Most examples of location analytics are centred on large scales, such as customer activity across regions of a country, or more medium areas like neighborhoods in a city. However, the same technology and principles can be just as effective on a tiny scale, such as in different parts of a retail store.
The key to this idea is that location analytics refers to any way of visualising data on a geographic basis, however small the geography. All that changes is the nature of gathering that data.
Within individual retail stores, such data doesn’t usually come from usual location analytics sources such as overall site revenues or census records. Instead, it’s data based on departments within the store. At its simplest level, this involves examining sales and profitability data for different product sectors and cross-referencing this with the store layout.
At a more tech-savvy level, companies can use Bluetooth and other wireless technologies to engage customers with smartphones via special offers that only appear when they are in the relevant aisle, in turn making it easier to track their route around the store. One French chain is even experimenting with a customer app that’s triggered by special LEDs in store that can pinpoint the specific section of shelving the customer is facing.
What’s the benefit of having such data displayed via location analytics? It’s all about making the most of the available space by arranging products in the most profitable way, balancing customer convenience with the need to get the right blend of profitability and quantity of sales for different products.
Of course, the scaling of location analytics for retail design doesn’t have to go down to this level. It could work well when scouting for retail locations. For example, a service station franchise owning several fast food chains and shops could use the data to figure out how to arrange these combinations to best maximise profitability. Alternatively, the owners of a retail park could utilise the data to persuade companies in a specific retail sector to fill a particular vacant facility.