In the ever-growing retail market, technological tools/ solutions are in high demand. Retailers are keen to utilise these tools to organise, visualise, analyse and leverage their business implying greater work efficiency, and improved productivity and communication, in their work area.
No matter which retail category you are into, technology certainly eases the task of rolling out quick decisions and that too way before your competitor does. Because in the business world, one cannot afford to delay decisions and GIS comes to the aid of retailers in a big way.
What is it?
Geographic Information system’s need arises from the basic nature of human beings to be aware about their geographical surroundings in order to make informed decisions. A geographic information system (GIS) can be defined as a technological tool for comprehending geography, facilitating intelligent and instant decision-making. In lay man’s language, it’s all about understanding geography and how people connect/relate to different locations.
How it works?
Maps, a key to success in business, possess an intuitive power, which helps revealing trends, patterns, and opportunities that may not be possible to detect in tabular data alone. A GIS employs the use of computers, software and data, wherein it takes the numbers and data from the rows and columns in databases and spreadsheets. This information is then put on a map which helps a retailer highlighting points like – where are the customers around the potential store locations and identifies their respective demographic profiles too.
Ms Vidhya Srinivasan, Head Strategy & Head Finance, Hypermarkets, Aditya Birla Retail Limited comments, “Yes. GIS technology helps retailers plot catchment potential as well as understand specificities about the catchment such as density, traffic flow etc., We use the data as one of the inputs used to evaluate potential of new store locations.”
GIS technology for retail business
Majorly, all successful businesses use GIS software, going beyond the standard data analysis and utilising applications across an entire organisation – in the field and on the Internet.
Retail business processes like market analysis, site selection, merchandising, distribution, delivery and facilities management – all involve geographic relationships. It is here that GIS helps and enables retailers to grasp an understanding and visualisation of these geographic relationships.
GIS also enhances the predictive investigations including market and customer analytics, encapsulating different forms of real-world and modeled data to understand the demographic, competitive, and psychographic interaction of consumers, suppliers, and the geographic space in which the data is distributed.
The power of GIS
The beauty of GIS remains in the fact that it allows companies to consider multiple possibilities, understand the potential and impact of different investments in conjunction with the analysis of the changing trends in the retail landscape. Probably, no other software technology has such a far-reaching potential.