BUILDING CONNECTED ENVIRONMENTS
ART Software Group connects mixed-use retail and leisure destinations with its market leading analytics platform, Retail Advantage. After interviewing Director Gareth Jordan last year, RLI catches up with him to discuss how the business is doubling down on its mission in the unique and challenging circumstances that the world has found itself in throughout 2020.
ART Software Group is an experienced UK-based company with an international reach and they have been working with property groups and retail assets for over two decades. Their key focus and expertise is in supporting and connecting mixed-use, retail and leisure destinations through applied technology. A lot may have changed in the intervening years since they were formed, but the same concepts remain true when measuring the progress and success of these destinations – drawing value still relies upon immediate access to the right information.
“Our digital platform – Retail Advantage supports a new type of community, one with connected partners working in collaboration to achieve the best performance fuelled by up-to-date information – A truly connected retail,” explains Gareth Jordan, Director of ART Software Group. “This utilises relevant and accurate insight to help users enhance growth and develop retail and leisure communities focused on performance objectives.”
With aspects of life such as shopping, working and socialising looking much different these days, the offerings that ART Software Group provide are arguably more relevant than ever. In these difficult times, landlords, asset managers and their tenants have to work much more closely together to get results. In many of these cases, store lease agreements are being restructured and Gareth and the team are seeing an increase in the move to performance-related rental charges.
“So, what we are providing is really a live, strategic view of a constantly evolving situation. That means things like supporting retail initiatives with the right data, knowledge and communication. Creating a digital environment that gets business critical insights to where they need to be. Never has the “real” in real estate been more important and yet also held so much opportunity,” Jordan comments.
The expertise that ART offers is in helping companies to truly understand more about their business and activities through better access and a better understanding of the data. They offer a range of IT services including consultancy, project management and custom software, with their Retail Advantage platform being one of their most used solutions.
“Retail Advantage collects data from tenants through a variety of methods and brings that information together with other data such as weather, movement, traffic, staff commentary, sustainability metrics and other benchmarks to provide reporting and insights that come through 20 years of experience working with landlords and bridging the relationship between occupiers and managers to drive sales and profitability,” explains Jordan.
He continues by saying that effective destination management tools and smart data-visualisations provide the right reporting and foresight, whilst the digitisation of processes reduces friction and cuts working timelines with versatile data connection and sharing designed to create an environment working as a community.
One of the group’s USPs is the intuitive feel and operation of its software that is both simple to use and flexible. Their solutions come with a huge amount of experience and industry knowledge, providing what professionals across the industry want and need. Instead of a universal, one-size fits all approach; the group is adept at working closely with its clients and partners to create new modules or to enhance its software’s standard features so that it delivers exact needs on a project by project basis.
Jordan says that with any data, the key is getting a good return on investment on what is already available and then enhancing or supplementing that with other relevant information and insights.
For example, social media is a medium that has become even more important in the last few months as people’s daily routine has altered. He feels that it is important to assess the impact of social media and to take an understanding of these interactions and also other initiatives and correlate those with site and store performance metrics.
Whilst discussing client relationships during the interview, Jordan summarises that: “For our team, it is really important to stay in sync and maintain a close connection with people to understand where our partner businesses are now and where they are heading to continue to provide innovation and new tools as their needs evolve. This keeps us aligned with our clients and helps us grow together and I think the pandemic has only heightened the need for strong collaboration.”
Looking to the future, Jordan is looking to make the most of precious real-world experiences as much as possible and says this year was about doubling down on its mission to arm retail destinations with technology that helps them perform better and be connected in smarter ways.
“I genuinely believe that the future will benefit hugely from a connected environment full of insights that supports everyone in retail and leisure and that it will be a future that inspires competition in a positive way,” Jordan concludes.