Many of the largest retail operations have long recognized that the likely trade area size of a particular location is highly dependent upon its locational context. For example, a coffee shop is likely to have a much larger trade area in a suburban area than in a central business district. Typically, the context is defined as a density measure over a short distance – which we call the context radius – from the site, which is then used to classify the site appropriately, then retrieve the demographics for the appropriate size trade area.
Snapshot gives the user extensive control over setting context, including –
- Five separate measures of the immediate density are available, including population, households, business establishments, business employees, and daytime population
- The system provides a default context radius of 1.0 mile (radius) or 2.0 minutes (drive time) which can be user specified
- Six default classifications are provided – rural, suburban, low density urban, medium density urban, high density urban, and dense urban – but these are completely user definable in terms of which measure should be used, how many classification levels there are, and the radius or drive times to be applied
Context can be specified for individual location reports, or in batch processing of multiple sites and are available for both radius and drive time reports. In drive time reports, additional control is given over traffic conditions – allowing the user to automatically associate different traffic conditions to each level of the classification.
The user classifications can of course be saved and automatically applied to reports generated by any analyst, so both field and centralized analysts use a consistent analytical framework.
The map shown here represents the trade area size classification using the defaults for population and a context radius of 1.0 mile. The default trade area size ranges from 2 miles in urban core areas to 10 miles in rural areas, but again this is completely customizable.