Geography and retail are so intertwined that it’s no surprise retail analysts have been using mapping their Excel data for years. Loyalty cards, store locations, site selection, market entry and so many other factors rely heavily on location data.
This post is about how mapping software can be used to get to grips with data and optimize numerous areas of your retail operations.
1) Easily visualize store locations
At the simplest level, mapping software can empower retailers with easy to understand visuals of all their store locations.
Many retailers who use eSpatial for the first time to create heat maps, geographic dashboards and location reports are often surprised by the results or discover something they may have been missing in their spreadsheet data.
However, plotting locations on a map is only the first step – mapping software is about so much more than just pins or points.
2) Target promotions with customer locations
Localized and relevant advertising are becoming the standard for many retailers today. Customers want a personalized shopping experience both online and offline.
By understanding stores in relation to customer locations, retailers can target promotions to certain segments of customers based on past purchases or preferences.
Mapped Excel data makes it easy to create geographic reports on regions that match specific criteria. Obtaining this pertinent data is only a few clicks away and the results are eye-catching and easily understood – meaning decisions around marketing can be made quickly and purposefully.
3) Optimize delivery with supplier locations
Supply chain relationships are complex, whether they’re on a global or local scale. Maximizing resources and delivering stock at the right time has a severe effect on the bottom line.
By understanding supplier locations in relation to stores and high value customers, retailers can ensure efficient stock delivery. This strategy is quick to implement by mapping data and analyzing possible routes and distances.
4) Get ahead by understanding competitor locations
Advertising, sales, purchasing and market entry depend heavily on competitor activity. Location is so central to these competitive retail decisions that the data needs to viewed and analyzed appropriately and in a time efficient way.
Visualizing and predicting the effect of competitor entry is a powerful asset and easily achieved with mapping software. Furthermore, geo analytics can be used to determine optimal regions for expansion or market entry.
5) Relate online and offline channels
For many retailers today, online activity cannot be ignored. However, getting a single view of the customer across online, offline, mobile and social channels can be extremely difficult.
Mapping software can offer some solutions. It is surprising to many people just how much online data is geo specific. Geo location apps, check in’s and e-commerce are all heavily dependent on accurate location data. IP addresses are even location sensitive and can be tracked as far as city level.
Aggregating, visualizing and analyzing this data with mapping software can help give the data meaning and often yields surprising results. This data becomes even more of a strategic weapon when it is simultaneously layered with offline customer data to understand patterns and relationships.
6) Make quick decisions with one central data source
Almost all of the retailers I work with have the same challenge with their data. They can get to grips with the majority of it but it requires multiple systems, a lot of manual effort and they have no central dashboard for quick decision making.
As retail is so location specific, geographic dashboards often solve a lot of these problems by providing quick and easy to understand visuals. The ability to distil hundreds or thousands of data points into a single heat map with combined charts and graphs makes data informed decisions making much easier.
7) Present important data internally and externally
Get the right data into the right hands at the right time is often a challenge for modern retailers. The communication of relevant data can be a long and manual process.
Mapping software provides the ability to export maps and geographic dashboards in a variety of formats as well as enabling emailing and sharing of maps.
Alternatively many retailers use mapping software to communicate store locations, promotions and relevant information to customer through their websites, email newsletters or even direct mail. Maps can also help connect retailers to their audience by communicating information visually.
Understanding and analyzing retail data is no longer exclusively in the hands of analysts or market researchers. People in all departments from marketing and sales to management should have access to fast, easy and powerful tools for exploring data. The visual and relatable nature of mapping software makes this possible.
It is easier than ever to use mapping software to make the most of your retail data. You can get started in minutes with a free trial of eSpatial.