Ideas of Interest

Visualizing Catchment Analysis with SafeGraph Patterns Data

August 24, 2020

A deep understanding of local context unlocks better business decisions

In the retail industry, it’s critical to have an inside-out understanding of your target customers. You need deep knowledge of who is likely to be drawn to your business. This requires understanding resident demographics, consumer shopping behaviors, and any gaps in the local market competition. Catchment analysis is the key to getting a clear view of this information. 

Simply put, catchment analysis is a process for understanding the geographic area from which a business is likely to draw its customers. It’s also helpful for making strategic decisions around attracting foot traffic, maximizing ROI, and setting your business apart from the competition. 

Here, we’ll run through the fundamentals of catchment analysis and explain how you can create compelling visual insights using SafeGraph Patterns data.

>> This information is also available in greater detail as an interactive Google Colab notebook. Click here to play with the code yourself. <<

Catchment analysis is the key to optimized resource allocation

For retail businesses, there’s always a finite amount of resources you can allocate in order to better serve your customer base. You need to decide which physical locations to invest in and where to put your advertising and marketing dollars for the greatest potential return. 

Catchment analysis creates a better, more strategic way to make these decisions—and can provide a clear picture of who lives in your area, how far they’re willing to travel, and their capacity to spend. Additionally, it can shed insights into what kind of pricing and promotions will most likely attract and resonate with your target customers.

Catchment analysis can help businesses understand and visualize
which Census Block Groups (CBG) will drive the most foot traffic.

But analyzing catchment data can unlock even more valuable market insights beyond that. For starters, it provides retailers with detailed population information, including the number of households in a given area, family sizes, and key demographics, such as age, income, and education. It can also help you understand the dynamics of the local retail environment and identify opportunities where your business can fulfill unmet consumer needs. 

Even more, this analysis allows you to build detailed—and highly actionable—pictures of resident shopping behaviors, including media consumption patterns, types of assets owned, and how customers perceive your nearest competitors. Joining additional geospatial attributes into this analysis (hint, hint: Placekey, coming soon!) can drive additional accuracy and precision around these insights as well. And when all of these facets of catchment analysis are combined, they can form the backbone of a retail business’s local market strategy.

Position yourself competitively in the local market

Beyond simply allowing retailers to more accurately estimate potential customer foot traffic, catchment analysis offers a window into more practical considerations as well (i.e. customer parking needs). It can even help retailers decide the right category mix of outlet stores.

Businesses can use this deeper understanding of its local customer base to differentiate themselves from the competition, which is especially key for retailers serving well-defined demographic groups, like families with young children or the elderly. 

For example, let’s say you planned to open a co-working cafe in a metropolitan area. Before choosing where to put up shop, you’d need to know whether the demographics of the catchment in consideration—more specifically, the number of self-employed people this location could potentially serve—would support long-term business growth. Additionally, you would want to consider how many other different co-working locations already exist in that same area to gauge what part of the local population can potentially make up your future serviceable available (and truly obtainable) market. 

In this way, catchment analysis can quickly tell you where you’ve got the greatest opportunity for business growth as well as where your kind of business would be most needed by the local population (i.e. by filling in a gap that doesn’t yet exist). This information is critical for making well-informed decisions about when and how to enter a local market. 

>> This information is also available in greater detail as an interactive Google Colab notebook. Click here to play with the code yourself. <<

SafeGraph Patterns data brings catchment analysis to life

As useful as catchment analysis is on its own, it doesn’t paint the whole picture. After all, numbers on the page don’t always tell the full story. By leveraging SafeGraph Patterns data, you can visualize catchment analysis to create a more compelling view of local market opportunities. 

The SafeGraph Patterns dataset lets you pick among millions of Points of Interest (POIs), run catchment analysis on it, and then begin to deduce where the visitors to that place are coming from. Even more, because this data is updated weekly, it can help you understand POI trends over time and shed light on how consumer habits change during different days or seasons.

Let’s return to our co-working cafe example for a second. With the help of SafeGraph Patterns data, you can see a detailed breakdown of the CBGs your competitors are currently serving to help identify the best possible location to establish your business where you could establish local relevance and maximize your long-term growth potential. 

Get the most out of catchment analysis with SafeGraph Patterns

Great catchment analysis helps retailers make better decisions. It provides insights into how you can best serve your target customers while also giving you a leg up in positioning your business for maximum foot traffic and exposure. And now, by fueling and amplifying this analysis with SafeGraph Patterns data, you can give these insights a new and impactful visual dimension.

Our team is ready to show you how to visualize catchment analysis like never before. Schedule a demo with our team today to start making more informed decisions that will set up your business for long-term growth and success.  

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