10 Questions a ZIP Code Map Can Answer

In 1963, the United States Postal Service devised the ZIP code as a better way to track delivery routes across the country. Since then, various improvements have been made to the original Zone Improvement Plan from which the ZIP acronym was derived — most notably the 1983 implementation of the four-digit extension.

In recent years, businesses have been able to harness the benefits of ZIP codes more than ever with radius mapping software. With ZIP code mapping software, businesses large and small can enjoy the following benefits:

  • Identify the most opportune spots for a store, restaurant or service center
  • Choose the right location according to demographics
  • Improve location-specific marketing based on local demographics

The following article covers 10 of the most frequently asked questions that ZIP code mapping software’s benefits can help answer, as well as some interesting ZIP code facts.

Will This Location Draw Lots of Business?

A business can use business mapping software to determine which locations are best situated for heavy foot traffic. For example, one map can be color-coded to highlight the areas that are situated right at the heart of intersections and off-ramps that make access easy from all directions. Another map could single out which areas are sufficiently populated, yet lack adequate public transportation or pedestrian-friendly walkways.

Based on whether the business in question attracts customers who travel by car, bus or foot, decisions concerning where to establish a new location can be more easily made with this software.

Another ZIP code map could be used to weed out areas that have transportation aplenty, yet are strewn with impoverished neighborhoods and high crime rates. A map of the same broader area can then help pinpoint which neighborhoods have the best of both worlds: sufficient public transportation and sidewalks as well as an all-connecting grid of nearby streets and highways.

Should a Retail Chain Differentiate Its Stock According to the Demands of Each Location?

Mapping software can be used to gather interesting ZIP code facts that can shed light on the demographics of particular communities. This in turn can be used by businesses to fine tune each location's inventory to support specific neighborhoods.

For example, if a music chain makes plans to open seven locations in a state and intends to differentiate the inventory at each location to better suit the demands of local customers, color-coded maps could be used to make the following mapping distinctions:

  • Working class areas from affluent areas
  • Rural areas from urban areas
  • Predominantly white areas from those with mostly minorities
  • Areas dominated by college-age or retirement-age residents versus adult professionals

This information can then be used by the music chain to decide which locations will primarily advertise and carry rock releases, which locations will focus on hip hop and R&B, which locations will mostly promote country and which locations will skew toward, classical, jazz and New Age.

Mapping software could further be used to trace changing demographic trends in advance, which could help the chain decide if and when to expand the inventory and promotional themes at select locations.

Can Promotions Be Fine-Tuned to the Demographics of a Particular ZIP Code?

ZIP code maps can also be used to gather area-specific demographic info, which can then be used to implement marketing strategies that better satisfy local demand. For businesses that typically target the general consumer, ZIP code map software could ultimately reveal specific sales trends in certain areas that are predominantly populated by select demographic groups. This information can then be used to tailor marketing efforts in those areas to specifically meet the demands of those groups.

For example, if a regional or national chain sells sporting goods for all ages, yet the mapping shows that the population surrounding one storefront consists primarily of seniors, it might be prudent to deemphasize the all-ages inventory at said storefront and tailor the marketing towards products that would interest older folks, such as golf supplies.

Demographic calculations can be applied to ZIP code areas. For example, color shading ZIP codes with the most children per family and the highest incomes levels could identify the best markets for education services or kid friendly restaurants.

Is There a Way to Identify Which Areas Will Be Lucrative in the Future?

With ZIP code territory mapping software, a company can more readily identify which areas are on the up-and-up. When recently developed areas start to draw an influx of affluent new households, these areas can be identified with color-coded maps. As the influx continues, the maps can be updated to show the progress and the updates can then be compared to determine quarterly, biannual and annual growth trends. Additional maps can then be overlaid with more detailed demographic info to determine whether the areas in question would be right for a particular business.

Upon studying growth trends within an area, a company can determine whether the time is right to expand into the area now or earmark the region for expansion within the next two to five years. Alternately, a business could use this info to decide whether or not to expand its area of coverage and delivery services. On the flipside, a company can use these maps to determine which areas are on the outs in terms of demographic favorability. A business can efficiently cut its losses and make timely location move decisions based on views of ZIP code map software.

The benefits of locating emerging hotspots are threefold. For starters, a business can increase profits by simply expanding into newer and more lucrative areas. By being one of the first businesses of its kind to cover any new territory, the business will enjoy the lion's share of its target market for the foreseeable future. Once the area grows to the point where competitors start to move in, the first one there will have already established brand loyalty among the locals and will therefore be the most securely positioned for continued success and to leverage that success into further expansion.

Should I Locate My Store in This Town or at This Intersection?

With ZIP code territory mapping software, it’s easier for a business to determine where to place a particular store location. ZIP code maps with overlaid business data can be used to determine which areas are the most demographically rich for a given product and which spots have generated the most sales success.

