some larger shopping centers are now in a strong position to make further investments, which will generate further revenue in both the short and long term.
These discussions have also revealed that the most successful shopping centers all have one thing in common, a commitment to tenant engagement. Those that are prioritizing the needs of their tenants and providing the tools required to communicate more effectively are now realizing the benefits.
Of course, tenant engagement is not the only driver behind their success. But it’s no coincidence that retail destinations outperforming their competitors are all putting their tenants front and center; a trend which can’t be ignored.
Engaging multiple retailers is not without its challenges. To be effective, tenant engagement relies on several factors, which need to work together to create the best possible experience. In many cases, that means changing mindsets and shifting away from a silo mentality. A property manager must look at a shopping center as a single, connected community where all teams work together to empower retailers to do better.
At the heart of this approach is the need for effective internal communication. Whether a tenant is new or has been part of a center for years, making sure it is armed with the latest and most relevant information relating to its environment plays a crucial role in engagement and improving satisfaction.
Communication must also be a two-way street. Making it easy for tenants to contact management with any questions, concerns or requests strengthens relationships and helps to boost retailers’ productivity, freeing up their time to focus on what they do best.
So how can this be achieved?
Digital technology provides a powerful and highly effective tool for shopping center managers seeking to enhance tenant engagement. Implementing a platform like Mallcomm enables all parties to communicate through a single source and use real-time messaging. The need for manual or multiple methods are eliminated, streamlining all communication and bringing the whole community together.
As well as providing updates on management and other operational issues, a digital platform can generate wider commercial benefits.
The technology can be used to maximize the impact of marketing initiatives for shopping centers as well as individual retailers. Offers, promotions and loyalty discounts can be promoted directly to tenants, as well as details of events or networking opportunities. This strategy not only enhances engagement but can have a direct impact on sales.
For example, up to 5% of the turnover generated at a food outlet within a shopping center in the U.K. can be attributed to a loyalty discount offered through the Mallcomm platform. This is also true in the U.S., where convenience, coupled with the alignment of center management teams and retailers leads to a higher success rate of promotions and positive customer journey for visitors.
The technology can also measure the success of marketing campaigns and other initiatives, ensuring shopping centers can continuously improve and that strategies can be adapted if needed. This can be achieved through bespoke surveys and polls designed to gather feedback from tenants.
Sales data can be collected through the platform, too, enabling management to analyze patterns more forensically over time and to analyze the potential impact of an engagement strategy.
Much has been said about the need to improve the customer experience in stores and retail destinations. To differentiate in a competitive and challenging market, creating a memorable experience is crucial to attract shoppers and encourage sales. However, the experience for retail tenants is talked about far less — and that needs to change.
As the backbone of a shopping center, retailers also need to operate in an environment which provides them with the best possible experience. That is why tenant engagement must be prioritized in property management, including the tools required for all parties to work cohesively, communicate effectively and measure success.
From our experience of working with many retail destinations, this approach can strengthen retailers’ sales, creating the opportunity for higher revenues and asset values for shopping centers of all sizes.
To find out more about how Mallcomm can support tenant engagement across your portfolio, come and talk to us at Booth 3049J at ICSC LAS VEGAS or click the link here to visit the Mallcomm site.