In our latest Member’s Spotlight Interview, we sat down with Michelle Buxton, Founder & CEO of Mallcomm by Toolbox, the leading 360-degree integrated technology for real estate management and workplace community engagement: management, tenants, staff, suppliers, residents, third-party stakeholders, customers and visitors.
Michelle shares her insight into the technology behind Mallcomm and how it is used to help retail and mixed-use space, challenges and advice for aspiring women in the industry and where the industry is headed…
Congratulations for taking home the award for Service Excellence – PropTech at the UK PropTech Awards 2019! Can you provide more information on how Mallcomm by Toolbox Group exceeds expectations for their end customer?
For us – it begins and ends with the customer. We’re innovators in the real estate sector, constantly evolving our product offering. What this means for our customers is that we really understand how the real estate sector works from property management to tenant and consumer. We’re established in 22 countries worldwide and growing. Our overall service proposition is based on our global expertise. What works in one country won’t necessarily work in another. It’s about developing an understanding of their whole ecosystem to evolve digital strategies innovations which fit their requirements and can be introduced at key points in their business planning process. Because we understand the industry challenges we provide immediate solutions which turn these potential problems into competitive advantage. We pride ourselves on constantly evolving, being genuinely interested in our customer’s success and listening to what our customers need to make their job easier. Our highly experienced customer service team is available 24/7 to work alongside our clients to drive engagement, maximise the use of Mallcomm to the best advantage of the customer and work as part of their team. We don’t just sell a product, we work in partnership with our customers.
Can you share insights into the technology behind Mallcomm by Toolbox Group and how that is used to help retail and mixed-use space?
Like a digital twin, our technology provides the digital connection which enables these communities to securely embed and establish themselves.
Our technology was born out of the frustrations we had in retail in communicating messages and sharing data, but it’s evolved to be so much more. Of course, it’s always easier to have a direct conversation at source with the people you need to speak to than through a third party. But what makes the Mallcomm platform so much more meaningful for our users is the insights they can draw upon from sales data and tenant behaviours which enable them to make operational efficiencies and be responsive to real-time requirements. For us, the mixed-used destination is increasingly where we see our technology working to best advantage. It’s not just in the traditional retail shopping centre environment. Increasingly retail space is being used for a range of purposes. It’s community-based and collaborative. This means a real mix of different groups using the space in really interesting ways. If we think about a large shopping centre retail space people are shopping, dining, socialising and working. This environment provides real potential for the use of Mallcomm by businesses to create the kind of environmental culture and service offering which will elevate them above their competitors. Afterall a town centre is only as vibrant as the community who live and work in it.
What separates Mallcomm by Toolbox Group from their competitors?
Mallcomm is not just another tenant engagement provider. We stand out from our competitors because of the breadth of our experience in B2B and B2C environments. We’ve developed a platform which can be used by all asset classes. Mallcomm functionality enables users to fully understand and make sense of their internal and external environment through performance management. Whether this is sales data, KPI tracking, ticketing, operational efficiencies, resource management or consumer behaviour through to shopping patterns we can provide the data at their fingertips. Using Mallcomm, there is a tangible time-saving in doing a particular task or tasks during the working day which can lead to greater levels of productivity and for consumers means more valuable leisure time. Another key aspect we deliver is security management. The ability to enable first response communication channels is critical to effectively manage and maintain safe environments for both users and consumers to meet and work. Our technologies have proved instrumental in several recent large scale incidents involving shopping centres. Being able to quickly relay instructions and manage a situation allays fears and gives confidence to those involved in such incidents that their safety is taken seriously and is paramount.
As a Founder, CEO and woman in PropTech, are there any challenges and do you have any advice for aspiring women in the industry?
This is an exciting time to be a woman working in technology. The opportunities have never been more immediate. Like any industry at certain levels, there are blockers to reaching your full potential. But the same can be said for both men and women. I’m not going to deny that over the 20 years I’ve been in this industry there have been many times I’ve been the only woman in the boardroom or the token woman on a panel. But happily, this is changing. Whether we badge it as diversity or not if someone has the knowledge and the initiative to get on in an industry they will eventually be taken seriously. For me it’s now also about paying it forward to enable more women to have a voice in the industry as the more we can draw on the experience of many individuals then the richer our business environment and industry will become.
Lastly, where do you think the industry is headed in the next 2 – 5 years?
Increasingly we need to look to understand opportunities in other markets and how disruption has helped them to evolve. In the same way that Airbnb disrupted the accommodation market and Uber Eats the home delivery market, we need to grasp the opportunities that the change in real estate brings and develop.
Being able to easily gather and analyse data to make qualified business decisions will only continue to grow in importance. This will be especially prevalent for property management and consumer insights and we’ll see increasing levels of personalisation and the value this adds to the overall user experience.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning will continue to develop and play a key role in the PropTech sector and how we can use technology to live and work more smartly and efficiently.
360-degree integrators such as Mallcomm, will increasingly become the norm. Users will expect to be connected to a variety of resources at their fingertips because of the value add gained from the amalgamation of knowledge and time saving from an operational point of view.
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