A further overlay could be used to display delivery routes and thoroughfares to determine which business locations would enable a business to service the maximum number of customers with minimal delays.

How Can ZIP Code Data Be Used to Improve Delivery Routes?

With ZIP code mapping software, any business within the service industry can more easily determine its most lucrative and manageable areas of coverage. For instance, if a pizza chain sets its sights on a new location, color-coded mapping software can help the business determine whether it would be more lucrative and manageable to serve within a five-mile radius or to draw its area of delivery coverage at one mile north and six miles south of its location.

ZIP code mapping software can also help companies establish delivery timetables and rate estimate with greater accuracy to practically any spot across the U.S. or Canada. The benefits of ZIP code mapping for this purpose can be summarized as follows:

  • Develop delivery charges and schedules by ZIP code
  • Create concentric circle delivery fee maps for sharing
  • Analyze mail and package delivery times across the country by ZIP codes (ZIP 3 Codes are often used for this)

When delivery routes are better arranged and tracked according to ZIP code, a business can reduce its shipping expenses and ultimately provide better service to its customers, who in turn place more orders with greater frequency.

Which ZIP Codes Are the Most Fun? Containing Restaurants, Cinemas, Beaches and Playgrounds?

ZIP code radius mapping software can be used to pinpoint which neighborhoods have the best and most plentiful eateries, shops and other places of recreation. For consumers, this might be used to determine which ZIP codes are the best places to visit or take up residence. For entrepreneurs and restaurateurs, ZIP code mapping layers can help identify which locations are the most lucrative for a given type of store, restaurant or entertainment complex.

With separate layers defining the most efficient driving routes and the most active shopping strips, a commercial entity can open up a new location based on solid strategic analysis.

Will This School Be Appropriate for My Children?

ZIP code map software can be used by parents to determine the best schools within a given area. Different mapping overlays can be color marked by area according to relevant categories such as commuting routes, crime rates, school data and income levels.

For example, parents in an affluent neighborhood within a large or spread-out city might have various options for sending their children to school. Color coded mapping software layers can help them pick their preferred school based on the most efficient routes to and from home, in the area with the lowest crime rate, and the highest percentage of successful students.

Will My Parents Be Safe If They Retire at This ZIP Code?

In much the same way that young parents can use ZIP code mapping software to determine which schools are safest and most beneficial for their children, the software can also be used to determine the safest and most appropriate ZIP codes for aging parents.

One map layer, for instance, may be used to highlight which areas are the more densely populated with retirees while another can be used to spot which areas have the lowest crime rates. With the most popular and safest areas identified, further overlays can be used to spot which of those areas have the least-expensive cost of living and the highest percentage of senior-friendly businesses.

What Are the Best and Worst ZIP Codes in the Country?

A map of the nation with ZIP code color-coding can help businesses and travelers pinpoint the best and worst areas of the country – depending on your preferences, of course. The same process can also be applied at the state level for local entrepreneurs who wish to open a second location or residents who are considering an intrastate relocation.

In fact, ZIP code maps can be used to highlight the areas of the country that represent the extremes in various categories:

  • The largest and smallest ZIP codes
  • The richest and poorest ZIP codes
  • The most and least populated ZIP codes
  • The safest and most dangerous ZIP codes
  • The youngest and oldest ZIP codes

Information on the largest and smallest ZIP codes could be useful for any business chain that's in the process of determining how many store locations or delivery routes are needed within a given ZIP code. The same info can then be overlaid with another map that indicates the population densities within each ZIP code. For the record, the ZIP code with the largest square mileage in the continental U.S. is 89049, which covers the sparsely populated town of Tonopah, Nev.

When companies and families set their sights on a new area, it's also important to have an idea of the income prospects of the area. For businesses, this information can help determine whether the population in a given ZIP code falls within the target demographic for a particular market. For families, this information can be used to determine whether a particular area will have good job prospects, neighborhoods and schools.

For example, a convenience store would likely perform best in middle-and working-class ZIP codes, but not be favored in an upscale community. By contrast, a golf resort is likely to perform better in an area surrounded by older, more affluent communities than on a stretch of land that falls between two towns where the median income is less than $2,000 per month.

According to recent figures on income by ZIP code, the three highest-earning and lowest-income ZIP codes in the U.S. are:

    Highest-Income ZIP Codes:
  • 10104 New York, NY ($2,976,929)
  • 10112 New York, NY ($2,239,881)
  • 33901 Miami Beach, FL ($2,180,105)

  • Lowest-Income ZIP Codes:
  • 05501 Andover, MA ($2,000)
  • 17932 Frackville, PA ($2,700)
  • 15510 Somerset, PA ($2,842)

ZIP Code Mapping Software From MapBusinessOnline

MapBusinessOnline provides ZIP code mapping software that users can color-code and symbolize in a variety of ways to track national, regional and local demographic trends, business opportunities, and delivery routes. Click here to learn more about the benefits of ZIP code mapping with MBO software.