GIS for Business

Selecting Best Site For Your Next Store


Location intelligence: Involvement of people and technology to visualize spatial data, identifying trends and relationships that result in actionable information. It builds on Geographic Information System (GIS) tools to empower data-driven insights and decision-making.

Gone are the days where businesses would open stores hoping they would perform sufficiently. A very costly approach both in terms of investment and time, should you enter the wrong market. Nowadays, businesses are incorporating GIS analysis of demographics, market potential and existing competition in the process of prospecting for their next store sites.

Target audience sampling in market research

Expanding a business is a major decision, especially if it involves a brick-and-mortar store.

There are several things that you’ll need to take into consideration before investing in a piece of real estate that will be your next store.

As a business owner, you know your target customers. The main question to be answered is where are they? In the customer analysis, GIS uses demographic data to show you where your customers live. It can even forecast the potential growth of your customer base. Growth prediction will determine suitability for long term investment

Competition analysis

Before opening a new store location, you must find out about the existing competition. Other parties in the area offering similar goods or services in the same price range. You can use GIS Business Analyst to visualize all existing competition in the target area. You can also visualize the information about the size of the competition by the number of employees and estimated sales volume.

Knowing your competition will help you answer these important questions:

  • What’s the overall market share for the product/service
  • What’s available market share based on existing competition
  • Is the competition offering a standard or premium version of the product/service?

This way, you can be informed if the market is saturated in the area.

Find a suitable site

Combining demographic data with existing competition for a given area, you can use GIS suitability analysis to determine the best site to open your next store.

Most shoppers tend to stay close to their homes when it comes to purchasing everyday items (food, gas, household items). Analysis of drive-time area (area reached within a certain time), will show a territory to be served by the store at a given site.

The Traffic Analyst can be used to analyze accessibility and forecast traffic flow. This is vital information not only for understanding the mobility of the customers but also for supplying the store.


GIS technology is improving business processes. The Business Analyst and other tools allow users to effectively use available data to make informed business decisions. This removes the guesswork and steers businesses to the sites most likely to favour success.

Looking ahead, GIS technology will become even more deeply involved in the business processes. As more and more data become available, many organizations are deliberately initiating competence development in data literacy. The goal is to be more data-driven. Using data as a competitive edge to service customers, prospect targets and grow revenue faster than their competition.

What’s your organization’s process in selecting the next site?



Ally Fumo

Former GIS Analyst in Oil and Gas industry turned Copywriter.