There is a critical method for getting more customers and it makes site selection dramatically easier. Despite this, real estate departments overlook it and consultants often miss it.
What is this important piece? Analyzing commuters.
What Conventional Methods Miss
We all know that people shop and dine with you more often if they’re frequently nearby.
So how do you find a location close enough to your potential customers? If you’re like most companies, you’re probably drawing a circle around the location to view demographic and lifestyle segments in the area.
But when you consider that the average US commute is 25.4 minutes long, radii modeling and drive times become undependable. Overlooking this fact negatively impacts your trade area analysis.
During rush hour in dense areas, those minutes might cover mere miles. Typically, though, commuting involves traveling from suburb to downtown or even city to city. It’s not at all unusual for professionals to drive 100 miles or more round trip, every day. Yet most demographic reports are built on who lives within 5, 10, or 15 miles of a site.
This means many of the people in your drive time ring are in fact nowhere near your location during working, shopping and consuming hours.
Factoring in Commuters Can Mean Higher Profits
Consider the hypothetical corporate office where employees are each weekday. A traditional ring or drive time might show an average income in the lower middle class range.
What it might not reveal are thousands of higher-level employees who average six figure salaries and drive in from suburbs. Do they live nearby? No. Will they shop, dine and run errands near a sprawling corporate campus? Of course!
These commuters present a huge opportunity for growing retailers, restaurants, banks and municipal planners—one that’s all too easy to miss with traditional rings and drive times.
Traditional site selection methods don’t always tell the whole story. For better-performing store locations, you have to consider commuters too.