When you’re a retailer, restaurant chain or real estate professional, it’s critical to do your homework. Our data partner, ChainXY, makes that much easier, with their chain locational data that allows real estate professionals that are conducting market research to make informed decisions.
We sat down with ChainXY’s VP of Operations to get a little more insight into what ChainXY is all about.
How did ChainXY come to be?
In the locational data space, we’re relatively new. We started in 2017 as a team of people who felt there was a better way to offer verified chain location data. Our goal was to provide much more reliable data to professionals that do market research and to solve many of the problems out there we saw in other data products.
What’s the background of the ChainXY team?
The majority of our team members have mapping and data analytics backgrounds, and all of our QA staff have educational backgrounds in GIS. Knowing how our clients use the data drives how we build and update the datasets. So, our spatial data expertise is very important. We are geographers by trade.
A point of pride is quality. Tell us about your process for building a reliable dataset.
We’re very proud of our QA processes. We collect data directly from restaurant and retail chains’ websites on a monthly or quarterly basis, depending on the chain. From there, we have a multi-step geocoding process to blend that human verification with an automated, data-driven approach. Before we publish chain data, we conduct a rigorous quality assurance check to make sure there are no issues with the data. And after all that, we publish our data in multiple flat and spatial data formats. Quality is in our DNA!
Tell us a little more about the geocoding step.
That’s our patent-pending process, where we take provided addresses and choose the best results to attach them to those locations on a map. This is just as much art as it is science. We have custom built our own process to ensure we get very accurate map locations. A dot on a map on the roof of that hardware store is much more accurate than that dot at the intersection nearby. The exactness of this data matters a lot to users of our data. And any time something doesn’t meet our requirements for accuracy, it goes to review. We’ll do more research to move markers on map. Retailers and chains are often integrating mobile data and draw shapes around buildings, but if they’re in the wrong spot, that could completely throw off their models.
How many chains do you track?
We provide locational data for about 6,000 chains, primarily in the United States and Canada. We also update frequently, so that number continues to grow.
Why is the manual side of your process so important?
We are a technology company and we rely on technology immensely, but no matter what type of machine learning or AI processes exist, we have never been able to beat the QA team. Every chain is different. And there’s really no way to verify specific chain information with a model. Data can’t replace your own validation.
As the world recovers from the pandemic, why do you think retailers need to step up their game in terms of using quality data?
In the post-coronavirus recovery phase, being able to track what is going on, what chains are going where, what chains are relocating, who is closing, and all of these sorts of things is fundamentally important. Business is competitive and margins are tight. If you aren’t keeping an eye on your friendly cotenants and your competitors, you’re several steps behind. Our data allows retailers, economic developers and real estate professionals to make smarter decisions, especially when they use a tool like SiteSeer. Right now, any company that has survived the pandemic could be poised for big growth in the next few years—we’re seeing it with many chains. Our data can help them lay out a smart plan for growth and expansion.
ChainXY data is obviously available to SiteSeer users who subscribe to it, but what if a user wants access to the raw data?
Any user can certainly pursue a full ChainXY subscription. If they need more data or are working within their own tools, SiteSeer can resell a full ChainXY subscription so a user can export data and further manipulate it and work with it as they want to.
Tell us about your new product, CenterXY.
We’re launching a new shopping center data product, CenterXY. It includes all 100,000-square-foot and larger shopping centers across the United States and Canada, about 19,000 currently. We’ll continue to grow the dataset over the year to come. People can subscribe to CenterXY in SiteSeer. If interested, contact Sam Lowder to learn more.
To learn more about ChainXY, visit www.chainxy.com. To learn more about subscribing to ChainXY data in SiteSeer, contact us!