REPURPOSING RETAIL: GOT BIG DATA? SO WHAT?
Posted by Estates Gazette on 30th Jan 2020
All businesses are
being told that the collection, examination and interpretation of data is central
to ensuring that they undertake more objective strategic decision-making.
That the application of informed analytics to a range of
data sets can help reduce the risk of human bias and lead to faster, better
decisions being made. And if your humans are flawed, no worries – Al will come
to the rescue. Soon.
Amid all this, the real estate industry still upholds its
reputation as a domain that largely relies on subjective judgement and fails to
put data at the forefront of its practices, so many property businesses are missing
a huge opportunity to transform the performance of their assets.
Adopting new approaches to decision-making and changing
behaviours throughout the industry is not easy, but we are convinced that over
the next few years data will be the differentiator separating winning spaces
and places from those that fail.
So at Ellandi we are re-engineering every business decision-making
process to put data at the start and heart of everything we do.
Clearly, the challenges in retail sector highlight the importance
of leveraging data as a core component of future decision-making. Understanding
consumers has always been vital to retail success, and the same theory should
be applied to ensuring that a place engages its users, whether it remains
largely retail, becomes mixed-use or is
Central to deciding how to manage, repurpose or redevelop a
retail space is the development of a deep understanding of the community it
serves. Harnessing an insight into the future users of each individual place
and enabling it to provide a continuously engaging visitor experience means
really understanding what drives supply, use and future demand from space
This has become even more pressing as we can no longer look
to past models for “what good looks like” as the change and challenges are of
the one-in-a-generation kind.
But as we dive deeper into the digital age – and data sets,
technologies and analytics become even more sophisticated – it can sometimes be
hard to see the wood from the trees; data for data’s sake does not lead to
We keep our analysis honest and focused with two short words
that make up one simple question: so what?
Fresh data and innovative technologies can spark interest
and intellectual curiosity. However, unless they impact decision making, and
actually answer the questions ‘how do we engage our visitors?’, ‘how do we increase
our catchment?’ and ‘how can we ensure sustainable occupations?’ they will not
be contributing value and purpose.
Only relevant and meaningful data can then be analysed,
filtered and refined – and combined with the “human data” provided by the
decades of experience embedded in our diverse property team – to provide truly
valuable and unique understanding. This approach challenges cognitive bias
while ensuring that our data-driven insight leads to viable and sustainable
Those of us at the forefront of the evolutionary journey of
town centre real estate who accept that assets will have to adapt and change
with the help of relevant data-driven insights will have the resilience and
agility o succeed, whatever the future throws at us.
This approach will ensure that repurposed retail will not
only survive today but thrive tomorrow.