Consumer analytics- Indian malls’ trump card

July 13, 2018 / By  

The Indian retail sector is going through a metamorphosis of sorts. Even as the sector is poised for a fresh burst of growth, organised retail in India is thriving like never before. Smart mall owners have now moved on to the use of technology and consumer algorithms and analytics to ensure that physical retail continues to remain relevant.

Quality malls are consistently clocking occupancies of over 90%, steady rent growth and a steady increase in trading densities. To sustain this momentum, they are now moving past the ordinary methods of just improving the tenant mix or ad hoc brand refresh. There is now a strong school of thought that is looking at consumer analytics as an important tool that allows them to customise their mall strategies to enhance the customer experience.

Predictive analysis is holding sway, as analysing consumer buying behaviour and mall circulation patterns are determining brand refresh and also being used to enhance the customer experience, which plays on the mall visitor’s interests. This aids in the placement of retailer brands that take into account consumer patterns without any lengthy and aimless consumer surveys.

In the age of big data, some of the popular technological tools that quality malls are either using or are planning to make use of are the use of beacons, visitor tracking programmes and analytics through mobile apps, and loyalty programmes. Technology and consumer feedback through such tools are also finding greater traction with retailers as they use these to improve in-store merchandise as well as the overall buyer browsing movement. Already, some of the prominent retailers, such as Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Limited, Shoppers Stop and Big Bazaar, are focusing on optimising the experience of the consumer through data and analytics.

Some typical examples of technology being used at mall and store level are:

  • Use of mall Wi-Fi by consumers to understand the trajectory and circulation patterns of mall visitors at different times of the day and week. Mall mobile apps along with beacon technology and sensors to create a more customised approach for each shopper based on previous visits and preferences.
  • Store receipts, brand and merchandise purchases and spends being analysed using AI to enhance in-store merchandise as well as a mall’s brand mix.
  • Analysis of loyalty programmes by retailers is also helping them to provide a better-quality, store-level experience.

Beacons make use of Bluetooth technology in smartphones with relevant apps and are quite useful for targeted marketing in malls. There is also a greater emphasis being placed on tracking the usage of social media by visitors in malls to understand their preferences.

Similarly, video analytics can help in better merchandise placement, offer greater visibility for high foot-traffic brands by putting them in mall areas that are considered the most active based on a heat map analysis of the mall itself.

We at JLL have launched a new tech tool, PinPoint, which makes use of geofencing software to create an accurate shopper profile.

Going forward, the emphasis on technology-driven analytics is bound to increase in malls. With advances in AI and the internet of things, malls could offer an enhanced experience for consumers, predicting their needs before the consumers realise it themselves! Rigorous analytics will act as a moat against future threats to the concept of shopping centres.

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