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