Clicks to Bricks: How PropTech Drives Retail Success Onsite

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For landlords determining whether to invest in proptech for tenants, here’s a positive side effect you may have not considered that can impact net operating income (NOI):

When office buildings implement a tenant experience platform, onsite retailers can experience an immediate increase in awareness, foot traffic, loyalty, and sales.


As you may have heard, our team recently launched with Jamestown’s Innovation and Design Building, where we saw impressive download numbers and drove strong engagement, week over week, right out of the gate. The IDB has an impressive roster of onsite retailers – some of which are housed in shipping containers – and one of our goals is to drive excitement and loyalty back to the building retailers, giving tenants special deals and promotions if they frequent these local spots. 


For our first few “launch” activities, we worked with Jamestown to bring in outside amenity partners to give tenants a special treat, something they’re not used to getting at work – think free coffee from Espresso Dave, or Belgian waffles from Zinneken’s food truck. Nothing drives buzz and energy around an office like free, delicious food that looks like this (Instagram story from an IDB tenant): 


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These types of experiences are great activation events for us – we quickly sold out of these offerings, which meant hundreds of tenants got a really quick crash course on the benefits of HqO, what they could expect from the app on a daily or weekly basis, and how to use the app. We could observe how tenants navigated and discovered experiences in the app, and could also provide quick tutorials for any tenants who were unfamiliar with some of the common app behaviors within our app. 



After the initial buzz around these activation events, we had tenant attention in-app and could start to drive excitement around amenities that they already have access to day in and day out thanks to Jamestown. Prior to launch, we spoke with onsite retailers to learn the typical patterns they see with tenants and discussed how our app and engagement strategy could build upon existing success or improve any slower period for sales. At the IDB, we immediately got to work testing out the ways we can bolster retail success.


Drive Awareness, Foot Traffic and Loyalty 

One of the biggest challenges for retailers is rising above the noise, especially in a city where customers have so many options to choose from throughout their workday. We all get into certain daily routines and for onsite retailers hoping to tap into the tenant market within their building, they need to grab attention, give a reason to shake up a routine, and delight from the get-go.  


We partnered with The Farmacy Cafe, an organic quick serve restaurant in a shipping container, to offer a free superfood smoothie to the first 50 tenants who claimed the deal in the HqO app. 



This simple offering was a great way for The Farmacy Cafe to reach out to tenants and stay top of mind with a delicious treat that tenants might not otherwise think to sample. That’s 50 more tenants who now have experienced one of their most popular menu items and will be more likely to consider waiting until they get to work to buy a smoothie for breakfast. 


Incentivize and Move Inventory

Our app is a great way for onsite retailers to incentivize a less likely purchase or clear inventory that they want to move faster. For instance, we partnered with Triangle Coffee, a coffee shop in another onsite shipping container, to incentivize purchase of high-end retail coffee beans.


Triangle Coffee is known for bringing some of the best coffee to the IDB, and this simple promotion offered any tenant with the HqO app a free hot coffee or cold brew if they purchased coffee beans to take home. 



Now, so many tenants already hit up Triangle to get their caffeine fix, but they probably don’t think to purchase beans for home when they’re scrambling before work or in between meetings. This deal encourages them to have that high-end flavor experience at home, while still giving them the afternoon pick-me-up that brings them there in the first place. 


Tease New Retail and Drive Excitement

One of the biggest challenges for new retailers and restaurants is driving excitement before a grand opening to ensure that day/week 1 kicks off with a bang. Many in the restaurant industry will tell you that it’s not enough to just open – you have to launch and build up excitement over weeks or months. Excitement builds by meeting and greeting your potential customers, getting their feedback and preferences, and giving them a little taste of what they can expect when you do open.


So, we partnered with Gelato and Chill to do just that. The new gelato shop in a shipping container is opening this month, but we handed out delicious samples to the first 300 tenants with the HqO app. By sending push notifications and listing it as a special event for tenants, Gelato and Chill was able to tailor an invite for the IDB community to get acquainted with their artisanal gelato. Tenants were so excited to sample it on a warm Spring day, and the retailer was pumped to see hundreds of tenants line up to taste their goods weeks before they open.   



As always, our attention is 100% on improving the tenant experience. But it was incredibly satisfying to witness that by placing such intent focus on the tenant, we also benefit onsite retailers. It’s a great byproduct that makes even more stakeholders pleased with the results of our tenant experience platform.




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