“I remember sitting in a meeting at the end of last year, discussing the turbulent few months’ retail had just gone through. Little did we know what 2020 had in store for us…” Michelle Buxton, Founder & CEO of Mallcomm, one of the most advanced technologies in retail real estate, explores why it’s time to put theory into practice.
None of us could foresee the world would be gripped by a global pandemic but the truth is that the industry had been restless long before Covid-19. We’d spent the year talking about digital transformation and how our understanding of real estate must change from old to new. Well, if the outbreak has proven anything it’s that the time has come to put the theory into practice.
Efficient asset management, resource light buildings
The rise of PropTech is a natural part of this change and digitising operations has become an indispensable part of asset management. With service charges under ever-growing scrutiny, real estate must find a way to maintain efficient but resource light buildings and this is precisely where smart building integration has a powerful role to play.
Our clients understand the value technology brings to their business because they have seen significant benefits in productivity, quality of occupier relationships and end-customer connectivity first hand through their use of Mallcomm.
An example of this is the partnership we have with Mall of America, the largest retail and entertainment destination in the US, which up until 2018, was still communicating with all tenants via memo and emails. Our team worked with theirs to create and implement the ‘Mall of America Tenant Portal’ from a selection of Mallcomm modules and some bespoke development to satisfy all the challenges a mall with 520 tenants can encounter, whilst ensuring the platform provided additional value to all users.
By connecting people at all levels, Mallcomm enables them to effectively engage, manage, secure and operate their physical environment. It creates efficiencies by streamlining operations across all departments and subsequently, it generates significant savings through reallocation of resources. The companies using Mallcomm have reported annual savings of up to 10 per cent of their service charge per asset. Across a portfolio of tens, sometimes hundreds of assets this makes a real difference by reducing the occupation costs to the lowest levels.
Data is the new oil
Additionally, Mallcomm delivers something that landlords were notoriously lacking in the past – huge amounts of invaluable data. Compared to other industries, the sector has made relatively little progress in developing integrated digital strategies that incorporate data management. But the landscape is changing and the most-forward thinking landlords are not only capturing this data but are using the insight for decision making, sharing it with their occupiers and driving operational efficiency.
Reporting should be the essence of any PropTech solution. Through Mallcomm, our clients have a real time overview of each property as the platform focuses on collection of reliable and accurate data that builds a strong foundation for all leasing and marketing strategies. After all: “Digital and data strategies are of no value if they are not driven by clear customer (or operational) outcomes,” says Brendon Ambersley, KPMG in the UK.
According to KPMG Global PropTech Survey 2019, the rental value is likely to increase significantly when software of this nature is implemented and Mallcomm does just that – it drives value through deep knowledge of the place, resulting in occupier retention.
There is no more B2B and B2C – only human to human
The traditional model of shopping centres as we know it is evolving and landlords, for the most part, have finally accepted that their relationship with occupiers must also evolve in order for both to survive the ongoing crisis. This change brings along a major opportunity to engage and learn about the occupiers and their customers through technology. Bringing all these audiences into one place can transform sales, loyalty, the user experience and data.
As the only platform on the market, Mallcomm enables full integration of retail and mixed-use real estate audiences, breaking down the barriers between B2B and B2C and allowing the property teams to be more knowledgeable and efficient when managing these audiences. It’s a true collaborative platform because it allows occupiers to actively participate in the content published on the app, be reactive to external circumstances and make data-driven decisions that help generate revenue through targeted marketing.
The new normal
It’s safe to say that Covid-19 has caused havoc in the industry and we are all patiently waiting to see what the post-pandemic world will look like.
What we know for sure is that people will continue to crave human interaction and a sense of community. Combine it with the requirement for remote management, digital operations and data-driven efficiencies and we predict a future where platforms like Mallcomm are no longer seen as a luxury. Instead, they will become a critical life-line to survival.