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People flow dynamics in Shopping Centers and retail chains

Moscow GLA 20-40 +6% 35 2018 by 34 2018

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Roman Skorohodov: «Client trust is very important and is earned over decades»

All news > Roman Skorohodov: «Client trust is very important and is earned over decades»
Owner and President Watcom Group on trends in the development of innovative technologies for retail and shopping centers in Russia

1. How do you assess the state of the retail and commercial real estate market on the whole, based on Shopping Index data?

According to the Watcom Shopping Index, 2016 on the whole was a good year. In general, there were positive dynamics. During the year, Shopping Index was 6 times higher than in 2014 but in December there was a slight decline observed in Moscow in comparison to 2015. December figures did not meet retailers’ expectations; however in 2016 performance KPIs have exceeded the 2015 level by 3%. Shopping Index is a very accurate tool. The data is correlated with Dec’ 2016 Rosstat data which also shows a negative trend in people’s incomes compared to 2015. A small Shopping Index growth was linked in part to the fact that the visitors were going to malls in search of the best deals. The growth of this KPI was strongly influenced by the super-regional entertainment objects: Russians are tired of the crisis and have adapted to new realities.

2. Having created the shopper counting systems industry in Russia, you began to develop new directions related to the visitor flow. How do you manage that and what are targeting when creating a new branch or product within the business?

With increasing competition in the shopping center commercial real estate market, it has become necessary to benchmark with the aim of understanding our KPIs compared to the market. To create a product such as Shopping Index we used the academic resources of the Higher School of Economics and Moscow State University. The main objective was to create a tool that allows you to evaluate, as representatively as possible, fluctuations in visitor flow activity. That is why we opened Watcom Data Consulting in 2009. Clients’ needs are constantly evolving and we try to satisfy them, to help in shopping center management or in better accuracy at targeting your visitors that better meet their requests. When there was a market transition to % of turnover, there became a need to analyze POS data and so Product Sales Flow was created which gives statistics on cash register data.

3. In your opinion, why will big data and ad hoc research (focus groups, interviews) be needed in the future?

Big Data solves some business tasks; ad hoc research with different methodologies solves other tasks. I would say that the different sources form a correct understanding of visitor needs, therefore we need to correctly analyze large amounts of information, conduct other research and use automated tools and analytical systems with all the metrics for management to be able to make quick decisions. It is necessary to segment visitors, pick out your target audience and the most profitable segments in the formation of your communication strategy. At the moment very few do that and instead communicate with all visitors in the same language. However, all visitors are different and require a personalized communication approach. We live in an era of technological change, one might even say, in a revolutionary era, when we have to analyze large amounts of data. This inevitably leads to the need to create software. Our main development efforts are directed towards this - perfecting easy to use software for clients that helps to quickly analyze information and plot graphs so that the client can see the problem area and make a quick decision.

4. How much of the profit do you invest in development?

We try to invest a large part of the profits in development as it is the only way to maintain our leading position. It is no secret that any approach can be copied. Given the fact that the market has become very competitive, we have to follow the trends and needs of our clients very closely which requires new technologies and new solutions to maintain and increase our competitive advantage. Therefore, we are always looking for and developing new solutions.

5. In your opinion, what is the key to success in business?

Every entrepreneur is sure to have his own answer to this questions. Either way, it is a leader who can surround himself with talented people and create a team that the market trusts. Client trust is very important and is earned over decades.

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