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Technology assisting UK shopping centres in a post-Covid world

By Danielle Wightman-Stone

Jun 22, 2020

Retail

London - Capital and Regional, the UK’s leading owner-manager of community shopping centres, with locations in London, Luton, and Maidstone, has developed and launched a new technology in partnership with Sensormatic Solutions, for its ShopperTrak solution to monitor and help control individual centre occupancy levels in real-time.

The ability to monitor shopper numbers has become a “priority” for all retail landlords as government lockdown measures are gradually eased, explained Capital and Regional in a statement, and it is using its own management software together with ShopperTrak traffic insights technology to help keep shoppers and staff safe.

The pilot project is being implemented in six of Capital and Regional’s UK shopping centres and will allow shopping centre general managers to track peak and non-peak trading times and compare it to historical data, informing the companies green-amber-red ‘Traffic Light System’ already being used in each centre to maintain clear and consistent communication with its communities about the safest times to shop.

The partnership applies real-time occupancy data which has become an essential function as a result of Covid-19 and allows centre teams to accurately assess and control guest flows, as well as improve discussions with its retailer customers regarding centre occupancy trends.

Capital and Regional has worked with the ShopperTrak team to extend the capabilities of the technology by putting IT infrastructure in place so that its general managers receive real-time SMS alerts as the centre nears maximum capacity, and again once the centre has reached maximum capacity. The development of a software solution involving real-time notifications will enable shopping centre teams to “remain agile throughout the day and continue to adapt daily operations efficiently and effectively - in line with the latest government guidance on social distancing”.

Capital and Regional partners with Sensormatic Solutions to launch capacity monitoring technology in shopping centres

Sara Jennings, director of guest and customer experience, Capital and Regional said: “Our teams have been working around the clock in recent weeks to ensure each of our centres are as prepared as possible for the re-opening of many of our retailers. We are so pleased to be able to welcome back retail customers and guests and realise that there is continual work to be done and diligence required to ensure everyone returning to our centres feels as safe as possible.

“A core part of this is ensuring that our centre teams have the tools and infrastructure to effectively manage occupancy levels, which is why we have worked with ShopperTrak to develop a software that notifies general managers in real-time, as and when centres reach capacity. We are aware of how quickly circumstances can change, and with this new addition to our centre-management function we are able to remain agile and continue to adapt our operations quickly to create safe places for our communities.”

Nick Pompa, general manager, EMEA regional business, Sensormatic Solutions added: “During this challenging and critical time for retail property, we are working closely with the industry to help deliver shopping experiences that are both safe and frictionless while providing safety that is reassuringly visible but executed as seamlessly as possible – a feat that is only achievable through collaboration and well-applied data. Achieving these newly accelerated demands on retail property will be key in reassuring shoppers and regaining footfall into the future.”

In addition to using technology, Capital and Regional have also added extra precautionary measures to keep shoppers and staff safe, including enhanced deep cleaning and sanitising stations at key locations, arrows and signage in common areas to encourage directional flow and a ‘keep left’ discipline, as well as providing distancing reminders, limiting the numbers of people in toilet facilities, escalators, stairs and lifts at any one time, as well as the removal of most public seating to discourage congregation and close contact.

Capital and Regional owns seven shopping centres in Blackburn, Hemel Hempstead, Ilford, Luton, Maidstone, Walthamstow and Wood Green.

Images: courtesy of Capital and Regional