Earlier this year, Sites USA launched their new tool, Market Match, which uses our proprietary modeling tool Site Signature. Since they are the first platform to make this tool easily available to customers, we thought that it was time for a refresher. What is Site Signature, and how can Market Match help in your site selection process?

Any retail location has a “character” – that particular and sometimes peculiar mix of demographics, businesses, traffic patterns, and so on that define it. Just like any signature which is identifiable and verifiable as coming from the same hand, we can define a “site signature” which encapsulates the character of its trade area.

The site signature is created by looking at sixty dimensions which cover both residential and business attributes and together capture the essential character of a trade area. When we first introduced Site Signature, we used the example of two very different Los Angeles areas – Beverly Hills and Compton – which are also very different in size (33,599 versus 95,376). The first order of business is to remove the scale difference so that we can actually compare the signatures. The resulting charts – even without labels – suggest that these are two very different places.

What makes a location successful for any particular store?

The style of the store – merchandise mix, look and feel, price, quality – must match the needs and expectations of the people who live there. Many approach site location problems using just a few indicators – income, population size, and life stage – but these can often fail to capture the overall character of a trade area leading to poor site decisions.

The site signature approach to trade area characterization is simple in concept and presentation which is made possible using advanced statistical techniques using a very broad base of both residential and business demographics. By first removing the scale effects, we can encapsulate the essential character of the trade area with the goal of identifying areas with similar character traits elsewhere. Areas with high signature scores can then be filtered to include only those with sufficient demand to merit further consideration.

Sites USA has created a unique way of presenting the signature as an easy to understand score, much like a credit score. If you already have high performing stores, Market Match allows you to discover promising areas using Site Signature to find additional locations for expansion. On their software platform, Regis Online, Market Match is shown through scoring and shading down to the block group, which helps you easily visualize where your best location match is in a way that is obvious. Once you select a location on the map, you can easily see the detailed profile of the location comparing the demographic dimensions between your existing locations and a potential future expansion location.

For more information on Market Match, head to the Sites USA website.