The Sincerest form of Flattery
The Analog Store
Part Two

By Tony Ozelis

Access, Visibility & Layout Matching an analog store’s layout should be pretty straight forward. Look for similar physical attributes (i.e., freestanding building, endcap of a regional shopping center, a one-off store next to an anchor, etc). Inside, look for similar dimensions (with no other interior impediments like structural columns, limited store front area, etc.).

Also, be VERY critical when judging their access, visibility and signage. Just as you would test any potential location for yourself, do the same thing for the analog store. Put it through the test…and remember; always visit a site at least four times.

Are the demographics exactly the same? Probably not, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Finding duplicate demographics do not guarantee similar results. As long as the key data that affects your particular business is there when comparing the information. Bear in mind that there is a lot more to picking a good site than looking at population, median incomes and average age on a demographic report. Always try to read behind the numbers.

What you need to pay attention to is the QUALITY of the data. High income levels are fine, but if most of the population’s money is going towards paying down expensive homes, chances are that there’s little money left over in the family’s budget for discretionary things (like your goods and services).

And don’t forget to compare the data in your demo report with your own observations about the trade area. Demographic reports have been know to be off sometimes. Even the most detailed and up to date demographic reports are no match for seeing it for yourself.

Look at the areas that their customers come from – If you’ve followed us here at Location Island for a while, you’ve heard us teach the concept of “living” trade areas. Understand that every trade area usually has a fairly large number of moving parts to it; parts that you’ll need to try and duplicate and/or avoid. How much time should you spend in a particular area? Well, that all depends on you; your business and, of course, how much “learning” you need about your customers.

Finally…never neglect the “X” factor - You’re not going to find any mention of religion on a demographic report, but yet it can have a big impact on your sales, nor will you see current unemployment figures or even people’s preferences or prejudices. The point is to use and trust your own intuition and observations.

The more time you spend at your competition’s location, the less time you’ll spend looking for yours. Taking your time in choosing an analog store carefully can be the greatest hedge against making some mistakes when locating your own business. Just remember to take your time and lots of notes.

Happy Hunting….



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About the Author: Tony Ozelis is a real estate development consultant and frequent contributor to LocationIsland.com.  Mr. Ozelis' 23 year career has primarily been focused on restaurant and retail development throughout the United States where he has served as a Director of Real Estate for companies such as Pizza Hut, Inc., Boston Chicken, 7-Eleven and Wendy's International.

With well over 700 successful projects completed to date; he has been at the forefront of incorporating new technologies into corporate real estate development and regularly teaches on subjects such as; Strategic Market Development Planning, Contract Negotiations and incorporating Green Technologies into site design.

Mr. Ozelis is a member of both the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).

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