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Why shopping malls should invest in data visualization now

/images/blog/shopping-mall-data.jpg April 2021

5 min

Shopping Mall Data

Compiling data on shopping malls is not a new task. Most mall owners can readily quote statistics on revenue and rent per square meter as well as building utility and maintenance costs. While these statistics are no doubt useful, they aren’t particularly helpful when thinking about what kinds of stores to recruit for empty spaces, which stores benefit from being clustered together, or how mall layout can contribute to footfall patterns and visitor traffic.

To gain deeper insights, many mall owners will employ third-party operating teams to gather information and prepare customized reports on a monthly basis. These reports can require as much as ten man-days each month, as operators visit sites, collect store-level data, and determine the best way to marry up the two. The end result is a series of eye-watering excel spreadsheets or colorful graphs, which present the data but don’t make it very accessible.

Mall owners who are accustomed to viewing rows and columns of numbers may be surprised to find out that their lack of data visualization tools is causing them to leave money on the table. The ability to view relevant mall data over site-specific indoor maps can help owners and their sales teams identify patterns and increase revenue.

Retail stores are already using these types of insights

Major retailers have long been focused on store design, customer experience, and increasing revenue per visit, but now even the smallest shops are getting involved with the trend. Retailers are constantly analysing their data and reviewing footfall patterns to determine store layout, which promotions best pair together, and how to use the physical space to convey their brand attributes. Because of the flexibility of their indoor space, layout and floor design are a fundamental part of their success equation. Retailers know better than anyone how moving one department to another area of a store or changing up the displays at the front entrance can increase or decrease customer engagement and sales.

Datavisualization insights can increase revenue and profitability for shopping malls

Although shopping malls have much less flexibility when it comes to moving stores from one area to another, map-based data visualization can still be equally valuable. Malls have the opportunity to marry up separate store insights to provide a better picture of which combinations provide the most overall benefit for the shopping center. Here are some examples of the opportunities indoor map-based data visualization can provide.

Using datavisualization to reduce vacancy

Keeping store space rented isn’t important just for the mall owners. It is of equal value to the other stores in the shopping center. Having a space sit empty for an extended period not only looks bad to shoppers, it can also lead to a reduction in foot traffic. As the sales team looks at contract end dates and prepares for upcoming vacancies, they can benefit from having the right tools to show prospects which shops and stalls are available and the metrics of the other stores in the vicinity. Having a visual view of the data overlaid on an indoor map can help the sales team command the best possible rent price for each space.

Using datavisualization to drive footfall and overall profitability

While each shop in the mall will worry about their own foot traffic, it is of critical importance to the mall owners that no area in the mall is left behind. If traffic drops in one area, it can lead to an unintended erosion in rent prices. Malls have a variety of options to push customers into specific areas of the shopping center, including tools like multi-store coupons, advertising highlighting specific stores or amenities, or by adding some attractive brands in key spaces.

Although this center-wide foot traffic data is typically available, not having the right representation to view it is usually the bottleneck. By combining the power of data representation tools like Tableau over an indoor map, the insights are much easier to identify.

Using datavisualization to create new revenue streams

Seasonal displays, special event spaces and temporary stalls all offer shopping centers additional opportunities for revenue. The challenge is to determine the best placement for these floating display areas. Data visualization over an indoor map can make this task easier, by helping to identify low foot traffic zones which could use a lift or which stores might best complement the display.

Combining data visualization with indoor maps has never been easier

Given all the benefits mall owners can see by viewing their data on indoor maps, the question is why more haven’t done so already. Up until recently, attempting to create this combination of visuals required clunky overlays that were more trouble than they were worth.

Thanks to the newly launched Mapwize extension for Tableau, visualizing data on indoor maps has never been easier. Simply use Mapwize Studio to design your maps, or import a CAD file and start from there. Once your map is ready, you can add the Mapwize extension to Tableau and select which map to use when viewing your selected Tableau data.

Additional uses for Mapwize indoor maps

Once you’ve created your Mapwize indoor maps, you can take advantage of the wider indoor mapping tools we offer, such as adding wayfinding capabilities to your indoor displays, shopping center website, and apps. For more information on how indoor maps and wayfinding are used in shipping centers, visit our shopping mall solutions page.

Médéric MOREL's photo


Médéric MOREL, CEO & Co-founder

Médéric is a serial entrepreneur with 25-years experience in the field of Information Technologies. He has written five books about IT performance, IT architecture and complexity management. He is also a regular speaker at numerous international conferences. Médéric is a recognized expert in the field of digital services for smart buildings.