Article | Intelligent Investment

Valuable Data Retailers Should Be Tracking

May 12, 2020 4 Minute Read

Retailers have been navigating the shifting economic landscape brought about by the COVID-19 outbreak. The data collected during this unprecedented change in the economy can illustrate the effects of shutdown orders and assist retailers in developing a business continuity strategy for implementation.

Portfolio Analysis

New data points since the pandemic have caused many retailers to pivot their business. Careful analysis of the new information is necessary to optimize a retail portfolio and develop a sound recovery strategy. Combining store performance data, demographics, marketplace characteristics and financials will help retailers understand what areas are recovering after the crisis and what areas may provide opportunity for new investments. CBRE | Forum Analytics uses proprietary data and deep experience to help clients identify the right size for their businesses moving forward through economic challenges.

Useful questions to ask when optimizing a retail portfolio include the following:

  • What data should we be collecting and managing?
  • How can we assess the effects of the crisis on our portfolio?
  • What is the impact of the shift to online and mobile ordering?
  • What retail areas have changes in activity or closures that may affect my business?
  • How do we address critical issues specific to our business?
  • Where are opportunities for future expansion or growth?

This pandemic has spurred a unique period in business analysis, and additional data can provide valuable information about go-forward strategy and long-term portfolio optimization.

Rethinking Pre-COVID KPIs

The ongoing pandemic will continue to impact retailers moving forward, and adjustments will be needed over the next two years to tracking measures and other analyses. The major disruption caused by COVID-19 means that any data after February 2020 cannot be used reliably to track KPIs that were developed before the pandemic. CBRE | Forum Analytics’ team of Data Scientists helps retail clients create methods to adjust their KPIs and existing analyses to account for COVID-19 changes.

What Can the Data Tell Retailers in the Immediate and Long Term?

With multiple store closures and stay-in-place mandates, consumers are shifting to online ordering, and omnichannel data is of great significance. A smart omnichannel data and tracking strategy is important to understanding the retail customer’s behavior during this time. Brands with a strong omnichannel business rely on analytics, but for restaurants and grocery chains working with third-party vendors for delivery services, this modeling can be key to understanding your business.

Valuable Data You Should Track Over Time Include:


In the short term, there will be opportunities to analyze customer behavior and understand which customers are switching channels, as well as reaching out to customers who might be slower to return. Some consumers who are just now experimenting with delivery services may stick with those services, while others may be eager to return to in-store patterns. Tracking those trends across the business will provide the foundation to adjusting to the new normal as the crisis abates.

New Data Points to Assess Business Shifts

As business has shifted, most business owners have been collecting new data as consumers shelter-in-place. Savvy retailers need a trusted resource to turn that data into actionable insights. CBRE | Forum Analytics uses data to build models that illustrate the unique factors driving changes in today’s retail business. Predictive analytics can determine the impact online and mobile ordering, delivery, and pickup will have in one market vs another.


The graph above is an example of how a store’s new data may appear since the crisis.

Analyze Retail Activity with ShopoGraphics

ShopoGraphics is CBRE’s exclusive retail segmentation analysis, which uses advanced machine learning to analyze zones of retail activity and zones in which a brand performs best. As the U.S. begins recovery, CBRE | Forum Analytics will track permanent store closures and other changes by segment and can provide complementary analyses to understand which areas have closures and changes in activity from the COVID-19 crisis


Custom Analytics to Enable Data-Driven Decisions

The path to business recovery is evolving and unique for specific industries, sectors and brands. CBRE | Forum Analytics is here to help clients answer questions that will inform their go-forward strategy. Our Data Scientists can leverage a network of data resources and develop a customized analysis to assist retailers in their decision making and provide some clarity during these uncertain economic times.