How Psychographic Data Can Enhance Site Selection

Posted by Lance Blick on Jan 10, 2020 2:15:00 PM

Using psychographic data in site selectionWhen you use a tool like SiteSeer, there are all kinds of different data types that can power the platform:

  • Your own internal data, collected through surveys, history, etc.
  • Demographic data that includes socioeconomic information such as population, income, education, race and employment in different geographic areas
  • Mobile location data collected from people’s smartphones
  • Business and spending data that includes workplace and employee statistics, product spending, store locations and more
  • Psychographic data

What is Psychographic Data?

Psychographic data is all about people’s interests and attitudes. You can gain valuable insights that are hard to get through other types of data—into what people do, prefer, buy and why they do so.

Harvard Business Review’s 2016 article, “Psychographics Are Just as Important for Marketers as Demographics,” articulated the importance of this data type well: “The internet has changed the relative importance of demographics and psychographics to marketers in three key ways: by making psychographics more actionable, by making psychographic differences more important, and by making psychographic insight easier to access.”

It is easy to understand why consumer attitudes and behaviors are important to marketing, but how can psychographics improve site selection?

Psychographics in Site Selection

Before we answer the above question, let’s talk about the different ways that psychographic data is collected and reported. Surveys are one way, while mining websites, apps, social media and consumer activity data (via users’ smartphone activity) are several others.

Once collected, this data is aggregated, mined and associated with geography—such as Census Blockgroups—to index or “score” each neighborhood or household on a particular metric.

Psychographic Data from MRI-Simmons

SiteSeer partners with Synergos Technologies Inc. (STI) to access data collected by MRI-Simmons’ Survey of the American Consumer. This survey collects in-depth information on consumer media choices, attitudes and consumption of products and services. STI appends insights from MRI’s consumer research to its STI: LandScape lifestyle segmentation system.

This data offers information about lifestyles, attitudes, brand preferences and much more. If you’re a broker or developer, this type of information can help you tremendously as you’re trying to lease a shopping center with the right tenant mix or fill a vacancy. And for just about any type of retailer, this data can help you enhance your decisions-making.

Many Different Uses

Let’s look at some examples using MRI-Simmons data based on the Survey of the American Consumer.


If you are a shopping center owner or broker looking for a grocery anchor for your new development, your site selection process obviously includes taking a deep dive into population, neighborhood demographics, nearby competition, access, visibility, and much more. But MRI data could help you understand the patrons who are likely to frequent your store. Here are some of the questions you can answer:

Would a natural foods store do well in this location?

  • MRI variables:
    • Eating habits: buy food labeled as natural or organic
    • Eating habits: consider self to be vegan or vegetarian

Are my customers open to or interested in online shopping?

  • MRI variable:
    • Purchased groceries over the internet/online: yes

Are shoppers in my area more likely to shop for price or quality?

  • MRI variable:
    • Buying styles - My favorite grocery store offers low prices on all products every day: Disagree mostly, disagree somewhat, agree somewhat, agree mostly


Obviously, your real estate research team of your pet store chain wants to ensure there are plenty of potential customers in a trade area. That means digging into demographic criteria such as income, age and home ownership. Sufficient population is essential, as is a competitive analysis of other pet supply stores in the area. But MRI data takes things a step further and helps you answer questions such as:

Are the households in my trade area looking to adopt/buy a pet? 

  • MRI variable:
    • How likely in the next 12 months to get a dog or cat: Very likely, somewhat likely, not at all likely

Is this a good area for pet services (such as grooming or “doggie day care” boarding)?

  • MRI variable:
    • Professional pet services: used in last 12 months

How likely are consumers to use veterinary services?

  • MRI variable:
    • Does your household have pet insurance: Yes/no
    • Veterinarian visits: number of trips in last year
    • Pets: I have a great deal of knowledge/experience in this topic


Restaurants are not all the same: there’s fast casual, high-end dining, and everything in between. As with any retail site selection, you need to research everything you can about demographic criteria, population and competition. But let’s assume you’re a family restaurant chain or steak house. MRI has data variables that can help you answer lots of different questions about where your prospective customers have dined recently, how much they spent, when they like to dine out and more. Here are some questions MRI data will help you answer:

What other similar restaurants do my potential customers visit?

  • MRI variables:
    • Bought in last 6 months: Applebee’s, Bakers Square, Benihana, Red Robin, Shoney’s, Ruth’s Chris Steak House (many other options you could choose)

What day parts do well or suffer in this area (good lunch crowd, perhaps light on dinner crowd)? 

  • MRI variable:
    • Bought in last 6 months: Breakfast, lunch, snacks, supper/dinner, etc.

How open are consumers to trying new restaurants?  

  • MRI variable:
    • When I find a restaurant I like, I stick with it.

How likely are consumers to eat out and how often? 

  • MRI variable:
    • I typically celebrate special occasions at restaurants: Agree somewhat, agree completely, disagree somewhat, disagree completely
    • I'd rather prepare a meal than eat in a restaurant: Agree somewhat, agree completely, disagree somewhat, disagree completely

Should we offer liquor/beer/wine?

  • MRI variable:
    • Alcoholic beverages consumed in restaurant: Beer, wine, liquor

SiteSeer clients rely on a variety of data sources to help them make decisions. Psychographic data offers something that other data sources cannot: nuances of people’s lifestyles. You can get to know the people in an area and what makes them buy from certain stores, what excites them, what deters them, and much more. When paired with other types of data, this can help you create an in-depth profile of your potential customers that goes beyond where they live and work.

Learn more about SiteSeer’s partnership with Synergos Technologies to offer insights based on demographic and media usage data collected by MRI here. Questions about how to put data to work within the SiteSeer platform and what kind of data will help you analyze your customers, competition and portfolio of store and more?

Contact the SiteSeer team

Topics: Data Partner, Site Selection Software, Analyzing Retail Sites, Data Quality

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