Vicinity Centres accelerates turnaround of leasing and media contracts with Adobe Acrobat Sign

People shopping in mall.

Image Source: Vicinity Centres.

In recent years, shopping centre operators have explored new ways of delivering leading customer experiences while capturing a greater share of consumers’ wallets and leisure time. To compete with entertainment and e-commerce alternatives, it has become increasingly important that they make the most of every potential consumer touchpoint.

One of Australia’s leading retail real estate companies, Vicinity Centres (Vicinity), is at the forefront of creating unique, relevant community experiences to attract shoppers and build lasting relationships. Vicinity manages more than 60 shopping centres across the country, including seven DFO factory outlet centres, and Chadstone — The Fashion Capital, Australia’s largest retail destination with more than 550 stores and millions of annual visitors.

In support of its retail partners, Vicinity is focused on helping merchants and marketers present more interesting and enjoyable offerings to shoppers. For emerging brands looking to get a foothold in physical retail, or products and services that are particularly timely, Vicinity offers a Casual Mall Leasing program, which offers short-term leases on smaller pop-up shops and kiosks. To capture the attention of shoppers at the critical point of purchase, the company also offers a Retail Media program featuring advertising opportunities in common mall areas that include large banners and screens, door and floor decals, building wraps, and event sponsorships.

With an accelerating rotation of fresh merchandise concepts and media content, Vicinity needed operational procedures that could scale, providing a level of service and ease to deal with that could give it a competitive advantage and improve the experience of its partners. To streamline its process for generating and signing contracts, particularly for its higher-volume Casual Mall Leasing and Retail Media programs, the company found an ideal solution in Adobe Acrobat Sign.

Scaling to meet shopper needs faster

Vicinity implemented Adobe Acrobat Sign when its existing reservation management platform for merchants and advertisers reached its end of life. “We were looking for a solution that could provide our customers with an easy but reliable way to deal with us,” says David Harry, senior manager for core information systems at Vicinity Centres. “The old process of printing and scanning documents was labor-intensive for our salespeople. In addition, they lacked transparency on where in the process contracts might be held up after they went out for signature.”

Harry’s team investigated options that would integrate with Vicinity’s Salesforce CRM to further digitise and automate the process. After assessing a number of options, the company pursued Adobe Acrobat Sign due to its close fit to required use cases. “Adobe Acrobat Sign integrates well with the Salesforce platform,” explains Harry. “It also ticks off the requirements we had for merging with our quotes and bookings information in Conga Composer and streamlining processes so salespeople can send out contracts and get them signed in an entirely digital workflow.”

Vicinity worked with Adobe Consulting Services and a Salesforce consultant to complete the integration of Adobe Acrobat Sign with Salesforce and Conga Composer. With the new integrated solution, the company’s sales teams do not have to constantly make manual adjustments to the deal parameters anymore. “We’ve calculated that Adobe Acrobat Sign improves efficiencies by approximately 60 percent,” Harry says.

The result is improved experiences for sales and executive teams, as well as for retail merchants and advertisers. The feedback has been very positive. When Vicinity was introducing this process change, the teams were a little nervous to see what retail customers would think. But it has been very well received because these days many people are already familiar with e-signatures.

Illuminating efficiencies for agreement signings

Lorraine Evangelista, applications and system support analyst for Vicinity Centres, worked closely with the implementation team. “Moving away from physically handling and signing documents and instead using Adobe Acrobat Sign for e-signatures has been great,” she says. “Also, having the signed contract automatically stored against the account in Salesforce is an excellent capability. It makes it easier for us to track records.”

Once a customer signs an agreement, the status change in the Adobe Acrobat Sign application automatically triggers a Salesforce workflow to generate an invoice, in addition to updating the status in Conga Composer. The salespeople like getting the signature completion notifications too,” Evangelista says.

“At the start, we didn’t realise how much value we would find with the insights we get from Adobe Acrobat Sign,”Harry says. “The dashboards for the statuses of the signing process are quite visible in real time to the sales executive team. The widgets, traffic lights, and dials on the sales team’s home dashboard make it easy to see what's still out for signing and the average time it’s taking for signatures. This transparency into the lifecycle of the signing process is not something we could get before. It’s quite useful.”

“We don’t have timing metrics to compare against, since there was no good way to compile those before, but anecdotally we're hearing that it's a lot better, faster, and smoother,” he says. “Managers are happy that their team members spend less time bogged down on office admin tasks and instead can focus on developing new business and closing sales. It’s a better use of their time that promotes revenue growth for the company.”

Although it was not necessarily an initial driving factor, Vicinity is also pleased about the environmental benefits of the digitised process. “Reducing our paper and toner cartridge usage contributes to our broader focus on sustainability, which includes achieving Net Zero carbon emissions on wholly owned assets by 2030,” Harry says.

Vicinity scoped the Adobe Acrobat Sign installation for 30,000 agreements annually, including for its human resources and legal teams. So far, the company has used the application for more than 2,400 document signings.

“This was the first broad use of e-signatures in our organisation. Previously we had individual team members using Adobe Acrobat Sign for point tasks, but this was the first project where it was implemented as part of an end-to-end solution. We’re seeing great success and have valuable learnings to build on as we roll it out across the company,” says Harry. “We are happy to help new merchants and advertisers accelerate their time to market at our shopping centres, in a highly scalable fashion, thanks in part to our new e-signature processes.”