Clients & Case Studies

Getting Location Down to a Science

Getting Location Down to a Science

How The Shopping Center Group leverages mobile data to take site selection strategies to a new level

The Shopping Center Group (TSCG) has a saying when it comes to retail site selection: If you are off by an inch, you are off by a mile. With a rapidly expanding list of retail clients needing to make smart location decisions, TCSG knows there is zero room for error.

With the bar set this high, TSCG Director of Innovation and Technology, Gregg Katz, spoke to the eSite Analytics blog about the daily challenges and rewards of his job.

Success in Motion

Gregg Katz, TCSG Director of Innovation and Technology

Gregg Katz, The Shopping Center Group

As a leading retail real estate advisory firm, TSCG leverages eSite Analytics to evaluate, plan and execute location strategies—with motion data provided by the INRIX database. The process, Katz emphasizes, is totally different from the “pin and map” approaches of the past.

There is no room for error in our business when it comes to choosing a retail site,” says Katz. “Innovative planning gives our clients an edge. To paraphrase Wayne Gretzky, we anticipate not just where customers are now, but also where they are going to be.

To accomplish this goal, Katz appends motion data from INRIX to clients’ existing retail locations to analyze all variables—from competitors to customers—with easily visualized maps. He then goes a step further to help retail clients where the best customers are now and where they will live and shop in the future.

“We’re talking a bird’s-eye and street-level view of customer behavior in the same glance. The stuff you can’t see on a simple map,” says Katz.

The benefits of eSite Analytics mapping technology

The benefits of eSite Analytics mapping technology

The Meaning Behind Motion

Katz is quick to point out that motion data and eSite Analytics’ technology differs in another key way from past approaches. “Data capture and demographic information today must be dynamic, not static,” says Katz.

Katz elaborated upon the difference: “Our current platform allows us to capture raw demographics and then go deeper to actually create psychographic profiles of customers and more. Drawing concentric circles on a map then ‘pinning’ locations is static. It cannot tell you the why, where or how of customer motion.”

eSite Analytics helps Katz test and validate or disprove certain fixed assumptions that people or even brokers might have about a location, such as “People will never cross that highway to shop in a different location.” By providing evidence-insights, eSite Analytics allows TSCG to put science behind such assumptions.

Mapping with demographic detail and personas for site location selection

Mapping with demographic detail and personas

Clients at the Center

Katz has centralized an enviable trove of demographic, psychographic and motion data at The Shopping Center Group. From this nerve center, Katz also uses eSite Analytics tools to provide more than 900 internal and external clients with data at their fingertips. “All to help them represent our clients as accurately as possible,” says Katz.

Thanks to the efforts of Katz and others, TSCG taps a variety of tools and data to augment a project. These include:

  1. Visually-depicted products (maps and aerials) or reports
  2. Site characteristics
    1. Traffic counts
    2. Consumer expenditure studies
    3. Market optimization analyses
    4. Market characteristics
      1. Competition studies
      2. Retailer void analyses
      3. Demographic Characteristics
        1. Demographics—Based on Radii, trade area or drive time
        2. Consumer lifestyle segmentation (Psychographics)
        3. Thematic shading
        4. Density shadings
        5. And much more

Completing the “Location Triangle”

Finally, while technology can do great things, it is also possible to drown a customer in data. TSCG approaches eSite Analytics and INRIX data from a “triangular” perspective to assure their insights remain level-headed.

Demographics tell us where the customers are. Psychographics give us a sense of what they think. Motion data tells us how they move around and spend their days, weeks and month,” says Katz. “The ‘big picture’ for our clients, then, is really a triangle, with each point informing and balancing out the other.

Put another way, using eSite Analytics assures that TSCG clients remain aligned with customer business objectives now and in the future.

eSite AnalyticsGetting Location Down to a Science
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Duluth Trading Partners with eSite Analytics to Identify Expansion Opportunities

Duluth Trading Partners with eSite Analytics to Identify Expansion Opportunities

Specialty Clothing Retailer Experiencing “Milestone Year”

Charleston, SC (May, 2016)Duluth Trading, the clothing retailer of inventive and functional workwear, is entering a period of expansion with assistance from analytics partner eSite Analytics.

In leveraging TrailBlazer™, eSite Analytics’ 360° retail analytics tool, the Wisconsin-headquartered retailer is able to identify the sites and marketing opportunities that will best support its customer base and their communities.

“Spatial analysis is the key to strategic store growth, and we’re excited to assist Duluth Trading with the granular level of customer insights needed to expand profitably,” said eSite Analytics President Charles Wetzel.

Duluth Trading is currently preparing to open two new stores and is analyzing dozens of markets to identify those with the strongest network potential for the brand based on trade area analysis, customer segmentation and proprietary retail modeling.

eSite Analytics will continue to assist the company as it carefully analyzes additional markets opportunities.

For more information on Duluth Trading’s current growth and excitement building around the company’s expansion plans, check out these recent media stories:


About eSite Analytics
eSite Analytics has been providing location-based spatial analytics insights to consumer brands since 1997. The first retail analytics firm to leverage GPS trip data for marketing and site selections, our innovative tools and expert analysis have guided the growth many of America’s most recognized retailers and restaurants.

eSite AnalyticsDuluth Trading Partners with eSite Analytics to Identify Expansion Opportunities
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How Spatial Data Turns Good Retail Ideas into Growing Brands

How Spatial Data Turns Good Retail Ideas into Growing Brands

It’s 5:15 p.m. on a Tuesday when Sally Owens is driving seven-year-old Pete home from soccer practice. He’s hungry, she needs to grab a new phone charger and dad’s at home waiting on a box of hinges to fix the kitchen cabinets.

