Improving the customer experience in retail: Bringing big data to small users

Infographic-website_900x900IPM is part of a new £1m consortium, co-funded by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, which will improve the customer experience on the UK High Street.

The project, led by retail intelligence specialists (Springboard), is a partnership between IPM and retail and IS researchers (Manchester Metropolitan University), big data and computing experts (Cardiff University), technology designers and usability experts (MyKnowledgeMap), retail property owners/managers (BCSC, New River Retail and National Association of British Market Authorities), retailers and pop-up (National Market Traders Federation and PinPointer), High Streets (Ayr, Ballymena, Bristol, Congleton, Holmfirth, Morley and Wrexham) and policy experts (Association of Town and City Management). Continue reading “Improving the customer experience in retail: Bringing big data to small users”

Working together for stronger towns

Oxford_High_Street_shoppersby Prof Cathy Parker

On the 4th July 2016 I was invited to take part in the inaugural Oxfordshire High Streets Conference.  I  am saying inaugural as the delegates found the day very useful so we hope there will be another one! As a place management scholar, there is nothing better than sharing place insight and debating its relevance, in a local context. As a researcher, I get to know a lot about problems and I get to know my data intimately.   But, my work tends to be read by academics and other people who also focus on the data/problem side of things.  This means I don’t always connect with the people who want to put our research findings into practice.  To get the opportunity to present our research on footfall signatures at the event was especially rewarding.  Having the chance to hear directly from representatives of towns that feel their centre’s profile is changing from one of comparison shopping to one that is more focused on community retail and services, for example, was really useful.  I got a chance to take part in the important debate about what this change means ‘on the ground’, in terms of managing the offer, attracting the right type of businesses, changing opening hours and communicating all these changes in the community. Continue reading “Working together for stronger towns”

Using data from geo-tagging to map the Happy City

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by Irina Shafranskaya*

Photo-sharing is currently becoming a huge part of social media activity. Several applications, with Instagram the most popular among them, represent people’s emotions. Such data pose new challenges for city data analysts as a lot of pictures are geo-tagged. City representation via images is not a new topic; it seems to us that Antonioni was one of the first with his “Blow-up”, who tried to catch the place by a camera click in his 1966 film Blowup. The digital era just brings new insights – as Ames and Naaman (2007) argued. Instagram covers additional aspects of this representation as sociality and functionality – we geo-tag places to give a special social signal of the places’ livability and share our emotional state-of-the-moment. Continue reading “Using data from geo-tagging to map the Happy City”

How squatted areas become ‘normalised’ city elements: place branding, place marketing, and the law

Photo source: News Øresund - Peter Mulvany ©
Christiania. Photo source: News Øresund – Peter Mulvany ©

by Jenny Kanellopoulou* & Nikos Ntounis**

“Squatting” in an urban context is more often than not associated with groups of people occupying a place in order to claim rights and liberties outside the realms of “mainstream” society. There is no doubt that the residents and occupiers of these places are operating outside the law, outside municipal or state regulation, and even outside the aesthetics prescribed by the “mainstream” they wish to avoid. What happens however, when the mainstream-disturbing squat acquires a “brand” of its own and moves beyond the borders of nuisance to become a well-known attraction? Continue reading “How squatted areas become ‘normalised’ city elements: place branding, place marketing, and the law”

Improving tourism sector standards in Russia

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by Danielle Allen*

For a number of years I worked with Professor Howard L Hughes on cultural tourism projects that focused on live entertainment in UK seaside resorts and later on culture as a tourist resource in CEE countries. This led to my involvement in a project to improve tourism sector standards in Russia.

So, for the past 3 years, myself and fellow academics in my department have been a partner in NETOUR, (Network for Excellence in Tourism through Organizations and Universities in Russia) – a European Union, Tempus funded project with a budget of over one million Euros. NETOUR’s main objective has been to encourage a sustainable change in research and education in tourism management within Russian Universities. Ending in October 2015, the project aimed to enhance effective relations between universities, the tourism sector, and governments, and successfully supported the development of new tourism programmes in Russian Universities. Continue reading “Improving tourism sector standards in Russia”

Help us improve place management data and decision making for you. New MMUBS research study needs your expertise

Decision-making

How is data informing town-centre decisions?

