Experienced software house ART Software Group builds industry leading platforms through a combination of cutting edge technology and innovation rooted in retail. Here, RLI speaks with Director Gareth Jordan about their platform Retail Advantage and how smart tools are supporting destinations to enrich value for customers, brand partners and investors during the pandemic and beyond.

Over the turbulent past 18 months, ART Software Group doubled down on its mission to empower people with practical connections through technology, arming professionals with high-quality data to drive beneficial strategies unique to each retail and leisure destination.
During this time, Jordan feels that people-centric places have never felt so crucial, and the company has been supporting placemakers to create, connect, reinvigorate and manage retail and leisure destinations through intelligent tools.
Their key PropTech solution, Retail Advantage, provides powerful reporting methods and insights to help people manage, better understand and improve performance for sites, streets or stores.
“The lines between shops, workspaces, wellness, eating out and entertainment are blurring more than ever before which generates even more questions that need to be explored and answered. This is achieved efficiently and quickly through analytics,” explains Gareth Jordan, Director at ART Software Group.
“We have been part of this journey for some fantastic new locations this year such as St James Quarter in Edinburgh, who are doing things right by being forward thinking and incredibly proactive when it comes to data and decision making and we are delighted to be working with them on such an iconic scheme,” says Jordan.

Retail and leisure in combination are experiencing a moment of rediscovery, and ART’s part has been to support placemakers through it and to help them utilise more refined data to further understand and influence the trajectory of each destination’s potential.
“Today’s investors and brand partners are asking for more. Different destinations have different priorities and each strategy needs to be supported. From increasing store revenues and repeat visits to overall density, we work with site teams and asset managers to tailor the metrics being monitored and power them with reports that establish the best routes to achieve specific targets,” says Jordan.
In recent times the business has been doing a lot more direct consultancy and working very closely with sites to unlock better data capture and comparative analysis. Their experience in innovation puts them in a prime position to understand and improve processes and assist with best practice approaches to grow brand partner engagement.
Since its inception, Retail Advantage has built on tenant engagement with flexible communication and adaptive reports tailored to brand partners or specific categories for market intelligence. “Retail Advantage was born in data-rich environments such as Designer Outlets and so it is here that the company has seen the most change, yet in many ways, they have been doing things right for a long time,” says Jordan.
Anand Basu-Attwood, Commercial Operations Manager at Resorts World comments on his personal experience of the impact of the solution for Realm, whose holistic strategy and presence in Outlets and across the retail and leisure property sector has seen great successes over the last 20 years.

St James Quarter
St James Quarter, Edinburgh, UK

“We use data daily to help and nurture our brand partners with a 360-degree picture of how they trade in comparison to others in their category, the centre trading averages and comparisons to other locations within our portfolio. Our management style is collaborative and supportive, it helps tremendously that Realm staff are predominantly from a retail background meaning that we see our role as collaborators. Sharing the results and insights we get from Retail Advantage makes us leaders rather than managers or simple custodians, there is a much greater sense of proactivity and not relying on chance when making important decisions.” The Retail Advantage platform has been particularly beneficial for the changing needs of mixed-use developments that are testing and implementing new activities and lease structures. Jordan feels there has been an upswing in a trend towards the appeal of local lifestyle with sites tapping into independents, onsite events or bringing in ideas from what’s around them, capitalising on local offerings and nearby attractions as a resource. He goes on to say that introducing the right leisure components and meaningful experiences to serve the new customer’s needs also requires analytics to nurture the balance. “People managing mixed-use developments are using Retail Advantage to help meet the challenges and opportunities unique to this moment with an analytical approach. With our digital management tools and the data to back-up decisions, managers are in a better position to make the fast moves needed to repurpose space or refine the location and mix of brands, food offerings and leisure.”
Looking towards the end of this year and next, ART is working to help their clients to enter 2022 stronger than ever, ensuring that they all progress through a time that is constantly in a state of flux. Excited by the rapidly growing appetite for technology and increased awareness of how seamless it can be, Gareth and ART are dedicated to delivering tools that are intuitive but also tailored to help each real-world destination to be the best it can be.
“Well-performing destinations prioritise digital strength so we are pleased to be bringing Retail Advantage into even more schemes that are looking to achieve ROI at store and portfolio level whilst scaling up multichannel and making use of more quality data. Connection and community are not only part of the conversation with consumers, they are integral for the retail and leisure teams, property groups and tenants to reveal collaborative paths.”