Growing retail and restaurant chains know that doing high-quality, data-driven research as they expand and open new locations is always worthwhile.
At SiteSeer, our goal is to arm our clients with the tools to make intelligent site decisions that give them the best chance of success. We want to help chains avoid costly mistakes and equip themselves with the best information possible as they go forward.
Site selection software is an investment in your company’s longevity—and a tool that will help you find locations that maximize your profitability and overall success. That said, data isn’t perfect and companies should proceed with caution when using it to gain insights and make decisions.
Today, there is so much market data available to companies of all types and sizes—but it’s important to understand what you’re getting into when capturing and using that information. Here are eight of the biggest myths about market data that we hear time and time again:
#1: All data is good data.
When it comes to market data, the old saying “you get what you pay for” rings very true. Yes, there’s lots of data available today, and yes, some of it is free or low cost. But there’s a reason for that. It might be outdated and irregularly updated. Using this kind of data will only throw off any analysis you do.
#2: More data is better.
There are platforms out there that claim to have access to far more data sources than any of their competition. Remember: quality, not quantity. Using the right (relevant) data is more important than using as much data as possible.
#3: Free data is actually free.
As mentioned in myth #1, free data generally suffers from being grossly outdated (therefore highly inaccurate). So, while you might be able to access that data for free, to get anything out of it, you’ll need to spend the time sorting through it and fixing glaring problems. That’s time you could be spending elsewhere—a significant labor cost to your organization.
#4: Purchased data is close to 100% accurate.
Even licensed data isn’t perfect. It ages quickly and suffers from the “human error factor.” You’ll need to put some time into processing and analyzing data, but even then, you must accept some level of error in every data source.
#5: Once we find a good data source, there’s no reason to pursue other data.
It’s always a good idea to evaluate your data sources regularly to make sure you’re using the most useful data for your business. That’s not to say that you should dump one of your current data providers when something “shiny and new” comes along, but you should make sure you’re focused on relevant data.
#6: Data should be perfect.
Data will never be perfect. Often, it isn’t static, and even when data is a record of past information, errors happen. The provider of the data you use might make mistakes. It’s unfortunate, but it’s reality.
#7: I don’t need external data because I track internal data.
It’s great if you have a loyalty card program that tracks customer data and that you capture point-of-sale data. But if you want a more thorough picture, it’s important to look outside your organization too. You need market intelligence, competitor data, data about your prospects and future customers, and demographic data on your trade area as well.
#8: Data gathered from social media is absolutely reliable.
Social media insights can be useful when making decisions and predictions. But there are many issues with this kind of data, not the least of which is that Facebook and Twitter have lots of fake accounts. In addition, this kind of data can be difficult to summarize and interpret, and the behavior is harder to quantify. How can you derive actionable information from people’s mentions or posts, after all? Are people clicking “like” on something because it’s trendy or because their friends like it?
There’s nothing more important to your retail research than having good data sources. Don’t believe the myths! Not all data is created equal, but it can be difficult to know if the data upon which you’re relying paints an accurate picture. If you’re confused, contact the SiteSeer team at (866) 524-2804. We’d be happy to talk you through the different types of data and what might be best for you.