Retail Technology

By on Jan 2, 2017 in Technology

Developing financially successful retail centers is a challenging task anyRob Teel of Yardi Global Solutions VPwhere in the world.  Investors and managers involved in retail assets must be sound strategic planners who can successfully assimilate a number of disparate factors, such as demographics, macro and micro economics, as well as cultural and political circumstances.  Rising e-commerce makes a competitive business environment even more acute.

Successful strategies require engaging shoppers with the right product, creating a tenant mix that suits geographic and regional trends, and accommodating local culture, demographics, regional economics and other factors.  Many malls are adding themed restaurants and attractions to attract more customers. As consumers start to buy more of their clothing items online, dancing fountains, amusement park experiences, and themed restaurants are almost as important to attracting footfall as an anchor tenant’s spring clothing fashions or new video game boxes.

A mall can be regarded as an ecosystem that needs full financial, maintenance and leasing information to be meaningful and easily accessible. Across all markets—the Americas, Asia, Europe, Australia, the Middle East—the tendency toward large malls mean operators must be able to handle large tenant counts. For example, due to the sheer size of the shopping area, instinct and walk-throughs are insufficient for detecting inefficiencies and troubled tenants.  Only reliable data and metrics will serve that purpose.

Single Platform Global ‘Glue’

With the retail sector generating more data in a single month than many other vertical real estate markets do in a year, and with investors expecting strong returns for their money, the imperative to store, maintain, manage and utilize retail property data bonds the industry like glue.  These operations are as important as inventory, location and demographics in determining the success of a retail center. As a result, retail owners and operators around the world are turning to cloud-based business-wide systems such as Yardi Voyager® to manage the enormous amount of data involved in retail management.

Yardi Voyager lets companies execute all property, financial and ancillary operations such as performance measurement, period closing, invoice processing, business intelligence, budgeting, and more from a single information source. This capability mitigates risk and delivers analytics to desktops and mobile devices in real time.  Other applications integrate with a retailer’s web presence to give consumers, investors, property managers and vendors an online means to interact in the retail ecosystem.

A business-wide platform such as Yardi Voyager also generates business intelligence that unifies property and accounting information to give property managers and investors crucial analysis on retail spaces. When an unhealthy tenant can’t pay rent, for example, the landlord suffers, as does the investor.  Because percent rent on tenant sales boosts revenue, the monthly sales trend for a tenant is very important for investor ROI.  If a coffee shop is selling $1 million worth of coffee per month for two years in a row, but the last three months have been closer to $500,000 per month, that’s a graphic indicator that traffic patterns might have changed. That coffee shop will go out of business if the landlord doesn’t act, and the investment will suffer.

With portfolios broadening across geographic boundaries, ongoing competitive and regulatory pressures and evolving consumer shopping habits, operators and investors cannot afford to underestimate the importance of managing operations as effectively and efficiently as possible. The value of shaping operational and financial information into meaningful accurate metrics can’t be ignored. Whether a European high street, a rural outlet in the United States or a Middle Eastern mega-mall, traditional shops and shopping are here to stay for the foreseeable future in spite of e-commerce competition, economic slumps and other challenges.  But to thrive, retailers and investors must collaborate to adopt new ways of engaging consumers while delivering services that enhance relationships, drive down costs and increase value.

Editor’s note: Robert Teel is senior vice president, Global Solutions for Yardi.