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.

Engaging users

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 redeveloped entirely.

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 occupiers.

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 insight.

We keep our analysis honest and focused with two short words that make up one simple question: so what?

Value Test

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 solutions.

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.

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