Defining Catchment Areas: 6 Questions Retailers Need to Ask

Identifying your catchment area is essential, whether you're a brick-and-mortar retailer, an omnichannel or an e-commerce business looking to open a physical outlet. So what is a catchment area? It's a geographic area from which a business attracts a population that uses its services. In other words, the area that "catches" your existing or prospective customers. A catchment area can be refined based on several different factors. For instance, it can be based on distances or travel times from sales outlets to target customer locations or on key demographic characteristics such as household type, age, gender or socio-economic background. 

Bombarded with so much information, more and more retailers are now looking for an easy solution that will help them mark out the right catchment area. Thankfully, the days of making sense of impenetrable facts and figures in Excel spreadsheets are gone. Instead, for retailers, location intelligence is the new paradigm. The CleverMaps platform is a decision-support tool that visualizes your catchment area using easy-to-read maps. Not only does it define the catchment area for your existing stores, but it also forecasts the ideal regions of interest for your up-and-coming outlets. So how can retail professionals get the most out of their catchment areas? We've come up with four helpful questions: 

1. Who are your customers, and where do they come from?

We've learned that your business catchment area should ideally be populated by consumers who will purchase your products. Most retailers obtain their customers' details and addresses from data collected through loyalty programmes or from their transaction databases, including online/e-shop orders and in-store purchases. Thanks to map visualization, you can view the distribution of these addresses at different levels of granularity within your catchment area and better understand what types of customers you are attracting.

Who are your customers, and where do they come from?

Catchment area showing where from are the customers coming to your store. View in map

2. What is the market share throughout the network? 

There's a school of thought that your client penetration will be higher in regions closest to your stores and lower in areas more out of reach. But this is only sometimes the case. Visualizing the size and demographics of your catchment area allows you to make a more nuanced assessment. The CleverMaps solution enriches customer data with demographics from the most recent censuses, placing market potential, share and penetration in a geospatial context. Then you can even find out how extensive the customer base is and the turnover potential, which still needs to be covered.
What is the market share throughout the network? 

Visualization of the market penetration 

3. What is the market share of my business compared to the competition?

The catchment area analysis enables us to find catchment areas that overlap with your competitors based on branch availability and to find locations without competition. Thanks to a combination of data (population, natural catchment areas of branches, branches of many competitors, modelling of competitor's turnover based on location criteria...), you can find answers to these questions in a few clicks.
Which competitors are cannibalising on your network? 

Comparison of two stores to detect cannibalisation. View in map

4. Are there stores within your network cannibalizing each other? 

Competition within the same or similar catchment can be even worse than from the real competitor because it means the same or an equal number of customers and revenue for double the cost. Location Intelligence solutions allow you to compare the catchment areas of your stores, identify the dominant catchment for each and measure the overlaps. This gives you accurate information to help you make sounder business decisions and keep your network intact. 

Where should you open new stores without cannibalising your own business?

White Spaces Analysis in CleverMaps

5. Where should you open new stores without cannibalizing your own business?

This also feeds into the last question. Searching for the right location to situate your next store is challenging. You might assume that opening an additional outlet in an already-thriving catchment area that contains your existing stores might be a good move. But the "inner competition" you face within your network must be carefully thought out. So, again, Location Intelligence will help you identify the white spaces in your business.

6. Is the availability of your branches sufficient for your current and potential customers? Do your branches have the opportunity to reach most of the purchasing power?

Many people think being close to their customers is the most essential part. However, to cover all potential customers by opening a few branches, they must be in the right places. And on the other side, you can avoid duplication and cannibalization of your branches based on the availability of your branches to the customers or potential customers. With Location Intelligence, you can optimize your branch network (i.e. close, merge, relocate) and save costs while maintaining the availability of your branches to your customers.

 All these questions are easy to answer on an interative map, where you have all the data you need. So why don't you check out our Catchment Area Analysis solution or head straight to book a demo with us? 

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