Single Site Studies for Grocery Store Chains

Posted by Danielle Yanskey on Oct 14, 2022 6:00:00 AM

Single Site StudiesIn the grocery industry, like many retail industries, there’s no room for error when it comes to opening new locations. Before you invest time, energy and financial resources into the opening of a store, you need to analyze that site thoroughly and understand its sales potential.

And if you didn’t know already, SiteSeer’s parent company, ROIC analytics, is your go-to team for doing site studies on potential grocery store locations. Our leadership has deep experience in grocery retail, and three of our principals worked in site location research and market analysis for one of the nation’s largest grocery store chains for many years. We have experience in virtually every market in the U.S. and have done thousands of market and site studies for grocery locations over the past 30 years.

It’s safe to say: we know the grocery industry! That also means we know how to help our grocery clients make the best possible site decisions (and decide whether a site has a high probability of being successful or not successful).

Why Do a Single Site Study? 

While many of the larger grocery chains recognize the importance of collecting as much data as possible about a potential location for a new store before making the decision to build out and open that store, smaller chains might not realize why this is so critical.

Simple. Three big reasons:

  • A single site study helps you reduce your risk.
  • A single site study helps you answer questions about a market using actual data.
  • Opening stores without a single site study can result in (and often does) a less-than-optimal site decision. Worst case, it results in a bad location (read: costly).

What Does a Grocery Site Study Involve? 

Put simply, our single site study methodology involves on-the-ground field work, wherein we gather as much possible data about the competition, population and traffic movement in a potential site’s trade area. This is followed by a gravity-model simulation of the trade area’s existing grocery market. We then create a gravity-model simulation of a projected grocery market that forecasts sales for the new site and any impact to the network of existing stores in the market.

Grocery Retail Research Experience Counts 

Grocery is a low-margin, customer-centric business. As mentioned above, there’s essentially zero room for error when it comes to opening stores. One bad location can sink a small chain with lost profitability and insufficient market share (or impact the profitability and future growth of any size of chain).

Not all market analysts/market research firms understand the nuances of the grocery industry.

That means any type of site analysis must be performed by a professional or team of professionals that know grocery retail research.

We know that missing store volume in a forecast can put an entire investment on the line. It can result in lost jobs. We know that grocery stores operate on a weekly sales forecast. We know that by the time you’ve come to the decision to do a single site study, you have a good handle on a store’s costs, but you need to flesh out the pro forma side of the equation. Or, if you’re a smaller grocery chain, we know that you’ve probably been working with a broker to identify possible sites that meet your physical requirements (and now you need to vet one or more sites out from a financial perspective).

We blend the art with the science, and while we know that the in-depth analysis of a site’s criteria and trade area (and competition/sister stores in the area) is critical, so is the field research. Because we’ve performed thousands of single site studies for grocery (not to mention hundreds for other industries like liquor stores), you can trust that we know how to collect quality, reliable data to evaluate a site carefully.

Questions Our Single Site Studies Can Help You Answer 

Our team of analysts spend time in the field where your site is located. There’s no substitute for visiting a site in person + data-driven gravity models to help you answer the important questions. Some of those questions fall into broad categories:

About the competition:

  • Who is your competition in the trade area?
  • What are those competitors’ size, sales and location?
  • Are there physical or psychological barriers to those competitor locations that might benefit the site being analyzed?
  • What do the closest competitors’ locations look like? Feel like from a shopper perspective?
  • What changes to the competitive environment are anticipated or rumored?

About the customers:

  • What are your trade area demographics (population, household income, age, ethnicity, educational attainment, etc.)?
  • What types of customers shop in the closest competitors’ stores?
  • How far will customers travel to your location?
  • Are there employers or institutions in the area (like universities or military installations) that might impact customer’s spending patterns?

About the site:

  • Is there a history of crime in the area of the site? How safe does it feel?
  • What’s the parking situation like at the site (e.g., size of the parking lot)? How easy is the lot to get into (ingress) and out of (egress)?
  • Is the site lacking other important traits, such as good visibility, complementary co-tenants in the shopping center, or a location on the “wrong” or less convenient side of the road?
  • What’s going on in the area of the site? New apartments being built? A big employer opening or closing?
  • What is the condition of the site/property?
  • Are there any obvious issues with the site or location (e.g., hazards or structural problems)?

This methodology allows us to produce a forecast of the performance of a proposed site. And this matters most because each individual store’s success or failure has a tremendous impact on your overall business.

Learn More About Single Site Studies 

There’s so much to site selection, and evaluating individual sites is important. We are here to help. We’ll analyze your existing locations to understand what has made them successful, and evaluate future sites using the same criteria (or other criteria you want us to evaluate) so that your next store opening is a success. Contact us today to learn about our single site studies for grocery!

Learn More About Site Studies

Topics: Smart Retail Growth, Retail Site Selection, Grocery, Single Site Studies, Supermarkets

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