How to seize opportunities using data-driven market planning and site selection software
The U.S. business climate in 2023 is hard to describe. While there are still areas of concern for many—including inflation and high interest rates—there are some positive signs—like a resilient labor market and strong consumer spending.
For our retail and chain business clients (as well as our real estate broker and developer clients), this climate is one in which it is nerve-wracking to make decisions. Some retailers are forging ahead with expansion plans like this list from ICSC of 22 retailers that includes Barnes & Noble, Dave’s Hot Chicken, J.Crew Factor, and Le Macaron. Other chains are closing stores, like Bed Bath & Beyond, which filed for bankruptcy, and Foot Locker, which is closing stores in malls (but opening more than 300 new-concept stores this year as well).
Research + Planning = Smart Business Decisions
It’s important to remember that economic uncertainty often creates opportunity for retailers that are willing to take some calculated risks.
That doesn’t mean that you need to jump on every opportunity to expand your chain or move faster than you’re comfortable moving. It’s okay to be in wait-and-see mode, but if growth is still on your agenda, you should also be in planning mode. Then when the time is right, you are ready.
In our experience, the most successful retail and chain businesses invest in research when others do not. (Check out our blog about what the most successful and resilient retailers do.)
Data-Driven Tools Can Help You Grow Smarter
In any economic climate, but especially a market like the one we are in right now, it’s important to research and plan new locations and markets as you lay out your company’s future expansion plan. A tool like SiteSeer can help you do just that. SiteSeer is site selection software, but it’s more than that. It can help you evaluate new markets, create forecasts and models, visualize your data on maps, and lots more.
What Can You Do with SiteSeer?
Here’s what SiteSeer’s market planning and site selection tools can help you do:
Understand your customers.
We repeat this mantra often to our retail and other chain clients: know your customers! You need to take the time to learn as much about them as possible and analyze your potential customers as well. What are their needs and how have they evolved or changed recently? You can gather that intel from qualitative data in the form of customer surveys or quantitative data captured through loyalty program transaction history, but if you don’t have that, there are other options. You can access third-party data from one of SiteSeer’s trusted data partners and incorporate it into your analysis. We’ll help you build a customer profile and decide what type of data will help you answer questions about your business. That might include planned construction data, demographic data, mobile phone visitor (foot traffic) data, consumer spending data, traffic count data, location data or another kind of data.
Analyze your competition.
Here’s one (of many) area where SiteSeer stands apart from its peers. We have a Competitive Assessment Tool built right into the platform, which uses a custom model to assess competitors in a given trade area. This tool assigns competitors different strengths, but goes beyond that to also factor in where your customers are and where any intervening opportunities are in a trade area. This tool takes a thorough approach to analyzing competition and how competitors might affect a store’s performance.
Assess the health of a market.
In the last several years, we’ve heard from many SiteSeer users what a game-changer our tool has been for their business during today’s uncertain, sometimes unpredictable environment! SiteSeer’s vast array of data sources and modeling tools allow you to get a detailed understanding of what is happening in a market—from population growth to new real estate development to increases/decreases in unemployment to changing demographics. SiteSeer can also help you determine (with data, not guess work) the potential and capacity for different markets. Whether you’re a growing retail chain or a franchise looking to expand, this is important information you can use to create franchise territories or even secure financing.
Build models to screen sites.
Model Builder is one of our most powerful and popular tools in SiteSeer, and it recently got a big upgrade to make it easier to use than ever before. You can build site scorecards to screen new sites and display locations as hotspots on a map (and re-run models with new criteria). If you need a starting point to build a model, you can use a Location Profile for one the hundreds we have (for chain retailers, restaurants and service businesses) that you consider your business to be similar to and adjust the metrics to fit your needs and goals.
Invest in Your Success
SiteSeer is an investment in a software tool, but it is also an investment in your long-term success.
Whether you’re evaluating new sites and forecasting their success, right-sizing your existing store portfolio, market planning or all of the above (and more), SiteSeer will help you make smarter location decisions. And if there’s one thing that is true in today’s market, it’s that you must maximize the success of every location or store you operate—and take advantage of opportunities that will help your business thrive.
Learn more about how SiteSeer is different from other site selection software by taking a demo. We’ll learn about your challenges, needs and plans for 2023 and beyond and show you how SiteSeer can help you most. Call us at 866-524-2804, or schedule a demo now.