The ICSC Blog

The Emergence of Mobile-Based Shopper Research

By: Stephanie Shriver-Engdhal, Vice President of Digital Strategy at Forest City Enterprises

Many moons ago, shopping center industry leaders would daydream about tapping into the brains of their customers – what were they thinking? Where were they going? Why didn’t they walk over here, or over there?

While we may still not be able to (technically) read a shopper’s mind, there are emerging technologies available allowing for shopping center management to gather data providing important insights into visitor and customer behavior. These technologies don’t  just spit out numbers on foot traffic or where your center’s “cold spot” is, but enable you to take the data, analyze it and  make your center the most profitable it can be.

Path Intelligence (link is such a technology. It uses aggregate data gathered on consumer behavior for bricks-and-mortar retail environments, much like website analytics are used for the online shopping experience. By passively and anonymously monitoring mobile device signals, the retailers and shopping centers that utilize Path Intelligence can paint a picture of customer movement in a retail environment.

But once the data is gathered, what can you learn from it?

  • Patterns: What are common customer paths? You might find that a high percentage of shoppers follow a common trail around your center, hitting all five of your children’s stores. This happens often, so market to them accordingly on that path.
  • Vacancy and Leasing Intelligence: Arm your leasing agents with the data gathered to fill vacancies and increase monthly rent based on real data – creating a more profitable property.
  • Tenant Performance: If an anchor tenant is thriving, but shoppers aren’t venturing deeper into the center, consider what retailers are located outside the anchor. If the anchor’s customer and the neighboring retailers aren’t similar, there will be a natural traffic break and the opportunity for additional sales can be lost.

Armed with this data we can optimize our shopping centers. We become more knowledgeable about our customers and, in turn, make their shopping experience the best it can be.

If you’re interested in learning more about Path Intelligence and how the platform can help your property, visit RECon’s  #iTechLounge 2.0 on Tuesday, May 21 at 3p.m. for “1 Shopper, 2 Shopper, 3 Shopper… Stop Counting Shoppers, the Emergence of Mobile-Based Shopper Research,” hope to see you there!


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