Location intelligence is the future of retail

Jaime Sánchez-Laulhé, CEO and founder of Geoblink 

There’s no denying the power of big data and its ability to revolutionise operations within the business world. As time progresses, more and more companies will turn to Location Intelligence as a means to take strategic and informed decisions regarding their businesses and maintain their competitive edge. This is especially true for the retail, fast-moving consumer goods, and real estate sectors.

For these industries, location is everything. But with the explosion of online channels complicating the traditional panorama, location takes on a whole new meaning.

So, what are the components of a “perfect location”?

The elements that determine an ideal location for the retail industry depend on a variety of different parameters that are in constant flux amidst a shifting landscape. The digital transformation of retail has brought into question the importance of having brick-and-mortar establishments as opposed to selling online. Contrary to popular belief, high street shopping is not dead—the traditional approach to high street shopping is.

In an omnichannel world, retailers should find ways to create engaging in-store experiences that communicate value to potential customers. This all starts with location. Retailers need to develop a deep understanding of the surroundings in which their establishments are present (or will be present). However, when we say “surroundings”, we are not just talking about the street where a store is located. For a store to be successful, retail companies should be keeping tabs on the competition in nearby areas and follow their movements closely. Likewise, sociodemographic data such as age, gender, income and the purchase behaviour of people living in a certain area also serve as powerful information to create tailored marketing campaigns capable of resonating with customers. From our experience, another essential location ingredient is the quality and quantity of footfall traffic a specific location receives on a daily basis. All of these components combined together are what make up the “perfect location recipe” for retailers today.

However, having access to all of these data sources isn’t enough to stay competitive in the retail industry. The true value lies in the ability to cross those data sources and enrich them to fit the different realities retailers face—this is what turns data into insight and where the concept of Location Intelligence comes into play.

The idea behind Location Intelligence is to not only to aggregate all of the different data sources mentioned above in an easy-to-use platform, but also use machine learning algorithms that enable companies to make predictions on where to take their business next. This accurate data and predictive capacity is what empowers retailers, FMCG brands and real estate companies of any size to maximise the efficiency of their store networks, make accurate sales forecasts, optimise distribution routes, launch tailored marketing campaigns and guide their expansion strategies.

The time of Location Intelligence is now, so retailers, FMCG brands and real estate companies can start taking actionable steps towards optimising their business strategies based on reliable data.

To learn more about how Geoblink can help you take informed decisions regarding your business strategy, please visit www.geoblink.com

by Jaime Sánchez-Laulhé, CEO and founder of Geoblink

Video Transcript:

Hello and welcome to Business Reporter's future of retail campaign. I'm Alastair Greener. For a few years now, an army of retail experts and consultants have pontificated about the end of the high-street stalls. Then suddenly, Amazon, whose name is synonymous with online trade, decided to open a brick and mortar store. Now, this sounds like the unimpeachable advocacy for the need of physical outlets. The big challenge is to decide where to open this store. Location matters, and not only for retailers, but also for many other industries. Real estate specialists plan very carefully where to invest. Entertainment centres must understand their local audience. And FMCG organisations need to know the best route for their distribution strategies. How much can we know about the local traits and the prospective customers? Well, this is what we're going to discuss today with Jaime Sánchez-Laulhé, founder and CEO of Geoblink.

Good morning, Jaime.

Good morning.

Now, this is the age of online retail, so why do we still need new stores?

People enjoy shopping in a store. That's a fact. It's not a matter of acquiring a product. It's about the whole experience. Let's say, for example, that you want to buy the perfect suit for your first day at work. What you will do is to go straight to the street and find the closest store that sells suits because you want to see the suit. You want to see if the suit fits you. And you will also have some advice. At the end, you're looking for the whole experience. And this is true in nine cities out of 10 in the world.

OK, but opening a new store is a huge challenge no matter how well we plan. If it's in the wrong spot, all our efforts are in vain. What makes a good location?

A good location is all about your client. You want to know where your client lives, where your client goes, what are their spending routine. Let's say, for example, that you want to open a nursery. You will try to find the right target. Families, right? You won't be opening a nursery in a student campus because it doesn't make any sense. So at the end, the real challenge is to find the right data to find your target. Let's say, social demographics data, traffic data, competition, and so on.

Where can we get this data from?

Now this data is everywhere, but sometimes the data is very hard to obtain. If I were an expansion manager trying to open a store, I would be very interested in estimating sales before opening a store. The old way of doing things would be sending someone to the street to call people and to run surveys to understand the client that is walking on these surroundings. With Geoblink, we are not just gathering public data. We have partnerships with banks, telecom operators, DPS providers, and so on, so we have great data on grid functionality ready for your decisions.

How do you contribute to the decision and action?

The key thing is the interpretation of data to understand what is the data telling you. And here is where Geoblink makes the huge difference. At Geoblink, we cherry-pick the data. We cook it, in a way. And we deliver it to you instantly in a very cool interface. Comparing these with a daily life example, let's say that you want to eat tonight tandoori masala chicken. For that, you have two options. First one is to find the spices for the recipe and cook it at home. It's quite hard. Second thing that you can do is to find the best Indian restaurant in town and make an order and have it delivered to you instantly. With Geoblink, it's basically the same thing. We want to be the best partner in town for you. So you have the right data, the right functionalities so you can make easy and very quick decisions.

Here, as you can see, you can display any kind of data in a map very quickly. Here is an example of competitors. You just check the box and all the data appears. We can also do a lot of analysis and functionalities. This is an example of cannibalization analysis. As you can see, you can run the analysis and have an estimation of the cannibalization very quickly on the right. Another analysis is sales forecast. You can estimate sales before opening a store and you will have a result here right on the banner. So it's very important to know that we build this tool together with our clients. So the analyses that they require are easy, quick, and powerful. We really focus on what matters for them, decisions and actions.

What other benefits can business people get from a location intelligent solution?

Benefits are countless as long as location is critical for your business. With Geoblink, you can decide where to open a store. You can use it in marketing for deciding where to perform specific marketing campaigns. You can use it to decide where to launch a product. And you can also use it for analysing a real estate asset. At this moment at Geoblink, we are focusing on three main verticals-- retail and services, fast-moving consumer goods, and real estate.

Yes, this looks very interesting. But how can someone manage all this big data information? I guess you need to have specific skills, don't you? I mean, what's the profile of the people using Geoblink?

So our main users are business professionals. So they don't require to have technical or advanced technical skills. In fact, the most advanced skills that they need is just clicking. So that's very easy to use, too. Main users are expansion analysts, category managers, or real estate analysts.

Well, it's been fascinating finding out more about all of these aspects of locations and why they're so important, and also to hear how technology can be involved in the solution, as well. Thank you very much indeed.

Thank you.