Magdalena Gibney, Operations Director. Credit: Multi Poland
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Multi Poland: Digital Integration positively impacts Retail Asset Value

One of the most important lessons the retail real estate industry can learn from the pandemic is to recognize the importance of omnichannel and big data. Investing in digital solutions can provide a competitive advantage and better results for both landlords and tenants.

Multi Corporation reflects on solutions that respond to the challenges arising from the development of e-commerce and changes in consumer purchasing behaviour. This includes fully digitizing operational processes: revenue management, communication between the centrer management with tenants, technical procedures, documentation management, footfall, tenant-tenant relations, project management, and facility management. 

“That is why it is so important to integrate digital tools with physical space design to improve consumer experience and relations with tenants,” said Magdalena Gibney, Operations Director at Multi Poland.

Apps for customers

The pandemic has only accelerated the changes in consumer habits related to e-commerce, which have been observed for several years. However, instead of being seen as something which replaces traditional, physical retail, digitization should be seen as a tool which supports brick-and-mortar retail. 

The research of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) demonstrates that having a network of brick-and-mortar stores increases customer traffic in online stores: bricks drive clicks. This means that stores will continue to play an important role in the daily choices of consumers and, importantly, shape their brand-specific experience, even when the purchase transaction itself is more frequently executed through the e-commerce channel. 

One example would be the consumer applications implemented in shopping centers managed by Multi in Europe. The mechanisms used in applications are based on integration with payment cards, with which the customer can, for example, automatically calculate points for purchases made in the center. As a result, the customer no longer has to scan receipts, register them manually, or show them at the checkout. The applications also automatically notify customers about obtaining a certain loyalty threshold sufficient to receive a reward, as well as special offers and discounts.

Apps for tenants

The “Forum by Multi” application service, used by 95% of tenants, was implemented at the Forum Gdańsk shopping center. The app enables them to have access to all matters related to their services in the shopping center: technical, security, marketing, promotion, communication, and coordination of service providers. Such digitization enables the mall management team to build a community with its tenants and increase efficiency. 

In addition, through satisfaction surveys one can assess a variety of management aspects, such as engagement, and to identify areas in which relations between management and tenants can be improved.

Magdalena Gibney explains: “The management of the center can independently and quickly analyse key indicators influencing the performance of the asset. This proved to be particularly useful in 2020, when ongoing filtering and real-time data analysis was crucial for our entire Group to monitor how the pandemic was affecting individual locations.”

Apps for the environment

Monitoring the use of all resources is critical to understanding and improving the environmental impact of a managed commercial property. All ESG elements are taken into account today in the valuation of a shopping center and significantly affect its value. Another area of digitization that helps to meet the business goals of property owners are systems that continuously monitor energy and water consumption, helping to achieve corporate-wide environmental goals, such as reducing carbon emissions. Moving away from paper documentation and replacing it with electronic documentation for building maintenance, financial, legal and technical procedures, and communication also supports climate-friendly initiatives and optimizes productivity.

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