Mapping software is ideally suited to helping you visualize the best location for a business. From looking at traffic patterns and accessibility, to seeing proximity to competitors and prospective customers, a map provides you with an intuitive understanding of your market. While there are many considerations that go into siting a new venture, we explore 5 key factors that will impact your decision.
Read on to see how maps support your site location decisions!
Knowing where your best customers are is vitally important to being able to site a new outlet. Do you have an existing list of customer addresses? Do you understand your target demographics? Have you identified your key geodemographic segments? Are you looking to answer these questions based on market research or by analyzing your existing and successful locations?
These are all factors that a mapping application such as Maptitude can help you explore. If you have customer addresses you should be looking for an application that provides unlimited pin-mapping (often called geocoding or address matching) so that you can explore as many different locations and customer lists as you want, without incurring increasing costs.
You may have a particular audience you wish to reach, such as those in a specific age group, occupation, income bracket, or that have a higher average spend on particular products and services. You may be focusing on which demographics have been most successful for you, in which case you can analyze your best locations and the types of people living within those market areas. A map enables you to query specific attributes and to highlight likely customers.
Knowing where your competitors are is almost as important, if not more so, than seeing where your prospects reside. Are you in an industry that benefits from close proximity to a competitor, allowing you to ride their coattails by leveraging their advertising draw and location research? Do you have a list of competitor locations that you can map, or are you looking for an industry list that shows where all the existing organizations have set up shop? Maptitude provides a location list for any industry you are analyzing.
Take the highly competitive healthcare industry, for example, and specifically, dental practices. Ideally, you would want to identify all the local dentists, as well as those areas where people are likely to spend more on dental procedures. Combining consumer expenditure with business listings allows you to draw a clear picture of the competitive landscape. In the map below, those areas in blue are spending below average on dental care, while those in red spend more, which is valuable information when looking to maximize revenue. We can also see the locations of all dentists as well as how many dentists there are for the population (in each town), helping us understand those places that are over- or under- saturated with this type of service.
But businesses are not limited to catering to only those people in the town that they are located. How far are people willing to travel to access what you have to offer? For dentists, this is typically 0-10 miles, according to research published by The Wealthy Dentist*. To map these travel patterns as realistically as possible, we don’t just want to map circles that are 10 miles wide, we want to look at coverage when driving 10-miles because that is how your customers will actually reach you. In the next map we created 5-mile rings around each dental provider and used "cloudiness" to show where there is the most competition. Those areas that are "occluded" have the most competition, whereas the clearer areas may offer lucrative gaps in the market.
As we have already discussed, looking at those areas with above and below average spend on your product category is a great way to determine market opportunity. You can also look at the numbers of people that you know would normally want to access your product, or average household incomes in an area.
Now that we know where there is high competition, where there are higher numbers of services per person than in other areas, and where people are likely to spend more on what we have to offer, where should we look to place our new facility?
In our dental example, it looks like a town to the west would provide us with an area with high spending and low competition. A map helps us identify potential sites intuitively, and without having to try to understand a huge amount of raw data.
We could also have looked at the distribution of existing dentists versus demographics, such as total population, and modelled the best site for one more dentist. Maptitude provides an easy-to-use tool to perform this study, which you can see in action in this site selection video.
Whether you are an existing or a new business, being able to reach your prospective customers is critically important to your success. If you have an area you want to target with direct mail, for example, a map with the right data allows you to simply lasso the residences you want to reach out to. An application such as Maptitude allows you to grab their addresses to start your outreach campaign with flyers that let people know that you are new in town and what you have to offer.
While many factors go into where to place a new business location, a mapping application such as Maptitude ensures that you maximize use of your time and are easily able to explain your findings to others. Maps are an intuitive way to convey and analyze large amounts of data. Maptitude can support all the above analytics and comes with all of the data used in the examples shown, as well as information for almost any industry and sector you would need to map.
If you already have Maptitude, you can find step-by-step instructions for finding the best location for your business in the Maptitude Learning Portal.