Retail is important. Not only for the economy, but also for the health of towns and cities on every continent. In Europe, retail accounts for more than a quarter of all commercial real estate. However, going to a physical shop is no longer the only way to acquire the things we want. The growth of online shopping has already transformed the world’s largest retail markets, and will continue to do so, but commercial centres still have a vital role to play as we move towards an “experience economy”.

The Changing Face of Retail

Shopping centres are becoming places where people go for a day out combining shopping with leisure, so they want more places to eat, drink and socialize. As a result, the percentage of food and beverage outlets is increasing. This new use of space means that structures and building services need to be adapted.
Shopping malls also need to offer constant novelty through changing mix of brands, food stops and organizing different events. This means that another defining characteristic of future shopping destinations will be their flexibility. Spaces will have to be adaptable to a multitude of uses. Public spaces between retail outlets are just as important, as they can bring more footfall to retailers.
Retailers must also embrace the experience economy. In addition to selling their goods in store, they need to reinforce their brand and showcase their products to enhance their online sales.

Footfall Analysis for Decision Making

We help developers optimize their portfolios, by advising on footfall, rental values, energy-saving strategies, and developing maintenance contracts.
The traditional rental model for shopping centres was based on turnover, but today’s customers are more likely to browse before taking advantage of competitive prices online. Even though volumes of people might be going up, revenues in shops are falling.
To help developers understand how people move around their shopping centres, we have developed a model to study footfall. We help developers to decide what they need to do to get the right footfall in the right places. Through big data analysis it is possible to assign a value to the time spent by customers in the mall or in a single store and, from that value, calculate the rent of a commercial property. Ultimately, good design is all about how to get maximum footfall in maximum areas to allow the retailers to maximize their potential and our clients to maximize rent.
This real-life occupancy data also helps us to design better buildings for our clients. For example, we can use the data to decide that, since the occupancy peaks of a shopping mall in a hot climate are not occurring at the hottest part of the day, an expensive high-capacity chiller would not be required.