by Marianne Hillhouse, Account Executive and Susan Ertl, Retail Network Planning Consultant
Information is indeed power. For every business, information sells. And for every product at a site — fuel and convenience retail, quick service restaurant or car wash — information leads to sound decisions (and those decisions make money).
The same is true for new site considerations, remodels, and raze and rebuild candidates. We've spoken before about the need for data in your decision-making process, and in this post, we'll share specific data points you should incorporate into your single-site investment decision, as well as how this information can help you succeed.
Whether you are re-branding an existing site, doing a full raze and rebuild or changing from a service station to large convenience store, approach your analysis with a holistic perspective. Your assessment should include a well-rounded view of the data. Consider various elements of the full site, along with your pre-defined assumptions and your goal.
With that in mind, the type of information you'll want to uncover can best be defined as quantitative data about your site's strengths and weaknesses compared to the competition. Consider, for instance, just one aspect of your store: your forecourt. What's the lot size? How many fueling positions are available to simultaneously serve customers? How many parking spaces? What should the square footage of the store be, with reference to the lot and how the store can best accommodate customers with their services and offerings? Additionally, consider how these site characteristics compare to the competitive sites within the trade area.
All of these data points will lead to strong predictions of whether or not a given set of characteristics would net the goal you've identified. In other words, if you have the right set of input, your output will lead to a stronger decision. Maybe the first assumption you analyze is not strong in the market, but the second assumption analyzed may produce an ideal outcome.
Other data points uncovered in this process should include quantifiable aspects of each of the seven elements of retail site success — market, location, facilities, operations, merchandise, brand and price. Within each of these elements of your future site, there lies a trove of information that can be ingested by a sophisticated data model to predict your site's outcome.
For location and facilities, two of the seven elements, forecourt capacity and the number of parking spaces available at a site drive the volumetric effectiveness. But you'll also want to consider other aspects of location. Is the site near a major traffic artery? What is the traffic flow of this artery? Is the area residential? Commercial or industrial? Is the site accessible from a major thoroughfare, state road or interstate? Does the site have residential support? Residential demand can be impacted by socioeconomic factors like income, education level, age of population, etc. All of these data points can be valuable in the site analysis process.
While your site data can only take you so far — right up to your decision point, if you consider the site characteristics of your competitors, you may be able to compete more successfully with your site offerings. Perhaps you wanted fewer parking spaces on your new lot, for aesthetic purposes, but predictive modeling tells you that your competition has more parking spaces. To effectively compete, adding additional spaces will contribute to a better volumetric impact at your site.
With a Kalibrate single site analysis, the output considers a careful, detailed and sophisticated review of all compiled and relevant data defined within the 7 Elements of Retail Success. After all, information is power.