Retailers and shopping centre landlords should work together to share data on consumers to provide a more joined up approach, the chief executive of shopping centre owner and developer Hammerson has said.
Speaking at the International Council of Shopping Centres’ European conference in London today, David Atkins said: “Retailers don’t know about the customers they don’t have, so the data we have can be valuable to them. We are working with them on the flow of data.”
He added that technology such as beacons and free WiFi are enabling landlords to “break down those traditional partnerships”.
“Technology is enabling us to talk to retailers in a different way, in a different language. We have digital experts in our business that now know nothing about property but are engaging with retailers own digital marketing teams. We need to have more grown up conversations and broad conversations about digital.”
He said shoppers are far less loyal then they used to be, so landlords need to use technology to stay ahead and support retailers, while different platforms such as websites and apps must be joined up.
“There’s still a lot of trial and error as consumers are very fast moving and fickle. We need flexibility around technology to make sure we can flex it as we go forwards.
“You have to keep the flexibility, keep learning and keep trying…There’s no standing still. Do we really know the value of what we are creating now, no, but we have got to keep trialling things and moving forwards.”
He explained that major shopping destinations have the power to change the face of an area and regenerate it. He cited the Bullring in Birmingham, which Hammerson owns 50% of, as in the five years after it opened in 2003 crime in central Birmingham fell by 70%. He attributed this in part to “creating a sense of location that the community feel proud of”.
Laurent Morel, chairman of the executive board of French shopping centre owner Klepierre, added: “If you want to make things happen in the next 10 years you have to be brave and foster the change and make it happen.”