On the first of November, Fututec launched a brand new digital platform intended for shopping centers, which added even more functions to it’s existing software. Previously, Fututec offered shopping centers cloud-based software which already enabled them to efficiently arrange the management and maintenance of various facilities, and to digitize revenue related data and documents. The new digital platform, however, gives customers access to tools that will take shopping center management to a whole new level.

Data points that are vital for making marketing decisions on both the owner and the tenant’s end (such as overall revenue, visitor numbers, average purchase revenue and each turnover per square meter) are now available to both parties in real time. The scope of the data (day, month, week, year or day of the week) can be adjusted according to the user’s wishes. This functionality gives the tenant a good overview of the purchasing habits of their customers, allowing them to tailor their marketing strategy accordingly. The property owner, on the other hand, can use these analytics to make informed decisions about day-to-day operations and their own marketing strategy. Furthermore, data concerning the sales performance of particular tenants can clearly indicate the suitability of their current rented facilities (and the particular shopping center itself) to their purposes, and highlight any potential need for renegotiation. There’s no doubt that the use of such management systems gives the shopping center a competitive advantage in the eyes of both present and future tenants.

An entirely new and novel feature, even in the world-wide sense, is the training of shopping center employees in this same online environment. As anyone familiar with the field  can tell you, the general training (fire safety, etc.) of each new employee is a time-consuming process, and the job market’s current high turnover rate in the service sector does not help matters. The shopping center’s manager will need to organize a time and place for the training of each new employee, and also verify that the training has been completed successfully. Fututec’s software allows each employee to complete their courses online, in video form, whenever it suits them. The acquired knowledge can be evaluated with online tests, and any manuals requiring signatures can be digitally signed in the same application. Completion of the tests is reported to the manager, enabling them to issue permits and certificates accordingly.

A lot of thought has gone into the new platform’s notifications system and contact lists. For each tenant, the database contains details on the persons in charge of that company’s marketing, management, fire safety, trainings or other specific fields. The systems enables notifications to be sent to persons in charge of a specific field, or to various recipients based on other criteria. For example, notifications could be sent only to companies located within a certain physical area of the shopping center, or only to store managers. The notifications themselves can be mass-mailed, or based on other notification templates. The software will also automatically generate reminders about report deadlines or meetings, and send them to relevant persons.

One more thing to add: Fututec’s new digital management platform is also available on mobile devices.

The ability to analyze collected data quickly and comprehensively makes it possible to manage more precisely, efficiently and flexibly, and in ways that most people are not yet used to. Tomorrow, the modern shopping center will no longer be a large general store, but rather a „micro city“, where shopping is no longer the one and only main activity, but one among many other vital and non-vital ones. Managing such a structure obviously requires more numerous and more precise information sources. Next to diverse data sources, time is also a factor of extreme importance: with rising competition and lower-than-optimal employee numbers, it is no longer feasible to spend weeks on compiling reports. To stay competitive, decisions need to be made quickly. In the end, such a large data set can only be efficiently gathered, processed and modeled by an artificial intelligence.

There’s no doubt that digitalization creates extra value, gives a competitive advantage, saves time and cuts down on employee expenses. Launching modern management systems today will play a large role in deciding which shopping centers stay in business, and which ones will have to be shuttered down the line.

Olari Miiter