Any standardized businesses that are rolling out at national scales really need GIS. I just can’t overemphasize on that! Location based services are no longer an idea, but the difference between successful brands and the ever struggling businesses. Have you ever been to a town (or a street in Nairobi) and found various stores of the same brand within a few minutes walk? It seems contrary to intuition, but that is GIS at work. Supermarkets and restaurants can devise clever ways to target the market by simply placing their stores in very strategic places. In this article, we will explore ways GIS is being consumed for commercial progression in the chain stores industry.
Application of GIS in chain stores is yielding informed decisions through business intelligence. Mapping of various attributes of target markets using geo-platforms brings out a clearer picture. Analyzing the transport system of an urban center results in identifying prime positions for a store. For example, identifying potential locations close to bus stages and other public transport stops is very convenient for the store and a value addition for the consumer. Other industries professionals can also identify that, but GIS comes in when chain stores look at more precise factors like traffic patterns, population density, proximity of competitors and consumer demographics like spending power.
In most cases, relevant data may not be available. That is why the retail stores engage Geospatial experts in data collection, cleaning and processing before important information can be generated. Remember, chain stores aren’t interested about such processes. Businesses are in need of intelligence gathered about the market and how to make use of such information. Analytics consume data and help the business in projecting relevant information. Knowledge of the mean spending per person and traffic-congested times of the day in a given area is very critical. Such information makes it easy to determine the economic viability of opening a shop or even a second shop in a particular part of the town.
Let us explore a restaurant example. Using GIS, a restaurant can get useful information that can help them tailor their menus. When geo-analytics maps out areas with high coffee consumption rates around the restaurant, this helps the establishment to improve the quality of coffee and even introduce new varieties. If the map was about juice consumption or demand rates, the restaurant could introduce meals with free juice promotions depending on the information generated.
GIS is also integrated into other operations that assess the daily performance of stores, tracking field workforce as well as monitoring activities. This type of implementation allows stores to visualize both spatial and non-spatial data in very informative ways.
Outstanding brands are able to penetrate different markets thanks to brand environment competition. That is, the chain stores identify regional differences and local demographics when customizing their services and products. GIS is the tool that the big brands use to isolate demand and target markets based on local preferences. The end result is increased sales, effective business operations and reduced spending.
From the above examples, you will note that GIS provides chain stores with countless benefits. Utilization of GIS is continuously expanding and becoming a necessary component of business success and providing more opportunities. Creativity and competition of the retail stores will obviously result to more innovations in the applications of GIS. Be in the look out!