Thursday, May 19, 2011

PREIT taking advantage of digital media tools

PREIT, the Philadelphia-based real estate investment trust that owns 49 retail properties, released its "roster of digital media efforts" in advance of the ICSC show in Las Vegas, which begins on Sunday.

The usual suspects - websites, Facebook pages and a Twitter account - are all there, as they should be. But what impresses me is the following:

Mobile App
PREIT is launching a free Apple iPhone application with information on each of its 40 shopping malls. The app will soon be available for the Android, Palm Pre and Blackberry.

Quick Response Codes
QR codes are a big deal these days. They're essentially bar codes on steroids. Perhaps you've seen them on signs or products; they are black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. Anyone with a smartphone can scan a QR code and boldly go where no man has gone before. Unless you've been to Japan, of course, where they've been in use since 1994.

Anyway, PREIT says they have introduced QR codes on advertisements, flyers, posters and other marketing materials for its consumer marketing programs. By scanning the codes, shoppers can receive details on fashion trends, store sales, coupons, etc.

They have also introduced the codes on leasing materials, which means real estate professionals can get instant access to aerials, leasing plans, etc. (Here at Equity Retail  Brokers we are testing the same technology.)

Apple iPads
PREIT's executives and leasing team members are currently testing Apple iPads loaded with custom apps that provide them with important facts and figures at their fingertips, not to mention the ability to bring up leasing materials during presentations.

Although I don't have an Apple iPad, I have seen firsthand how effective they are in this business. My colleague Rob Samtmann, one of the principals at Equity Retail Brokers, uses his Apple iPad on a daily basis, and it's an extremely convenient and effective tool, especially for tenant representation.

By the way, if anyone at Apple is reading this (for search purposes, I have generously and liberally inserted "Apple" in as many places as possible), I'm available to test iPhones and iPads.

See y'all in Vegas!

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