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34 CASESTUDY


FOOTFALL TECHNOLOGY HONES PROPERTY MANAGEMENT


Shopping centre owner updates traffic management capabilities to aid operational management decision making


C


Shopper traffic counting is a key tool for us to


measure the performance of individual centres or the group as a whole. This makes it critical that the data we receive is both accurate and available


apital & Regional is a specialist property company focusing on retail and leisure investments in the UK and Germany. It uses


in-house asset and property management teams to maximise the returns from its properties for both investors and tenants.


Its shopping centre team has applied asset management skills to over 25 UK shopping centres over the past 10 years.The Mall Fund, a specialist UK community Shopping Centre brand, comprises of nine properties, with over 4.6-million square feet of space to let, and is home to over 1,000 retail units.The company also owns and manages Braehead Shopping Centre in Glasgow, Kingfisher Shopping Centre in Redditch and Waterside Shopping Centre in Lincoln. Shopping Centre management teams are renowned


for being demanding in their desire for accurate visitor counting data.Capital & Regional uses traffic counting as a key method of reporting that can influence a number of operational activities, from marketing and promotions and weekly performance analysis, to chief executive-led City presentations and as a tool to drive new retail lettings. Capital & Regional had been using Experian


Footfall for a number of years. However employees throughout the organisation, from shopping centre general managers through to the chief executive, were beginning to feel frustrated at the level of service being delivered. In 2009,Capital & Regional’s chief executive took the decision that the required level of service was


not being met by the existing solution and put together a team to review alternative offerings in the market. The Capital & Regional review team was led by project manager Stephen Rister, with regional operations manager Martin Macwhinnie, and also included Mall Fund general managers as part of the working party. In a three-way pitch that included the incumbent,


ShopperTrak emerged as the only company that demonstrated a real understanding of the accuracy and availability required of the data. It also offered the most advanced technology, using video as opposed to the existing thermal imaging, which was overly susceptible to changes in light and weather.A decision was taken to install ShopperTrak across the entire shopping centre portfolio. Capital & Regional and ShopperTrak ran the new solution alongside the existing system for a period of six weeks. Significant discrepancies appeared in the data captured from the existing provider’s equipment, making it very difficult to draw meaningful comparisons. The system therefore had to operate for 12 months on a re-alignment basis, running ShopperTrak against the previous year’s data and making adjustments were necessary.The ShopperTrak data remained consistent throughout this period and the incumbent data was discarded at the end of the 12 months. ShopperTrak has delivered positive change for the


business. Its data is both accurate and available and the reporting can be delivered in numerous formats, customised for different stakeholders within the business. Parameters can be set within the system so that general managers are only alerted when variations hit an agreed level and all retailers are given access to the data to encourage collaboration. “Shopper traffic counting is a key tool for us to measure the performance of individual centres or the group as a whole.This makes it critical that the data we receive is both accurate and available, whenever we need it. ShopperTrak fulfils both of these criteria, as well as offering a dedicated service and a real passion for our business,” commented Rister. “Changing the system was a significant business


decision for us, given the length of time that the existing solution had been in place. We looked at the pros and cons and knew that the safe option was to stick with the existing provider. Fortunately we didn’t get to be the company we are today by playing safe. We definitely made the right decision,” concluded Macwhinnie.


RETAIL TECHNOLOGY SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012


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