To understand customer acquisition and choose the best new sites for your stores, you need to have a clear understanding of where your customers are coming from. Catchment area maps (or trade area maps) help you visualize this information so you can draw better insights.
We’ve already covered everything about catchment areas in the ultimate guide to catchment areas, so this post will focus on the value of a catchment map and how to build it. To do that, we’ll cover the following:
Before we dive into how to to build a catchment map, we’ll explain exactly what it is and why it’s so useful for your analysis.
A catchment map is a data visualization of one or more catchment areas, enabling analysis of customer acquisition. Catchment areas are geographic locations from which a business, organization, or service attracts visitors. These catchment areas are determined by the region under analysis.
Catchment areas are determined based on a variety of factors, such as the distance to the location, travel time to the location, population within an area, and even geographic boundaries. For example, a retail location will have a catchment area surrounding the building to analyze foot traffic. However, there may be multiple catchment areas for analyzing inbound traffic to your retail location, such as billboards, bus stops, and more.
Catchment area maps allow you to visualize customer behavior including drive times and more. A map is the best version of this data, as it enables you to analyze your store locations and get a good idea of how they perform. You can draw better, deeper insights from this type of data when it’s displayed as a map.
Now that you know why having a catchment area map is so important, you’ll want to know how to build one. We show you how to build a catchment map below for your trade area analysis.
A catchment area map is an extremely useful asset for your trade area analysis, helping you easily visualize data and make better (and faster) decisions.
You can build your trade areas with or without considering data analytics, but it is recommended that you use as much point of interest (POI) analytics as you can to inform your catchment area mapping. Below, we walk you through the steps to build a catchment map to enable trade area analysis.
Identify the stores or locations you want to run a trade area or catchment analysis map of and obtain the relevant datasets. Plot these locations on a map. This will form the basis of your catchment area map, and will determine the trade area(s) that you want to analyze. Be sure to include not just your store locations, but also those of competitors and complementary businesses that may impact your strategy.
Based on your needs, choose the methodology right for you: calculating catchment areas by buffer trade areas, walk/drive time trade areas, or mobility trade areas. These determine catchment area boundaries based on different methodologies, allowing you to analyze your trade area based on a variety of factors.
See more about the methods for calculating catchment area to help you decide the best method for you.
After choosing the methodology, you can load data into the geospatial tool you want to use to process the data. Select a GIS or BI tool with capabilities that match the methodology you want to use, and set the parameters in the geoprocessing tool.
Run a radius based on distance or a drivetime or walktime isochrone, representing the travel time based on method of transportation. You can even load mobility data to see where people are coming from and map those CBGs and POIs with a symbology that reflects the different volumes from each place.
When the data is reflecting trade areas in the way you want, create a map that is easy to read, has appropriate labels, a legend, and at the appropriate scale for your intended audience. These catchment area maps are the best method of visualizing trade area and customer acquisition data, painting a vivid picture of your catchment area.
Building a catchment area map is extremely important for visualizing consumer behavior to your business and understanding where your customers come from. Using a catchment map can help you analyze your trade area, making it easier for you to target your customers and drive more traffic. When building your catchment area maps, be sure to rely on high-quality point of interest data from SafeGraph.