She takes a right at Conner Street and pops into a big-box retailer for the charger. A few doors down is the hardware store, so mother and son step inside and ask a sales associate to help them find the hinges. By 5:45 p.m. they’re in line at the nextdoor mediterranean restaurant for a takeout meal. A short while later, the Owens’ SUV pulls into the driveway brimming with plastic bags. Everything the family needed was neatly packed into one quick-and-easy shopping trip conveniently located on the way home from soccer.

Coincidence? Not by a long shot. The brands that benefited from Sally’s shopping excursion knew exactly what she needed and where she’d be when she went to buy it. They’ve analyzed countless pockets of their very best customers to determine who those shoppers are, where they travel, what marketing they respond to and which locations best meet their day-to-day needs.

This is precisely the kind of scenario that results from using spatial data to turn a good a retail idea into a growing brand.

Why analyze spatial data?

Spatial data is the key to getting it right every time. This location-based data—everything from mailing addresses and proximities to trade areas and territories—can be used to unlock deep insights about your company, customers and competitors.

Analysis of spatial data is what lets you see who’s driving where (and when), how one location impacts another and which pockets of customers hold the most promise for your brand. Without this highly detailed information on where customers live, work, drive, shop, recreate and more, your company may never reach the full potential of its data.

To better understand the impacts of spatial analysis, let’s look at a recent example.

Real-Life Example of Spatial Data Analysis

In the early 1990’s, a young entrepreneur named Brian Schultz opened a small movie-theater-restaurant. It was like most dining-style theaters at the time, where moviegoers could dine on basic bar food and beer while watching second-run motion pictures on a single screen. Then Schultz had an idea:

Why not expand to an upscale area, use a bigger building and convince Hollywood studios to provide first-run films?

It was a truly original idea. But without spatial data to prove demand for the concept, it took a long while to gain momentum and get support. Still, Schultz persisted. After months of pitches and pavement pounding, Studio Movie Grill landed its first-ever first-run movie screening—which ended up being the top gross in all of Dallas, Texas.

By 2012, Hollywood studios were lined up to get on Studio Movie Grill’s scheduled. New releases were being served up alongside freshly-made meals, and local customers were coming in droves.

Around this time the company was facing another huge challenge:

How to expand the concept beyond Texas.

The spatial data difference

The potential for Studio Movie Grill to grow on a national scale was big—but how big was anyone’s guess. Which markets should the brand enter first? Which areas should be avoided? And how do decision-makers reduce the risk of choosing a wrong location?

With many Americans trading in the traditional theater experience for at-home streaming and HDTVs, answering these questions was crucial. So Studio Movie Grill decided to follow a multi-tiered approach to growth. It looked something like this:

  1. Identify the segments of your best customers: who they are, where they live and how they buy
  2. Pinpoint pockets of those best customers to identify ideal trip and traffic trade areas
  3. Determine where there’s enough demand to support the concept and decide how many locations could potentially thrive in markets across America
  4. Divide, corner and conquer the niche

In October 2015, when Studio Movie Grill opened its first location in Simi Valley, CA, reporter Scott Mendelson had this to say about the concept in a Forbes review:

“Would I go to this theater again? Absolutely, and not just because it’s five minutes closer to my house than the Cinepolis…the Regal in Simi Valley…and the Muvico in Thousand Oaks. This goes along with my efforts to try to experience a variety of theatrical movie going options.”

It’s precisely the kind of customer response that comes from data-driven decisions. If you want to turn a great idea into a growing brand, start by analyzing your spatial data.

P.S. TrailBlazer™, eSite Analytics 360° retail analytics tools, is capable of handling this exact spatial analysis process. Learn more here. (Or request a demo.)

eSite AnalyticsHow Spatial Data Turns Good Retail Ideas into Growing Brands
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For sweetFrog, the Growth is in the Analysis

For sweetFrog, the Growth is in the Analysis

Frozen Yogurt Franchise Partners with eSite Analytics for Expansion Strategies

Charleston, SC (April, 2016)—Frozen yogurt franchise sweetFrog has partnered with eSite Analytics to help provide guidance for the brand’s aggressive expansion strategies.

“From a franchise growth perspective, in 2016 we will be pushing forward with aggressive plans to expand sweetFrog’s footprint,” Chief Marketing Officer Matt Smith told Franchsing.com. “The opportunity for international expansion is huge.”

eSite Analytics will provide a mix of expert analysis and proprietary location-based insights leveraging TrailBlazer™, the firm’s 360° analytics tool for restaurants and retailers.

“Our goal is to leverage location-based data in a way that empowers sweetFrog to expand as profitably and quickly as possible in today’s market,” said eSite Analytics president Charles Wetzel.

For more insights on sweetFrog’s plans for growth, read CMO Matt Smith’s excellent interview with franchising.com.


About eSite Analytics
eSite Analytics has been providing location-based spatial analytics insights to consumer brands since 1997. The first retail analytics firm to leverage GPS trip data for marketing and site selections, our innovative tools and expert analysis have guided the growth many of America’s most recognized retailers and restaurants.

eSite AnalyticsFor sweetFrog, the Growth is in the Analysis
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