Can retail analytics be the lifeline for ASEAN malls?
For most businesses today, data analytics provides insights needed to deliver what’s best for customers. For retail businesses, retail analytics could be the answer to recovering from the pandemic, especially since most have shifted to e-Commerce platforms, which as allowed them to reach customers beyond their physical store.
While e-Commerce saved a lot of businesses from being wiped out due to the pandemic, the same could not be said of shopping malls. Southeast Asia, home to some of the largest shopping malls in the world, was badly affected when travel restrictions and lockdowns prevented consumers from going to malls.
In Malaysia, some 300,000 employees lost their jobs due to mall closures while several malls in Singapore had to close due to COVID-19 outbreaks. Indonesian and Thai malls also suffered a similar fate but are now reopening after governments started easing movement restrictions.
Retail tenants in malls were able to build on their online presence by leveraging various e-Commerce platforms. As such, some retailers have even decided to close their physical outlets in malls and focused purely on their e-Commerce customers.
According to Market Research Reports, offline retail represents 91% of the total retail market in ASEAN and will be the dominant channel of retail sales in the foreseeable future.
In fact, compared to other regions, a majority of ASEAN consumers still prefer going to malls to spend time, try on new products and physically purchase items.
However, mall operators are unable to track daily sales or provide retail rebates and tenant support. For this to happen, malls need to have retail analytics that provides valid real-time data and important insights to make business decisions daily.
Making sense of retail analytics
Compared to e-Commerce, whereby various types of data are made available, offline retailers like malls do not have access to such data which is key to their transformation. To help mall operators to leverage technology to capture, structure, and sort real-time retail transactions, Aimazing, a Singaporean retail tech company, enables malls to access significant amounts of mall management data. This includes consumer purchasing behavior, sales, and performance can track how customers shop and why.
Aimazing’s retail analytics platform allows mall management to make data-driven decisions with complete transactional data visibility. Their proprietary technology allows mall management to seamlessly and accurately capture all transactional data in their malls without expensive integration, while their data platform provides performance and benchmarking reports, as well as the ability to customize complex recommendation engines for multiple use cases.
“We aim to enable shopping malls to support their retail tenants in making decisions by understanding data such as peak shopping periods in the malls, average basket size, best selling items, and how various categories of merchants from F&B to clothing and retail are performing in real-time,” said Jun Ting, Chief Executive Officer of Aimazing.
Jun added that this data has already been widely available to e-Commerce marketplaces but not to physical retailers and mall operators. Aimazing aims to bring physical marketplaces to a level playing field with this data visibility, as “before this, they were batting blind”.
The tech behind retail analytics
Malls will be able to have access to real-time insights as Aimazing uses a patented solution that captures and analyses offline transaction sale data within the mall to better equip mall owners and retail businesses with insights into making better-informed business decisions.
Malls will also need not worry about high upfront investments for hardware and setup as the solution is based on a subscription model.
Using technology similar to Google Translate’s image recognition, Aimazing’s hardware solution in the form of a tiny black box can be plugged into the Point of Sale (POS) systems of retail businesses.
The data from the receipts are then analyzed and organized through a machine learning engine and directly uploaded to the cloud where mall operators have direct and real-time access.
With projects live in malls in Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines, Aimazing processes three million data points a month from 1,000+ devices in the region and there is a pipeline of 10,000 devices to be implemented in the next 12 months.
Hopefully, with vaccination rates picking up in the region and with governments easing movement restrictions, malls will be able to have smoother operations. For now, retail analytics may just be the best solution for them, especially in ensuring they can keep both customers and tenants satisfied as well.