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Market research: be careful when choosing the location of your store

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A customer recently asked us to help him decide between several locations for his next store. This exercise is like doing a little market research and it’s actually crucial to the success of your business. The wrong location can lead to the death of your business. You’d better spend a little time on your market research, wouldn’t you?
Here are a few tips we’d like to give you. If you want to deepen your knowledge on this topic, read our free online guide to market research where we have an entire section dedicated to market research for the retail sector.

Location, Location, Location

In the retail industry where you rely on customers visiting your store to get revenues, location is the Number 1 factor to take into account.
You must therefore focus on the best locations and look into them for a place for your shop. You probably won’t find the perfect place right away. It’s perfectly normal and you should therefore be prepared to wait until you find the right opportunity. Resist by all means the temptation to go for a store that is not in the most perfect location only because it’s available. This error may be fatal.

Choose the location as if you were a future customer

When looking for a store to buy or rent, you should behave like a future customer when assessing the different possible locations.
If customers come by car, you should check parking possibilities very carefully. This may be a deterrent. Here are some essential questions to consider : is it easy to park ? Is it expensive to park ? How difficult is it to come by car to the location ? In some cities, certain areas are very difficult to reach for those not living there which may reduce your captation area further.

Less efforts, more business

If your customers come by foot make sure they have no effort to make to reach your store. People are lazy and the most little effort may be a hurdle to visit your store. Don’t assume people will be willing to come to you. This is a terrible mistake. You’d be surprised by our findings when we assess retail locations : people won’t cross a street, will avoid narrow sidewalks, won’t go into a side street or won’t go up a small hill. Some cities are extremely flat (New-York, Paris is relatively flat except Montmartre), others are more hilly (Glasgow, Brussels, Rome). Those hills define areas that will be less permeable to movements and transfers than flat territories would.
In short, don’t settle on top of a hill except if you are a 3-star Michelin restaurant.


Image : shutterstock

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Author: Pierre-Nicolas Schwab

Pierre-Nicolas est Docteur en Marketing et dirige l'agence d'études de marché IntoTheMinds. Ses domaines de prédilection sont le BigData l'e-commerce, le commerce de proximité, l'HoReCa et la logistique. Il est également chercheur en marketing à l'Université Libre de Bruxelles et sert de coach et formateur à plusieurs organisations et institutions publiques. Il peut être contacté par email, Linkedin ou par téléphone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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