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“There are three things that matter in property: location, location, location.” Attributed to British real estate mogul Lord Harold Samuel in 1956, this expression rings true decades after it was published. Brick-and-mortar brands are especially familiar with the power of this phrase because, when it comes to establishing a new store, it’s all about – you guessed it – location, location, location. Where you put down roots matters; it’s relevant to your branded look and feel, it boosts foot traffic and it makes shopping more convenient for core demographics. Ask any retail marketer and they’ll tell you just how much planning goes into selecting the perfect spot for brands to set up shop – factors range from broad to extremely granular and even the smallest detail can make a huge impact. With online shopping growing in popularity, brick-and-mortar stores need to hold their own now more than ever, so, before you pick a place for your brick-and-mortar store, check out our list of ways you can use GPS to maximize retail ROI.

1. Map Out Local Foot Traffic

Foot traffic, or the number of visitors to a store, is one of the biggest success factors in retail because more visitors equates to more sales. From a high level, urban areas see more foot traffic than rural areas, but these population-dense locations often come at a higher price tag. If your location relies heavily on walk-ins, then the location may be worth the rent, but, if you’re an appointment-only location, a high-traffic location may not be as important. Foot traffic also varies at different points in the day – some retail locations might see peak traffic in the morning or on the weekends – and, based on what your brand is selling, this information could directly affect retail location selection. If your store tends to see more traffic during different times of the day or week, you’re going to also want to select a location that showcases the same pattern. Access is another major factor to consider when finding the perfect space. Locations that are close to freeways, boast large parking lots and exhibit highly visible signage are more likely to catch the attention of potential shoppers while catering to their need for convenience.

2. Consider Target Demographics

To maximize foot traffic, your retail location should be highly visible to your target audience. What do we mean by target audience? That’s a catch-all term that refers to your loyal customer base and the customers you’re trying to reach. For example, if your brand is primarily geared toward men and women between the ages of 18 and 25, you should seek out a brick-and-mortar store that’s near a college campus or another location that is associated with that particular demographic. If your target audience is millennials, doing a deep dive will indicate that, as of 2015, Colorado Springs, Colorado, San Antonio, Texas, and Denver, Colorado, have seen the most young adult population growth than any other American city, making them excellent spots for millennial-focused brands. Key interests and lifestyle also play into finding the best retail location, as certain retail brands might be better associated with a rustic, urban or beachside setting. Accounting for important, location-based information, like average education level, age, type of employment, median income level and purchase history, will create a more detailed customer profile from location to location, so you can better determine the best place for your brand to take root.

3. Perform a Competitive Analysis

When establishing your brick-and-mortar location, the last thing you want is to be positioned directly next to a competitor. As the only brand that fulfills a certain need in the local area, shoppers will be more likely to choose your store over others that are less convenient to visit. To avoid sharing customers with the competition, perform a competitive analysis that compiles the names, addresses and offerings of similar retail stores in the area. While you’re looking at nearby competitors, also take the time to look for businesses that could enhance foot traffic, like movie theaters, restaurants and other entertainment centers. These types of retail locations typically see foot traffic overflow during peak hours, which could increase the likelihood of shoppers stopping into your store.

4. Inspect the Infrastructure

Choosing the right retail location isn’t all about foot traffic and appealing to core demographics – brands should also look at a building’s “bones” to determine if the infrastructure is sound enough to meet your needs. Older spaces may come with more charm and uniqueness, but they are not always outfitted with the storage space, Wi-Fi and modern, open concept layouts expected of a modern retail store. If you plan on completely renovating a space, research zoning laws to make sure your remodeling process is as worry-free as possible. There’s nothing more stressful than running into unexpected road bumps when developing your new store location and making this extra effort will guarantee your store opens on schedule.

Establishing a brick-and-mortar location is an investment that requires strategic planning to be successful. Just like any marketing campaign, factors like foot traffic, demographics and nearby competition should be considered in the early phases of planning to ensure you set up shop in the right place. Follow these tips and your location, location, location will see result, results, results.

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