Market research app takes the guesswork out of site selection

June 4, 2012 Liz Mobile Apps

Location, location, location. Certain types of businesses–restaurants, retail shops, and personal service providers–live or die by location. But there is much more to finding the right real estate fit than locating along a heavily traveled route. (In some cases, high traffic can even be hurtful to business survival, but that’s a post for another day.)

Beyond reading tea leaves, how can you judge the feasibility of a prospective location? The first step is to download Esri’s Business Analyst Online (BAO) app, available for both Android and Apple products, on your smartphone or tablet. Type in your location–that is, if the device’s location service doesn’t detect it first. Voilà! You’ll find a demographic profile of the immediate area, including average household income, employment rate, education level, household size, median age, home ownership, and lifestyle information such as restaurant spending, hobbies, entertainment preferences, and news gathering habits.

The next step is to work with an ASBTDC consultant. You’ve now seen the tip of the iceberg … well, we have the iceberg! Among our market research resources, we subscribe to the more extensive, fully populated BAO web application. When I work with my clients, I assess their needs, adjust the service area radius as appropriate to the industry, identify competitors within the area, and work with our market research department to create more customized reports. The “street value” of a fully mapped GIS study and demographic tapestry segmentation is in the hundreds of dollars–but we make them available to ASBTDC clients free of charge.

As one of my clients quipped when viewing the demographics of his own business, “This tells me everything except what color toothbrush I use!” If you have or are starting a location-sensitive business, you will find this data useful, relevant, and fascinating. Just do it before you sign a three-year lease.


Android, apps, ASBTDC, demographics, iPad,

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