Real Clear Software Blog Post
Real Estate Software Helps Retailers Optimize Site Selection Process, Performance
In the 2016 movie “The Founder,” McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc (played by Michael Keaton) experiences a professional epiphany when he’s advised that he’s not in the hamburger business, but in the real estate business. This paradigm shift in perspective transforms Kroc from the struggling fast food franchise salesman he was into the billionaire empire builder he ultimately became.
In fact, the real estate aspect of any retail operation can be a significant determining factor for any retail company’s success. Where a store is situated, its neighboring tenants, and how the site is managed can be just as important as product mix, customer service, pricing, and marketing to long-term profitability.
The two biggest barriers to selecting great locations can also be strong sources of competitive advantage: data and speed.
The sheer amount of data available on consumer preferences, demographics, transportation patterns, and ultimately the path to purchase can be overwhelming. The key is converting all the raw data into usable insight and looking at the right metrics that correlate with store profitability. This is often easier said than done, as every company is unique.
Any successful retailer knows the importance of securing the best locations before competitors. However, real estate teams often can’t move quickly enough because of various time-consuming aspects of the job: chasing down information from brokers, culling through long PDF reports to find relevant data, juggling tasks in multiple disparate software systems, and orchestrating the site review and selection process with stakeholders who have very different goals and communication styles.
A new software company is helping take real estate team productivity, site selection, and performance measurement to new heights. Real Clear Software (RCS), headquartered in Newport Beach, Calif., has developed commercial real estate productivity and decision support that helps companies work seamlessly with brokers and internal stakeholders to choose the optimal sites for their retail operations and, once opened, find new ways to continuously improve profitability. Their platform, RCS Portfolio, centralizes all corporate real estate processes and data from current stores, 3rd parties, and other internal systems to help multi-location retailers get more value out of their real estate investments.
Real Clear Portfolio enhances and accelerates key real estate processes:
- Site Selection and Submittal Tracking. RCS Portfolio takes a company’s site selection criteria and streamlines broker site submittals and communications. The application creates a weighted score for each site submitted and prioritizes the locations that meet the company’s standards and have a high likelihood of success. No more receiving hundreds of emails from brokers with irrelevant sites or in markets that aren’t top priority. In addition, PCS Portfolio tracks all facets of the lease, purchase negotiation, documentation, and projects to help companies go from signing to store opening as smoothly as possible.
- Store Level Improvements. RCS Portfolio helps companies identify the location attributes that correlate the most with overall financial performance. For example, it might be Yelp scores, co-tenants with complementary products, or store signage during targeted consumer’s peak commute time from work. RCS Portfolio compares these attributes to all locations to surface operational areas for value-add actionable improvements (i.e. additional staff, new signage, operating hours, or even the markets you operate in). The application also surfaces trends and KPI variances, enabling companies to proactively detect problems before they arise.
- Capital Allocations and Property Maintenance. The feature allows companies to optimally manage financial and operational aspects for their retail real estate portfolios by centralizing lease terms, concessions, broker information, and expenses. All information is available with the click of a button.
- Transaction and Portfolio Management. The software provides a single source of information companies can access to follow every step of their real estate transactions from concept to closing.
- Task Management and Accountability. Who at the company is responsible for what? Which vendors are on different projects? What are the specific tasks they’re assigned to accomplish? By what deadlines? The application maintains all this key information in a single source to ensure that everyone in a retail real estate department remains accountable and informed to make decisions.
RCS Portfolio offers a customized dashboard that allows the user to identify the real estate KPI’s by which the company measures its success. Predictive analytics and data confirmation allow the company to measure the performance of each retail location based on the metrics and criteria the company chooses.