[If you are interested in taking part in this research then please email Dr Costas Theodoridis for more details.]

Everyday, place managers make numerous decisions of micro and macro level importance. From deciding the optimum time for street cleaning to developing local economic strategy, the job of ensuring a town centre thrives in such a complex environment is a very complicated one.

In a new study, funded by Manchester Metropolitan University and supported by the Institute of Place Management, Dr Costas Theodoridisand Dr Oliver Kayas aim to understand how place managers make decisions by exploring the process and the content of their decision-making. They will explore what data place managers use to inform their decisions and how they transform that data into knowledge that can become intellectual capital for their town centres. In doing so, they will also investigate the analytical skills place managers possess and identify any areas that need supporting, across the sector as a whole.

Finally, the study will identify opportunities for partnership and collaboration between place managers (as data end-users), industry and public sector (as data providers).

Absolute confidentiality is guaranteed – but your participation will help improve town-centre decision making and ensure more evidence is available to support you in the future.


If you are interested in taking part in this research then please email Dr Costas Theodoridis for more details.

 

Can we provide more accurate predictors of footfall than catchment alone?

Bauman street, Kazan. ken by Robert Broadie on 13 November, 2005.
Bauman street, Kazan. ken by Robert Broadie on 13 November, 2005.

by Prof Cathy Parker*

Continuing on the theme of identifying research questions for our Improving the Customer Experience in Town Cenres: Bringing Big Data to Small Users project, we are wondering whether we can start to predict footfall in a particular location.

With more retail sales moving on-line and out-of-town then traditional catchment areas or numbers may need updating. In fact, in HSUK2020, Millington, Ntounis, Parker and Quin (2015) found that local resident population was a better predictor of footfall in smaller locations than catchment statistics. We like footfall as a measure as it concentrates on actual attractiveness (the number of people a retail centre actually attracts) rather than ‘potential’ attractiveness (catchment).
We will develop an improvement on existing methods of identifying catchment by providing a new method of predicting footfall (consisting, initially, of those components identified in HSUK2020, i.e., geographical location, location of nearest stronger centre, resident population, employment, tourism and vacancy rates). Continue reading “Can we provide more accurate predictors of footfall than catchment alone?”

How does weather impact upon footfall?

rainby Prof Cathy Parker*

Bad weather can impact on footfall, especially in traditional open retail centres like the High Street. During traditional peaks like Easter, bad weather can reduce footfall by around 5% according to Springboard who collect footfall data in retail centres across the UK. But good weather doesn’t impact as positively on retail footfall as consumers often find other things to do when the sun shines – like visiting the seaside, parks and other attractions. Continue reading “How does weather impact upon footfall?”

Multifunctional Centres: a sustainable role for town and city centres

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By Rept0n1x – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7475787

by Dr Steve Millington, Nikos Ntounis, Prof Cathy Parker and Simon Quin

Executive summary [You can download the full report from the IPM site]

Whilst omni-channel retailing and the digital high street may be two of the latest talking points in the retail property industry, our towns and city centres have always been shape by a series of technological, social and political revolutions. The purpose of this report is to examine how, after many years of mono-functionality focused upon retailing, our centres are experiencing something of a renaissance, and remerging as multi-functional ones, supporting leisure and recreation, employment, tourism, heritage, culture, housing, employment, education, health and wellbeing, as well as retail. Continue reading “Multifunctional Centres: a sustainable role for town and city centres”

What different town types are emerging in the multi-channel era?

1200px-Shoppers_on_Dundas,_near_Yonge
By Ian Muttoo – originally posted to Flickr as Alone / TogetherUploaded using F2ComButton, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8808073

by Prof Cathy Parker*

Our ‘Bringing Big Data to Small Users‘ project is funded by Innovate UK, the UK Goverment’s innovation agency,to improve the customer experience of town centres and traditional retail areas, such as high streets and markets. The project will do this by bringing new research and insight directly to key stakeholders in locations – such as retailers and other businesses, property owners, local councils and place managers. The project is led by retail data specialists Springboard, who are the sector leaders in collecting footfall data in retail and other locations.

Continue reading “What different town types are emerging in the multi-channel era?”