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NRF 2016: Westfield calls for retailers to share data

Westfield is calling on retailers to share data through open source initiatives and commit to making the shopping experience better for customers.

Speaking at the NRF Big Show 2015 in New York City this week, Steven Lowy, co-chief executive officer at Westfield Corporation, said: “Businesses are beginning to realise their biggest threat isn’t one another, it’s the status quo.”

He said digital transformation is happening, not just in retail, but every industry. “The ways we connect are constantly evolving – we all know this, but why are some companies left way behind?”

He said retailers need to decide whether to continue in their data siloes or leverage the power from sharing information.

“Collaboration is the new competition,” he said. 

Lowy asked the NRF delegates to image arriving at a Westfield shopping centre in a car. “We could recognise your license plate and redirect you to the closest and most convenient parking sport,” he said. “And as you walk inside, we could use your recent browsing history to curate a personal shopping experience just for you based on retailers you love and products you’re shopping for. Then we could guide you not to just the store, but the product you’re looking for.”

But he said retailers cannot do this on their own. “All this is possible when we leverage the power of our shared data – geolocation, browsing habits, online activity, we can make the most of this data in real time.

“Data sharing is not about moving customers from one retailer to another, but building the best customer experience. And when the customer is happy we all stand to benefit.”

And this type of customer experience is not just Westfield anticipating the future, Lowy said the company is already building the infrastructure in its Westfield Labs initiative that launched in San Francisco three years ago. 

“Change is a team sport,” he added. “And we’re committed to building better partnerships to help us win in both the physical and digital game.”