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How to use location intelligence to pick a place for your business

3 min read


This Spotlight on Location Data blog series is brought to you by Esri, a leading provider of software that brings location intelligence to business decisions.

When you’re looking to expand your retail business, one of the most important decisions you’ll face is choosing a new location. There are a lot of variables to consider: Who lives nearby? What’s the traffic like? Will you be cannibalizing business from your other locations?

You’ll need answer all those questions and more if you want to be sure that a given site is right for your business.

I recently sat down with Robert Buckner, principal at Intalytics, and Sonny Beech, general manager of GIS Inc., to talk about the kinds of data that retailers should be looking at when planning their expansion.

A few of their key takeaways:

  • Picking a great business location isn’t about any one data point. Companies need to understand that a variety of factors go into whether a location is suitable for a given company. Understanding where your ideal customers are is key, but so is knowing how far you can expect someone to drive to your location, how competition affects the trade area and other variables.
  • Location data complements intuition. The intelligence that comes from location data isn’t a replacement for good business sense. Rather, it’s a way to check out hunches, inform decisions and fill in gaps in a business leader’s knowledge. For example, Buckner notes, a business leader might know all the best locations in their home market, but when a company is contemplating going national or expanding into a region that’s far from their home turf, location data can be a valuable source of business intelligence.
  • The value doesn’t stop with site selection. Beech says that all kinds of internal company data can be cross-referenced with commercially available location data to create powerful business analysis tools. Data from human resources, sales and logistics arms of the company can coexist within a single map or piece of analysis, providing a bird’s eye view of how money and resources move through an organization, Beech says. This information can be used to fine tune marketing, operations practices and more, he adds.
  • Location intelligence is evolving. Companies used to rely on vendors and consultants for isolated location intelligence reports, but the space has evolved rapidly in recent years. Instead of commission reports on a subject-by-subject basis, it’s now possible to build and adjust models on the fly and address new business questions as they come up.

Watch the full video here: