Clients & Case Studies

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 “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

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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PDQ Selects eSite Analytics to Assist with Expansion Strategies

PDQ Selects eSite Analytics to Assist with Expansion Strategies

TrailBlazer™ to Play Key Role in Identifying Market Potential

Charleston, SC (March, 2016)PDQ, the fast-casual chain specializing in quality made-to-order meals, has selected spatial analytics firm eSite Analytics to help guide the company’s expansion strategies for 2016 and beyond.

eSite Analytics will provide a range of location analysis services to help PDQ with critical decisions related to strategic store growth and marketing. TrailBlazer™, the 360° analytics tool for retailers and restaurants, gives the brand a big advantage in selecting market opportunities based on the needs and locations of its best customers.

“When you consider the company’s commitment to quality, it’s easy to see why PDQ is experiencing such incredible growth,” said eSite Analytics President Charles Wetzel. “We’re excited to give such a successful company an even greater competitive advantage.”

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 AnalyticsPDQ Selects eSite Analytics to Assist with Expansion Strategies
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Captain D’s Announces Most Successful Year Yet

Captain D’s Announces Most Successful Year Yet

In a move that caused a lot of buzz in the fast casual and quick service segments, eSite Analytics client Captain D’s announced that 2015 was the seafood franchise’s most successful year in company history. Here are the highlights:

  • The franchise established an all-time system-wide average unit volume record, marking the brand’s third consecutive year of AUV record growth
  • A 4.3% systemwide same-store sales increase marked the company’s 17th consecutive quarter and 5th consecutive year of positive growth
  • 7 new franchise development agreements were entered at the close of 2015

“2015 was another record-setting year for Captain D’s, and we’re continuing to build upon this momentum as we kick off a new year,” said Chief Executive Officer and President Phil Greifeld. “As 2016 gets underway, I look forward to expanding Captain D’s presence as we continue to make an undeniable impact in the marketplace.”

Captain D’s by the Numbers

The following statistics are taken directly from Captain D’s franchising website:

  • #1 seafood franchise in America, ranked by average unit volume
  • New stores currently average $1.4 million in annual sales
  • 2015 marked the brand’s 5th consecutive year of same-store sales growth
  • Captain D’s is currently the nation’s seafood fast-casual leader with 513 restaurants in 26 states

Captain D’s in the News

For a snapshot of the media buzz around these impressive numbers, check out some of the latest industry coverage:

Fast Casual:
Captain D’s 2015 same-store sales on the rise
Captain D’s Achieves Record-Breaking Success in 2015

QSR Magazine:
Captain D’s Hits Record AUV Third Year in a Row

Would you like to know how your franchise can achieve similar results? Schedule a demo of TrailBlazer, the eSite Analytics platform, to learn how restaurants and retailers can make better marketing and site selection decisions.

eSite AnalyticsCaptain D’s Announces Most Successful Year Yet
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Congratulations to Citi Trends!

Congratulations to Citi Trends!

eSite Analytics client CitiTrends made headlines this month when shares “surged a whopping 25.2%…after the company reported better-than-expected second-quarter fiscal 2015 sales and earnings.”

The fashion retailer’s sales advanced 6.1% year over year to $153.9 million, and we couldn’t be more excited for our partner in spatial analytics.

Investment research firm Zacks attributed much of the tremendous growth to an increase in the number of customer transactions, while other reports noted the brand’s successful expansion into profitable geographical markets.

Zacks also had this to say about the announcement:

“Further, the company indicated that the third quarter has started on a strong note with comps up 6% for the first two weeks of August, driven by a shift in the tax free holiday to August this year from July end last year. Moreover, a better transition from spring to fall season merchandise this year drove the improvement in comps.”

What’s next for Citi Trends?

CitiTrendsLogoThere’s talk of opening 13 new stores, relocating or expanding 13 existing ones and renovating as many as 25 others in the coming fiscal year.

Wondering how eSite Analytics can help you achieve similar results? Let’s talk! Get in touch any time to chat with a member of our team or schedule a demo of eSite Tools and innovations.

eSite AnalyticsCongratulations to Citi Trends!
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