Q&A with SiteSeer’s Kay Kessler

Posted by Michaele Charles on Sep 23, 2021 6:00:00 AM

SiteSeer's Director of Solution Development

If you’ve ever requested custom analytics from the SiteSeer professional services team, chances are you’ve received something created by Kay, our director of solution development. Kay is tasked with helping clients get the most out of the SiteSeer platform, which sometimes involves market research services or creating surveys—or something else entirely.

Let’s get to know Kay and learn more about what she does for SiteSeer clients:

What’s the big picture description of your job at SiteSeer?

A large part of my job is developing solutions for clients. Sometimes that’s reports, other times that’s data requests, other times it is creating charts or other data visuals. We develop and run surveys for some of our retail clients and I do a lot of market research too.

What kinds of custom analytics projects do you provide to clients?

Well, one example would be turning a spreadsheet into a dashboard in SiteSeer. It might involve doing individual site analysis. Sometimes clients want an objective person to look at their data and identify any trends or insights. Our team will do that for them.

What kinds of SiteSeer clients request surveys?

Really, any kind of company that wants to understand what customers are thinking! We write the questions, build the survey, launch it, collect the results, and compile them into a presentation that the clients can act upon. More importantly, this data can used to understand how customers travel and shop which helps us build better trade area rules and more accurate models. With the advent of cell phone visitor data, many believe that surveys are a less attractive means of understanding customer locations and travel patterns. While this might be true to an extent, surveys still provide valuable data about why customers make the choices they do, what they plan to do in the future and can provide valuable insights into the attitudes and behaviors or former shoppers and non-shoppers.

What did you do before joining SiteSeer?

I worked in human resources for seven years in the corporate office of Albertsons and for a manufacturing company called Boise, Inc. Prior to that I had a varied career in retail, as a travel agent, and as a bookkeeper.

What led you from HR to technology?

Human Resources wasn’t a great fit for me. I often volunteered for side jobs such as running surveys, analyzing employee turnover or building dashboards. I quickly learned that I enjoyed data and technology. In 2013, I joined ROIC analytics –SiteSeer’s predecessor company – as an analyst. I’ve been with SiteSeer since the company launched in 2016.

What’s your hometown?

I was born and raised outside of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

You’ve lived in a variety of places! Where?

Yes, after college my husband was hired by the federal government and we move to the suburbs of Washington, DC. Next, Albertsons moved us to Boise where I lived off and on over the last two decades. We love to experience new areas as a local and the flexibility of this company has allowed us to live in interesting places like Madison, Wisconsin and Denver, Colorado. After spending the last five years back in Boise, we decided this year to return to the east coast and are currently located in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina.

What was your role at ROIC analytics?

At ROIC, we provide professional services to chain grocers and mid-size to large retailers. Survey and market research was a big focus at the time. I created and ran a lot of individual store surveys and complete studies and reports to help our clients make better market and site selection decisions.

At SiteSeer, you moved into more of a technical role?

Yes, although I’m on the professional services team at SiteSeer, I’m less customer facing and more behind the scenes. I help put together a lot of the big datasets SiteSeer uses, and I build custom data sets for customers. I’m in the background doing a lot of analytics. QA – quality assurance, or system testing – is also a key part of my job.

What’s been fun over the last five years as SiteSeer has grown and evolved?

SiteSeer has progressed so much from our roots in providing analysis for our clients to now providing the tools to empower our clients to do their own research. I’ve enjoyed helping the evolution of our retail site selection software to become a sophisticated and powerful product. Instead of helping one client at a time, I can build solutions that impact hundreds of users. Personally, I’ve learned so much about software and technology. I feel I’ve definitely found my niche in this field.

Do you think young Kay would have listened if you told her to pursue technology?

When I graduated high school in the 1990s, technology jobs were the domain of the highly technical and the barriers to entry were high. The internet was only just becoming mainstream. I didn’t see it as a path that was viable for me. Now, technology is a part of everything we do, and it requires people with soft skills as much as it requires people that can code.

Where do you think things will go with SiteSeer from here?

Our goal has always been to empower retail decision makers, real estate brokers and other busy professionals to be able to do in minutes what it used to take a highly skilled analyst to do in weeks. It’s a balancing act of making the software powerful enough to answer the site selection and market research questions that our users throw at it, but present it in a way that's user-friendly and intuitive. The future of SiteSeer will be to continue to build and package these complex analytics in a way that make sense to our users.

Fun fact about Kay?

Since my career is largely working with my brain and abstract concepts, I like to spend my free time working with my hands. I make my own jewelry. And I love collecting rocks. I have a huge rock collection. I’m a bit of an amateur geologist I guess you could say.   

Need help with a custom analytics project? Contact Kay and the professional services team!

Contact the SiteSeer support team

 

Topics: Retail Site Selection, Site Selection Software, cre mapping tools, Site Selection Criteria, Employee Spotlight

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