What is Location Analytics?

In a world where over 2.8 billion[1] people are online, surprisingly geography will still always matter. Where we live, work, and travel shapes the context of our lives and influences the decisions we make. I used to play golf five days a week when I lived in Sunny California with free access to several public golf courses. Upon moving to Kolkata, which has a harsh tropical climate and restricted access to golf courses, I completely gave up golf.

My context changed and with it, my habits, which influenced how or whether I would still make golf-related purchases from say Amazon. Of course many of my other habits changed too, which is a different story altogether. So what did we just witness here – something very powerful pattern actually – that geography can completely alter our “context” or our lifestyles, habits, and behavior and companies need to become increasingly mindful of this to use it to their advantage.

Companies today have access to varied, multiple, and interesting sources of data. This data is popularly known as Big Data because of its volume, velocity, and variety. Companies are increasing moving away from looking only at the past to trying to predict the future at a granular individual level. Also, companies have started looking in greater depth at the context [the impact of the micro geographies in which they compete] to understand how to craft their competitive strategies.

This geographic based assessment aka Location Analytics is the mechanism to enrich and support non-spatial information such as sales, price, product, sales teams etc, with geography specific information such as socio-economic, neighborhood, cultural, demographic, traffic, and climate data. Such geo-enrichment of information is critical to co-relate non-spatial information with locational information to identify and understand hidden trends and patterns behind the nature and reasons for a specific outcome in a region. This gives us a 360 Degree view of our world.

Location Analytics can be used to understand the markets a company should expand into and how it should sell unique products and services in a specific geography and the economic value of each market, macro or micro. Companies can also use Location Analytics to optimize the locations that they are already present in and make specific site selections. Analytics can also be used to understand the geographic impact of any point of sale popularly known as catchment area.

Understanding location at a granular level helps companies quantify the difference between one location over another location and thereby use this knowledge to make sound business decisions. For example, Starbucks is famous for using Location Science for not only opening its stores but also managing its supply chain based on everyday customer behavior.

Ascribing a score to a location allows companies to predict revenue by location and anticipate their ROI (return on investment). In summary Location Analytics can give you granular and quantifiable detail about a location by telling you The What, The Where, and The Why of every location from Rio to Kolkata.