It’s an interesting time to support our real estate and retail customers. Both of these industries are rapidly transforming as technology gives consumers more options for making and researching purchases, as well as connecting with their favourite brands. Most major retailers are investing in both digital and bricks-and-mortar properties, with the latter looking increasingly like a chess board as locations are carefully selected for their ability to provide a rich brand experience to a target customer, or serve as a pick-up point for online purchases, or as a real-world showroom.
As more retailers consider their store network as just one part of a digital ecosystem, landlords, property managers and developers are feeling the pinch – just as new retail space is becoming available within new shopping centres and multi-use condo and housing developments. Leasing agents are challenged to prove the value of a given storefront to retailers, banks, telcos and other prospective tenants who need fewer stores and have so many options to choose from.
This is where data comes in. Data have always been important to the real estate industry, helping size the total population or estimated expenditure within a trade area surrounding a shopping centre, helping real estate teams prove to potential tenants that, with an estimated proportion of that trade area’s estimated spend, a site can achieve a certain profit margin.
Now that each store in a network increasingly plays a unique role within a larger corporate strategy – back to that chess analogy again – real estate teams are taking their use of data to the next level, using carefully selected data points to demonstrate the value of a particular site within a larger network. Here’s what we’ve observed has been working:
The graphic below shows these techniques at work in describing a trade area, around Yonge Street and St. Clair Avenue in Toronto, where some storefronts have been empty most of the past decade. Who lives in this area? How do they spend their time and money? What retail possibilities do these numbers suggest, and what banners or formats come to mind? How could this information be tweaked to support a specific opportunity? What do you think?