PathIntelligence is a firm out of the UK that has created a unique product, FootPath, that is intended to help shopping center owners/managers optimize shopping center layout, tenancy mix, retail unit rental price and even understand what types of retailers to lease empty units to.
By tracking cell phone signals, the product attempts to map shopper density changes during the course of a day or week in the shopping center and on surrounding streets. This data can help mall management with advertising placement, renovation decisions and so on.
Do shoppers at John Lewis also visit Marks and Spencer? Or is one anchor store sufficient? Will shoppers go out of their way to visit Starbucks? Or do they visit the closest coffee shop? Would our centre benefit from the inclusion of a bookstore? How do tenant relocation decisions effect overall centre sales?
Here’s a link to the online demo that will walk you through how this works.
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What greater adoption of this type of tracking/technology means to retailers is they may be facing higher rents if the mall owners can produce evidence that they occupy a higher traffic area of the shopping center. It may also mean offline retailers may need to engage in traffic driving techniques and MTO services (Mall Traffic Optimization), and we’ll see the birth of a new industry. No really, I’m just kidding.
TechCrunch has a great discussion going on about this service – including privacy concerns and limitations on the validity of data (cell phones must be in use, not everyone has a cellphone, what about shopping centers with multiple floor levels etc).
What do you think about this technology?