Up to data

Retail Destination spoke to Gareth Jordan, director of ART Software Group, creators of Retail Advantage, about the importance of accurate data

What exactly are the right tools for shopping centre landlords and managers when it comes to data?

Any data solution should support the identity of a site and help indicate what is and is not working.

Shopping centre landlords and managers have an excellent grasp of what makes a great retail space. In the current landscape the right tools are those that assist making that task easier. There will always be exciting new concepts and apps springing up, in evaluating the potential efficacy of these, landlords and managers should seek to understand where the benefit is – does this reduce my workload, and does it bring new understanding and better visibility to accelerate my goals? 

The goals for a retail or leisure destination may be somewhat different from site to site, but in general they have key markers around nurturing sustainable growth and optimising ongoing appeal for potential customers. 

How important is it to have accurate data and how can you be certain data is accurate?

It is essential to have the most accurate data you can, otherwise you are making decisions based upon anecdotal information or simply guessing. Data gets old quickly, so it is important to swiftly collect, incorporate checks and connect the right data points. 

Data can also be very siloed, so it is important to structure it to be consistent. Analytics should be presented dynamically to different teams, whilst still meeting the same defined standards. This is crucial for a portfolio of centres, but it is equally important for an individual destination, so that people can plug right into real time insights.  

Is there such a thing as too much data?

Having some data is always going to be better than nothing, but collecting data for data’s sake isn’t always going to be helpful. 

When building a picture of what is happening at a retail or leisure location, it makes sense to focus on the best quality data you are able to get. That picture normally starts with the basics of how people interact with stores and move around the area. Bring in sales data and you already have a good base. 

From here you can start to broaden the picture to see what external factors influence a day’s trade. Adding data on marketing and promotional activities will tell you if you are spending money in the right way. You can enhance this further with more data on customer preferences or their location to increase our visibility.

To me, the key to a successful data strategy is building your data outwards. The objective for any retail destination is to increase sales performance. You will only know if you are making progress if you can truly measure those core numbers.

The best data provides detail that can help you better understand the factors contributing to performance for a destination, street, or store. So prioritising the most useful data will certainly reap rewards quicker than gathering a mix of data types without consistency. 

This was first published in Retail Destination Fortnightly. Click here to subscribe.

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