The company appointed Raqhav Lal to the new position of Chief Data and Analytics Officer, recruiting him from Visa. Westfield established their technology arm, Westfield Labs, a few years ago, to keep up with retailers’ expansion into the digital world. In this position, Lal will oversee the collection, analysis and dissemination of data at Westfield’s properties, both in the US and the UK and in the future, Milan. He will work alongside Kevin McKenzie, the developer’s Chief Digital Officer, who also oversees Westfield Labs, and Chief Information Technology Officer Denise Taylor, who looks after the physical technology infrastructure, like cameras and beacons, that are in the shopping centres.
Chief Data Officers are becoming increasingly common – as many as 46% of retail companies worldwide now have Chief Data Officers, which is a huge jump over the last few years (source – August report from Forrester Research). In retail, their focus is generally around analytics and strategic use of data to understand customers and in turn, personalise their shopping experience. This helps retailers optimise their multichannel experience.
Westfield can capture data from shoppers at its 7,500 retailers with technology that includes Wi-Fi, cameras and beacons that help them understand shopper behavior.
“The information is not personalized, but it can help retailers understand, for example, the capture rate of window displays, where customers spend the most time in the store, which fixtures or merchandise areas have the most engagement and which areas have higher conversion rates,” said Shelley Kohan, Vice President of Retail Consulting at RetailNext. “Combining that information with point-of-sale data makes it even more powerful and in-depth.”