Developing Retail Location Awareness with Map Business Online

Today let’s imagine I am a retail store owner or franchise store owner. I’m definitely going to have some interest in what’s happening in the area surrounding my store(s). Though the reality is, I probably won’t even consider using a business mapping software until my store is in trouble. But then I’m going to really want retail location awareness, which I can get from retail mapping software like map Business Online.

When sales are off, suddenly visualizing an area that contains my customers with as much detail as possible becomes relevant and maybe even crucial to gaining a better awareness, a location awareness, of my immediate business area and perhaps areas where I am not doing business.

Visualize Customers First – Customer Mapping
So the first thing you might do is import an address database of customers. That’s usually pretty simple, easy, and fast to accomplish. Just find that customer list in your CRM, order management system or whatever it is your company uses to monitor sales and export it to a CSV or Excel file. Make sure to include addressing or latitude and longitude columns in your data. Now import it into your business mapping software and look at it.

Think about that customer map you just made. What cities are you selling to? Where are your customers coming from? Are there areas that suggest you could get more customers if you did business there?

Consider turning on the city limits layer in your business map. It provides a clear break down of where city boundaries are. You can reference your target median income by city or by zip code for a fast and easy glimpse of your target market income sweet-spot. Now you’re demographic mapping.

Competitor Locations
How about other retail stores? I found a few different retail store data providers on-line with easy to access datasets. You can access a list of all the major big box stores, grocery stores or liquor stores in your area. You name it, you can get that data if you look for it.

Maybe you should simply go online and create your own dataset of competitor addresses manually. That’s a pretty easy task. You could do it while streaming CSI, Full Frontal, or Portlandia. Import those competitor locations. Do you wonder if these same competitors are using business mapping software and building competitive maps? You should.
Retail Map analysis

Turn on Zip Codes
Consider turning on the zip code layer. Zip codes are a man-made areas defined by the USPS. Zips act as good building blocks for market areas of interest across the USA. If you sell into crowded urban areas Census tracts might work better. They provide a more granular demographic view. But in less urban areas the mighty postal zip code holds sway. Now you’re suing zip code mapping software.

With zip codes you can start to think about visualizing your customers from a demographic perspective. For instance, you could sum all customers in ages from 40-years old to 84-years old. Or perhaps group income ranges in a similar way. Select zip areas around your store or stores based on driving time distances – polygons that reflect the distances driven in all directions around your store in the period of one half hour. Query the zip layer touched by that half hour drive time polygon. Drive time – that’s another perspective on your market area of interest. Are you feeling location aware yet?

Now append that market area of interest with your calculated data columns of Census data. Each area of interest can include sales data, customer data, demographic data or any other data you feel is pertinent to your analysis.

Now what have you got?

You’ve got a visualized market area of interest that reflects where you are doing business or where you plan to do business. Creating map views such as the above retail mapping example gives you location awareness of your business. It helps you to understand more about your business:
– Create customer location profiles
– Define areas where you’re missing business or perhaps saturating the market
– Segment marketing lists by geography or drive time
– Explore income levels associated with customer zip codes and key products

Leverage location in your retail analysis because every edge counts today.

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Contact: Geoffrey Ives (800) 425-9035, (207) 939-6866

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About Geoffrey Ives

Geoffrey Ives lives and works in southwestern Maine. He grew up in Rockport, MA and graduated from Colby College. Located in Maine since 1986, Geoff joined DeLorme Publishing in the late 1990's and has since logged twenty-five years in the geospatial software industry. In addition to business mapping, he enjoys playing classical & jazz piano, gardening, and taking walks in the Maine mountains with his Yorkshire Terrier named Skye.
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