Shopping centre heavyweight Vicinity Centres has turned to real-time shopper data to tweak their in-centre marketing campaigns on the fly, helping deliver a $346 million annual profit even in a sluggish retail market.
Chief strategy officer Justin Mills said the owner of Sydney's iconic QVB and Chatswood Chase malls is continually working on detecting changes and new trends in each of its centre’s trade areas, which has been reflected in a variety of its decision making processes.
The company’s FY19 annual report reveals that phase one of its intelligence platform has successfully been delivered. And it it will form the basis for further data gathering efforts that can be shared with retailers. For a fee.
“We will continue to trial and rollout new income initiatives and increasingly leverage our growing digital assets, namely our customer database with 1.2 million active users and 14 million unique mobile devices that connect to our wi-fi network each year,” Mills said on the investor briefing call for of Vicinity’s 2019 full-year results.
Additionally, each of Vicinity’s 66 centres around Australia has been fitted out with ‘thermal trackers’, feeding live foot traffic into the intelligence platform.
And it doesn't stop there.
The retail-tech platform will also increasingly offer data from carpark traffic monitoring solutions over the coming financial year, with a view to increase its capacity to forecast sales potentials for each centre and provide specific tenant recommendations.
Mills said that this has so far allowed Vicinity’s in-house marketing team to make immediate changes that to marketing tools in the malls to redirect foot traffic to under-serviced areas and achieve sales objectives.
“This is assisting sales, and as [chief operating officer Peter Huddle] mentioned, specialty and mini-major MAT [product moving annual total] increased to 3.1 percent, and pleasingly in the last quarter centre traffic increased 3.3 percent.”
Huddle took a different tack for investors, highlighting how Vicinity is using tech to drive efficiencies across its portfolio.
Part of that has been using its trove of data to create safer and more efficient buildings and operations.
Gone are the days of the humble broom pusher.
The company has vacuumed-up savings by deploying 35 robotic cleaners across 31 of its centres, “freeing up labour to complete tasks with greater complexity”, Huddle said.
“This will be extended in scale across our portfolio and is embedded into our key future maintenance agreements.”
Meanwhile, Vicinity has also centralised a number of its procurement and networking processes to achieve economies of scale.
“Our integrated network allows centre access and functionality to be controlled from offsite locations, again reducing labour costs and creating data streams for centre analysis.
“We see enhanced technology solutions continuing to be deeply embedded into our of our operational practices,” Huddle said.