Being an expansion manager is an exciting journey, full of new discoveries, sometimes surprisingly positive and other times quite deceptioning. Your goal constitutes in finding the perfect location so that the business you are in charge of, turns as performing as possible. Many hours in the field are then necessary to find this perfect place where to open a new point of sales. Intuition and experience are most of the time the key of your success! But how to justify your decisions to the management with such subjective data? Of course, they know you for years, trust you and on your side, you use arguments based on what you are used to see during the previous points of sales’ openings. But three issues remain over and over: time consumed by field visits, finding objective data and finally justifying the decision taken to the top management.
- Going into the field
Every week, at least once a week, you need to go into the field to see if this area that you were thinking of could be a good one, to check if the new shopping center nearby is finally open or if new competitors are now settled in another area, etc. It is an endless work: there are always things that imply to go and check. Of course, this is part of the job, but it is very time-consuming and it forces you to be on your car (sometimes stuck for hours).
And what if you could save 20h a week working on this task?
2. Find sources of reliable data
What is more, you take your decision most of the time because of your gut feelings that this place is going to be a great one for a business you know by heart. Nevertheless what you do not know accurately are the external factors of a location you want to settle in. Then the issue is the following one: you have already tried to work with real estate agencies or consulting firms but most of the time it turns out to be very expensive and not at the level of granularity, nor with the kind of data you were looking for. Then it seems difficult to have access to the best information, the one that suits you perfectly without going on the field.
And what if you could find reliable data sources?
3. Justifying decisions to the top management
Deciding to open a new point of sales implies huge investments, that is why you need to give arguments about the location you select and why you think this is going to be a good spot for your business. Then your experience and gut feeling are the main keys you can use. But what about objective data that you would like to collect about the population you can capture in the area, the presence of competitors and the pedestrian traffic in that precise street? This would be objective data that would clearly make a difference in your argumentation with the top management.
And what if you could support your decision with those objective analysis?
Then, not going into the field for hours, using reliable and granular sources in order to find the best location for your business seems to be an unachievable task.
In fact, this is possible thanks to the Location Intelligence. Indeed, those kind of applications, platforms and solutions are very varied but they all have one common point: helping you visualizing an area in the map in order to analyse it.
What is more, for the most advanced of them, they give you pre charged database that allows you to have a much more global vision than before on a precise area and its dynamics without moving from your work The data given is socio-demographic, socio-economic, commercial and about the pedestrian traffic, or the consumption made within specific sectors for example. This will help you visualizing and understanding the dynamics of a precise area.
Some are even Geo Business Intelligence solutions that include pre made analysis helping you to dig into the characteristics of an area, comparing already existing location to potential ones and thus finding the best places to open a new point of sale.
For example, if this year you plan to open ten new stores, you will have to visit maybe ten locations for each one. For those approximately thousand of visits, you will have to plan to go there and walk around the area analysing the factors that could be interesting for you , then going back and writing a resume about each location to discard them or choose them according to the cases. Whereas using Location Intelligence tools, you can, directly from your office, study locations you thought could be interesting, discard those that you know from facts that won’t work (low pedestrian traffic, too close to competitors or without the client’s required profile, etc.) and focus only on the promising ones. What is more of this huge time saver, you will be able to present complete, detailed and accurate analysis to your top management, in order to justify your openings’ choices backed by objective data.
In a nutshell, Location Intelligence is a game changer for your daily activities as an expansion manager, allowing better results: increasing your new stores performances and thus their ROI, bringing your new openings to the next level.