Willem Buijs, Founder and CEO of Chainels: "I think that there are numerous market opportunities, especially in light of the fact that building communities are steadily becoming more relevant." Credit Chainels

Everyone Needs to Be Aware of What is Happening, When, and Why

Dutch company Chainels' platform provides the tools that are necessary to reach and engage mall stakeholders.

“Chainels was launched six years ago as a start-up originating from Delft Technical University,” reports CEO and Founder Willem Buijs. He continues: “Our objective was to develop a platform for local businesses. As a result, we found ourselves working for the city center of Delft and for the high streets of Amsterdam. That was how we learned that innovative ways of communicating with tenants were being sought.”

As of 2019, the Rotterdam-based company has accumulated sufficient expertise regarding how stakeholders of retail destinations in general, and particularly how those who have shares in shopping centers, best communicate with each other. This information is indispensable as effective collaboration between tenants, property managers, security guards, marketing professionals, and owners can sometimes prove difficult to arrange. As a result of incorrect contact details, staff changes, and outdated communication methods, a number of stakeholders are often unaware of what the other stakeholders are doing. In order to achieve common goals, everyone needs to be aware of what is happening, when, and why.

Wereldhave, Redevco, and Other Clients

In order to solve a simple problem, such as a broken light in a mall bathroom, between 15 and 20 contacts may be required, according to CBRE. This detail is particularly important in light of the fact that approximately 3,000 issues arise at a retail property per year. Following Center Management’s receipt of an e-mail sent by a tenant stating that a light fixture is broken, an acknowledgment message is sent, which is followed by a request for a photo of the case to be submitted. Subsequently, Property Management is contacted; however, the fact that the main contact person is on holiday is soon discovered. The search for his deputy then begins. … and so the situation continues. The tenant is never in the loop regarding the current status of solving the problem. If the repaired light flashes after a while instead of glowing, the tenant may not report this anymore and may be disgruntled.

This is where Chainels comes into the picture – naturally, for more complex matters as well. The platform provides the tools that are necessary to reach and engage every mall stakeholder. It enables simultaneous announcements to be made to all tenants and creates dialog through the use of news, alerts, promotions, and events. Platform set-up inside a shopping center can be quickly carried out within one month. In addition to Holland, Chainels is also currently active in Belgium, Sweden, Germany, and the UK. Among its clients are ECE, Redevco, Wereldhave, Colliers, and Cushman & Wakefield.

Buijs is optimistic about the future of his business field: “I think that there are numerous market opportunities, especially in light of the fact that building communities are steadily becoming more relevant. Shopping center operators no longer regard their tenants as mere tenants, but as customers. They have come to realize that they have to provide them with certain services. This UK-based approach has begun to make its way across Europe. Our efficiency in this regard is greatly appreciated.”

Sign up for our ACROSS Newsletter. Subscribe to ACROSS Magazine.

Proptech MORE

“You Just Have to Play Your Cards Right”

Landlords have assets at their disposal that e-commerce lacks. That allows for a unique mix of services and experience under a single, local roof, says Markus Porvari, Founder of HyperIn and Member of the ACROSS Advisory Board.

Expanding the Boundaries of “PropTech”

PROPTECH COLUMN | “As digital consumer databases typically reach between 10% and 50% of unique annual physical visitors and beyond, each shopping center would have as strong a value proposition vis-à-vis tenants in the digital space as those with physical stores.” | By Peter Tonstad

The mall as a platform

The best shopping centers must be underpinned by a technology platform powered by high density, connected technology infrastructure, technology services and real-time, actionable shopper data, delivering a highly personalized experience for how shoppers want to engage with the destination. It must be an online to offline to online journey and it should be continuous not just at a few key times a year.

Sustainability and shopper behavior: second hand and vintage clothing gain popularity

“Several shopping centers have already established second-hand item exchange days for their shoppers. Malls are perfect locations for such activities, and the opportunities go beyond leasing floor space to second-hand stores.”

Keep calm and carry on, just not as before

The Covid-19 pandemic will cause lasting change in the way that we live, work, play, and particularly in the way we shop.

“The industry has finally woken up and takes digitalization more seriously”

The importance of multichannel communication between mall management, tenants and consumers has become clearer to everyone during the isolation, says Hannu Käki VP, Business Development at HyperIn, in his interview.