Dave Huntoon, Intalytics principal and co-founder, was recently interviewed in an article for Shopping Centers Today, a trade publication produced by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC.) Dave contributed expert insights based on his four decades of experience in the predictive analytics space, primarily focusing on emerging trends in data, technology, and the overall retail landscape.
One narrative that Dave expanded on was the notion of retail expansion efforts not purely occurring through the opening of incremental brick and mortar locations. As he mentioned in the article, while businesses used to focus almost exclusively on expanding their respective store counts, “[n]ow the focus has turned to optimizing existing real estate portfolios.” The economic downturn in the mid-2000’s, coupled with e-commerce growth, has fundamentally changed the way that retailers think about interacting with their customers. As the article notes, predictive analytics can help to address these challenges. “With stores closing, the [Intalytics] sales-recapture analysis program, which helps calculate the percentage of sales a chain’s remaining stores stand to recapture if one or more of the other units close, may come in handy.”
Another theme that emerged from the article is the transformative impact that increasingly granular datasets, combined with ever more powerful technologies, are having on site selection analytics. Consumer tracking technologies, digital breadcrumbs left behind based on online behaviors, and the introduction of AI and machine learning have all led to an explosion of data for retailers to consume and synthesize. One example that Dave references is the emergence of what Intalytics refers to as “massive mobile data”. As consumer adoption of location-based applications continues to accelerate, these applications are turning smartphones into powerful barometers of consumer activity. On a daily basis, billions of observations regarding the location of a device at any given point in time are being compiled, helping to customize brick-and-mortar marketing and inform real estate decisions. In Huntoon’s words: “[massive mobile data] allow the ability to track consumer behaviors like never before.”
While some of his perspectives are not featured in the article, Huntoon emphasizes that pairing target marketing with real estate forecasting represents an opportunity to leverage integrated approaches to driving customer acquisition and increased revenues.
“Once a business invests the capital to build, staff, and purchase inventory for a new location, they have a keen interest in maximizing its performance. As retailers continue to build out their own ‘market intelligence’ capabilities, real estate and marketing teams are increasingly working in closer collaboration with one another. We’ve seen significant adoption of these services amongst our existing client base, and have also seen new clients elect to partner with Intalytics based in part on our ability to provide an analytical foundation upon which both real estate and marketing-focused business questions can be answered.”
Other experts interviewed for the article, including Stephen Polanski of Buxton and Nick Romito of VTS, echo Huntoon’s sentiments. “[H]ighly specific data has become increasingly critical as the industry transitions from the traditional retail model to the bricks-and-clicks hybrid, Romito says.” “The retail winners today, [Polanski] asserts, are those that take advantage of unprecedented access to data ‘to open stores in the right market with the right products, and to provide a better experience.’”
Regardless of what the next phase of brick and mortar retail’s ongoing evolution looks like, Intalytics will remain an industry constant… a trusted advisor to clients seeking robust, location-based solutions.