Better Out Than In: How External Spaces Saved Regional Retail

Kevin Cavilla, CTO of Location Live, launches signature report – The LO:DOWN 1.0 – unveiling the ways in which retail evolved in the wake of the pandemic

The way we congregate and gather has changed immeasurably over the past two years, and our favourite brands have taken note. With the British Retail Consortium reporting that retail footfall on UK high streets fell by 24.2% in January 2022 from two years prior, and external spaces taking up the majority of locations booked by brands in 2021, creative agencies and global brands had to reassess how they reached their consumer base ahead of product launches.

Location Live – the UK’s premier location scouts for marketing campaigns – revolutionised the experiential space industry by digitising the marketplace with the launch of their lo:live platform in 2020. Enabling landlords, brands and creative agencies to engage in ultra-efficient direct transactions, their AI-backed search-and-book tools reduce brand activation planning time from weeks down to minutes, helping clients to plan their campaigns effectively during a period of time in which our access to space was greatly restricted. Through their data analysis, lo:live found that 66% of all spaces booked in 2021 were outdoor locations.

Location Live has now published these never-before-seen proprietary statistics in a report titled THE LO:DOWN 1.0, using over 20 million individual pieces of data collected from the lo:live digital platform on a real-time basis throughout the year across 350 distinct locations UK-wide, which offered more than 1,000 experiential spaces. The report serves as an industry-first insight into how global brands responded to the pandemic, as well as how commercial landlords sold their spaces in a time in which the retail industry experienced unprecedented turbulence. From the report, lo:live found that the annual inventory value of the portfolio being analysed was over £400 million (live and in preparation for bookings) which served as inventory for over 800 platform users.

How Location Live is changing the industry

By creating an experience for the consumer, brands and agencies can create true impact by making their marketing immersive, memorable, and worthwhile for consumers through the utilisation of experiential marketing without the unnecessary time spent scouting and searching manually for the perfect venue to do it in.

Kevin Cavilla, Chief Technology Officer at Location Live, explains why this data will transform the planning of experiential space campaigns:

‘The purpose of lo:live was to radically expand the marketplace by taking the complexity out of the location search-and-book process in experiential marketing. lo:live removes transactional barriers and cuts out unnecessary intermediaries and mark-ups. However, we also knew when we were designing the architecture of this intelligent ‘self-service’ platform how powerful lo:live would be as window into the marketplace and the very pulse of campaign planning. lo:live captures UK-wide data from real-time transactions so that the platform’s AI-powered analytics can filter the data for insights into emerging space trends, supply and demand indicators, and market behaviour by industry sector and target consumer demographics.

Like the lo:live platform itself, the activity data is unbiased and acts as an impartial witness to industry planning perceptions and mindset. Moreover, the data is crystal clear and unambiguous, because lo:live transactions are direct, frictionless and transparent. For example, during the pandemic we quickly identified an emerging ‘hyper-local’ phenomenon where brand activation campaigns were reoriented to touchpoints closer to consumers. We immediately became aware of the move to outdoor locations with larger spaces for engagement which challenged landlords to respond to the trend and activate parts of their portfolio previously under the radar of this media.

In these situations, we are able to alert to our clients to these shifts in demand so they can make fully data-backed decisions when searching for space. Landlords benefit by being aware of these realignments and how to price inventory in response. With our data-driven report we are sharing these insights with the broader marketplace as a compass for them to validate their campaign planning direction and baseline strategies, or realign them as necessary. Everyone wins when the market is better informed and more efficient. Call it a digital “democratisation” of the industry.’

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