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Advanced Analytics Means The Future of Malls Is Bright

May 17, 2019

The death of malls due to the rise of online retail is one of the best urban myths of our time. In my conversations with senior leaders at mall operators across the U.S. it’s clear that malls are very much alive and well, and in fact, online brands like Warby Parker and Casper, have a strong role to play in their future.

According to a report cited in Forbes: “It turns out that when a retailer opens a new store, on average, that brand's website traffic increases by 37%, relative share of web traffic goes up by 27% and the retailer's overall brand image is enhanced. This impact is even more pronounced for newer, digitally native vertical brands.” What’s more, brands born on the internet, have come to depend on, and expect, deep data insights.

The future of malls depends on having access to sophisticated analytics that reveal the strong patterns between consumer behavior, mall optimization and marketing activities. Consumer experience and revenues are inextricably linked, yet until now, it’s been hard to track consumer behavior throughout the mall.

Fill in that gap in the funnel, however—which is what we’re doing here at Omnee—and malls can effectively increase their NOI and drive leasing revenues: both fixed and variable. The key is for leasing, marketing and property management teams to align their efforts and work together to create the best overall experience for consumers via the brands they serve.

According to a recent article by McKinsey: “Most mall operators decide opportunistically which tenants to lease to, and which units within the mall each store will occupy.”

The problem with this approach is the lack of insights to address important questions such as which type of brands most appeal to local consumers, whether anchor stores are acting as the all-important draw, and if certain outlets are creating cross-shopping behavior.

Even those malls who have invested in technology tools and have access to data, according to McKinsey, “[lack] the analytical skills and tools to generate insights from the data.

The Power of Cross-Shopping Insights

At Omnee, we are using AI and machine learning to automatically generate valuable insights from the data we collect, and one of the most powerful things we’ve been able to uncover is cross-shopping behavior. While articles citing the death of malls tend to only focus on one thing: the rise and fall of foot traffic, we know from our discussions with mall operators, that what is far more important is the revenue generated per consumer.

So a consumer who “cross-shops” and visits say four to five stores per mall visit, is far more valuable versus one who runs into one store and then leaves. What’s even more important, is understanding their journey around the mall. If they visited Apple first, and then visited other attractions and stores, we can start to correlate the value of each tenant. Invaluable insights for operators trying to set the right leasing terms and rents.

We are in a strong position to help our customers optimize tenant mix, rents and consumer routes around the mall. To learn more, reach out to us here and we’d be happy to illustrate how Omnee can help you move more quickly toward a bright future.

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