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A Decade of Mallcomm

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In our 10-year anniversary, Mallcomm CEO David Fuller-Watts reflects on our work with global retail brands and the lessons learned.

Founded in 2013, Mallcomm was born out of a desire to support physical places where people work, shop, live and spend time. This has seen us continuously innovate and develop a platform which is now deployed across 650+ properties covering 400 million sq. ft. across 19 countries.

Over the last three years, through product development and geographical expansion, our company has grown by over 70 per cent with adoption of the Mallcomm platform more than doubling in 2021. This growth has not only been driven by our commitment to innovation, but for building technology which is tailored to our clients’ needs, creating better experiences for all parties. 

As a result, we’ve had the privilege of working with leading brands such as Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW), Mall of America, Meadowhall, and Liverpool One. We’ve learned a lot along the way and this knowledge continues to drive the design, development and success of Mallcomm.

Tenant engagement is no longer a nice to have

From our conversations with clients across the globe, it is clear the most successful shopping centres all have one thing in common – a commitment to tenant engagement. Those that are prioritising the needs of their tenants and providing the tools required to communicate with them more effectively are now realising the benefits. 

Effective property management strategies, which once tended to focus solely on operational processes, now prioritise tenant engagement, including the tools required for all parties to work cohesively, communicate effectively and measure success. 

 

 

retail workers interacting with customers

At the heart of this approach is the need for effective internal communication. Whether a retail tenant is new or has been part of a centre for years, making sure they are armed with the latest and most relevant information plays a crucial role in improving satisfaction, which in the long term creates the opportunity for higher revenues and asset values.

Even the biggest brands rely on manual processes

Retailers are more than aware of the need to embrace the digital revolution, yet many are still lagging behind. Manual processes still loom large, especially those relating to everyday management tasks and tenant communication. Although there is nothing inherently wrong with tried and tested manual processes, digitising simple tasks such as maintenance requests and checklists can have a significant impact on efficiency, engagement, and costs. 

Digital checklists simplify daily cleaning, maintenance and stock checks, ensuring properties are safe, clean and compliant at all times. Enabling tenants to submit maintenance requests digitally, and receive progress updates, improves tenant satisfaction and productivity. As far as tenant communication is concerned, many large shopping centres have relied on paper-based processes for many years, despite the need to engage with hundreds of different retailers. 

Our partnership with Sheffield-based shopping centre Meadowhall in the UK for example, was built on a need to improve communication with circa 300 retail tenants. Before adopting Mallcomm, it was up to the store managers to cascade information from Meadowhall management down to their staff, with many relying on a notice board. The Mallcomm platform has transformed that process, driving efficiencies as well as the quality of the communication, enabling the management team to proactively support retailers’ sales strategies. 

Mall of America faced similar challenges. Vital information was shared via hand-delivered printed sheets to more than 520 tenants. Mallcomm has eliminated this need, providing a single source of communication and the ability for tenants to send questions directly to mall management.

Security practices are inconsistent 

In recent years, we have witnessed common gaps in security practices among retail organisations large and small. These include ineffective reporting and communication, insufficient training, limited data and a lack of co-ordination among key internal stakeholders. 

Again, this is in part, driven by outdated manual systems which are time consuming and prone to error, preventing critical information from being distributed effectively to the right people. We have also found that some shopping centres use multiple platforms for communicating to stakeholders which hinders the flow and speed of crucial information relating to security incidents.  

 

A further drawback of manual systems is a lack of accurate data which means management teams are unable to analyse trends, vulnerabilities or other patterns which could improve their security strategies. As security risks intensify across the globe, including those presented by more extreme weather, a growing number of retail organisations are seeking to enhance and refine their security strategies.  New technology is playing a vital role in this trend, centralising critical information, communication and data to streamline security processes. 

Service concerns are a barrier to adopting proptech

When speaking with potential new clients, there are common concerns about integrating new technology, including the potential impact on staff and other systems as well as the support available from the technology provider. In many cases however, a digital platform like Mallcomm can be easily integrated with other software to generate further benefits, including the ability to track shoppers spend and make online payments.

The integration process is eased thanks to a dedicated project team, including an account manager, an implementation manager, designers, and customer success specialists for each client. As well as making sure the solution is tailored to a client’s exact needs, this team will ensure the platform is rolled out with maximum impact while providing internal teams with all the necessary training. 

Once the platform has been implemented, our support continues with experts on hand to provide guidance and coaching, ensuring engagement with the platform strengthens and retail organisations get the most out of the solution.

No time to stand still

Technology is evolving at an incredible pace making the future hard to predict. But looking ahead, and based on the lessons we’ve learned, we know the most successful global retail leaders will be those that embrace digital innovation, are focused on meeting their tenants’ changing needs, and committed to continuously improving their operational processes. 

If you would like to discover how Mallcomm can support your portfolio performance, speak to our team by clicking the button below