Location Analysis: Three Questions to Ask

Location analytics built on spatial data can help find your next business location, but it's only when it's combined with other data that you can understand your customers, manage supply chain issues better, and make your next investment smarter.

First question: Do you need a location analytics solution, or are you looking to acquire foot traffic data, or points of interest data?

The phrases 'location analysis' and 'location intelligence' cover a lot of ground. 

location analysis

Are we talking about real time location based data from mobile devices? The ability to process such pure, unfiltered data safely and securely? Perhaps software for gleaning insights from location data, or data visualization tools to help bring the insights to life? Or maybe you just need to acquire some type of location data and ingest it into your own analytics solution for a specific use case?

Figure out ahead of time exactly what you're looking for and your path to smarter decision making will be much shorter and less complex. If you're not sure, schedule a meeting with Unacast and we'll be happy to help walk you through things.

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Second question: What other data sources (e.g. geographical data, business data) do you want to work with?

Unacast routinely works with consultants, software companies, investors, insurers and others that want aggregated location data to add as alpha into their own confluence of data streams (e.g. demographic data, transaction data). In this case, clearly defining how location data is expected to interact with and add to the output of the combined data stream is essential.

The use cases for finance, insurance, real estate, telcos and supply chain logistics are all very different. Dealing with a location data provider with experience servicing the unique needs of your own industry is important. Otherwise, you are likely to overspend on a klujey data set that's tough to ingest and even harder to use.

location analytics

While the demographic data requirement (age, education, income etc.) is most pronounced in retail site selection use cases, it is becoming very common for the insurance industry and real estate investment industry to want to include some level of insight as to the demographic makeup of a given population area, or consumer profile.

Likewise, when combined with transactional data of the sort owned by many companies, location intelligence and human mobility data can paint a portrait of movement, intent, and consumer action. Further fused with the accurate demographic data mentioned above, this creates rare insight.

Third question: Rather than site selection, are you interested in location information and artificial intelligence (AI) as a tool of competitive intelligence, or to improve business processes?

site selection

Business location analysis for site selection is important, but it's not the only use case for location intelligence. Location data can be used throughout the enterprise, to help manage the supply chain, keep an eye on the competition, improve your business processes, or conduct a growth analysis.

In one supply chain use case, a leading paper goods supplier studied how the exodus from offices effected their need to deliver goods. They found out that what they needed to move, when and where, had drastically altered in downtown business areas.

In one very cool use case Unacast examined, a major retailer goes through a detailed competitive intelligence process to find out where their target market currently shops and how they move between different brand locations in order to find their ideal location.

Business processes can be improved by location analysis in a variety of ways. 

By understanding when your customers shop from foot traffic analysis, you can schedule staff more efficiently. By understanding how your host community or facility is growing, you can plan your own growth more intelligently. By understanding who else your customers visit, you can inform key marketing relationships and tactics.

The point is, the business applications for location analysis are as broad as the datasets at your disposal. Narrowing down to what matters for your specific use case is part of the art of location data science.

A few words about site economics and logistics

The costs of a potential site for your business are important to consider – even if the location seems perfect, if it's not economically feasible, the business will not be successful, so there's no point setting up shop there. Your probably know them well, but here are a few basics to consider:

Do you want to buy, build, or rent space? What renovations are required before you use the space? Who is responsible for maintenance and repairs go-forward? How proximate are distribution centers and your suppliers? 

How will your staff get to and from work? Ditto for customers getting to and from your location? Is your host community growing? If so, how are demographics shifting? What’s that mean for localized foot traffic patterns around nearby points of interest? 

Frequently asked questions about location analytics

What should a location analysis include?

A location analysis should include the following elements:

  • Demographic analysis: Understanding population data, such as age, income, and lifestyle, can determine if your target market is present in the area and if your products or services will be in demand.
  • Market analysis: Understanding the local competition, market saturation, and market trends.
  • Site analysis: Evaluating the physical characteristics of a potential location, including access, visibility, and foot traffic.
  • Accessibility analysis: Analyzing transportation and connectivity, such as proximity to highways, public transportation, and pedestrian access, can help determine the accessibility of the location for customers and employees.
  • Economic analysis: Understanding the local economic conditions, such as unemployment rate, per capita income, and real estate market, can help determine the economic viability of a location.
  • Environmental analysis: Evaluating environmental factors, such as natural hazards, environmental risks, and sustainability, can help determine potential risks.
  • Geographic information systems (GIS) analysis: Utilizing GIS technology and geospatial data, such as human mobility data and demographic data, can help you make an informed decision about your potential investment.

What is the importance of location analysis?

Location analysis helps businesses make informed decisions about selecting their ideal physical locations, which can have a significant impact on their success. It also helps businesses make better decisions more quickly in the future. Some of the key benefits of location analysis include:

  1. Intelligent site selection: A thorough location analysis helps businesses make the best possible choice for their business in determining a new location.
  2. Better market understanding: Location analysis requires companies to gain a comprehensive understanding of the local market and determine the potential demand for their products or services.
  3. Increased efficiency: By analyzing transportation and other accessibility factors, businesses can determine the best locations to optimize for foot traffic, efficient operations, supply chain, and distribution.
  4. Reduced risk: Location analysis can help mitigate potential environmental and economic risks.

What is a location analysis in a business plan?

Location analysis, also known as site selection, is the process of gathering and analyzing data in order to analyze a site, or multiple sites, for a potential business location. A location analysis in a business plan includes a comprehensive examination of the physical, economic, and demographic characteristics of a potential location. The purpose is to determine the viability of a particular location for the business and to provide information that will inform strategic decisions.

What are the different location analysis methods?

  • Demographic analysis
  • Market analysis
  • Foot traffic analysis
  • Accessibility analysis
  • Economic analysis
  • Environmental analysis
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS) analysis

What is the purpose of a location strategy?

The purpose of a location strategy is to ensure that a business is located in the best possible place to maximize its chances of success.

Next steps

Don't just ask questions about location analysis, get the answers you need. Schedule a meeting now with one of our friendly location data experts, or request a data sample to get started.

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