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The 10 Things That Will Make Or Break Retail Potential In Any City

Want to know the retail potential in any city? Look at these ten things first:
Retail potential in a city can make or break your brand. If you’re a retailer or brand who’s ever thought about expanding or establishing your business in a new city, then you know how important assessing retail potential is, and hard it can be to do accurately. These days brands collect an arsenal of tools to help them do this effectively, but there are some basic fundamentals to retail potential that any brand or business can easily assess themselves. Here are the 10 you’ll need to start with:

1 – Transportation
The quality of transportation networks in a city has a huge impact on the retail potential. Imagine looking at a cities transportation networks and finding a brand new expansive mass-transit system, a bus system that is easy to use, a well built road network with plenty of room for automobiles, a train system, airports modern enough to handle sufficient capacity and a convenient new city wide bike rental program. You can rest assured that in a city like this, you’ll find great locations for retailing

2 – Accessibility
Good accessibility is impacted by transportation network quality, but refers more to how people and products get in and out of a city then to how they get around once they’re inside of it. How many airports does the city boast? Where are they located and how easy is it to get to the city center from them? Do they accept international flights? What about shipping ports for goods coming in and out of the city? Are these located nearby, or far away? How much extra time and effort will it take to get goods to and from your retail locations? These are important questions that have can have a huge impact on retail potential in any city.

3 – Iconic brands
Is there a McDonalds nearby? How about Nike, Adidas and Starbucks? Are there a lot of these “iconic” brands throughout the city, or are they few and far between? Love em or hate em, iconic brands are great indicators of retail potential in any city. Iconic brands spend lots of time and money searching out good locations for network expansion, so you can bet that their presence means there’s potential. However, a lack of iconic brands doesn’t always mean there is no potential. Perhaps they haven’t arrived yet, or there is some legal matter keeping these brands from expanding.

4 – Malls and department stores
Very few cities these days don’t have any malls or department stores, so taking a look at the number of, size, and success of these businesses is a good variable to work into your retail potential scoring.

5 – Entertainment
What is there to do in the city? Are their stadiums, and venues for performances? What are the condition of these venues, and how much use does the city get out of them? What kind of entertainment options are available in a city, and where in the city they are, will impact what kind of retail potential there is, or isn’t.

6 – Population
This one is pretty obvious, so it needs to be included. Generally, the more people a city has in it, the more retail potential is contains. However, general population is usually used as a simple starting point in a retail potential analysis, breaking down population into segments such as working population, daytime and nighttime population, and population fluctuations maps is a deeper way to look into how population affects the overall retail potential of different areas within a city.

7 – Development
local city governments often make development plans available to the public, and can be found on government websites and information banks. Knowing what’s being planned, or not planned, in a city is a great way to predict it’s future potential. For example, you might discover that a city plans to boost spending on transportation infrastructure in the next five years, giving the city a future retail potential boost, even if the current transportation infrastructure is inadequate. This can go the other way as well though. You may discover that a city plans to reduce development spending which could negatively impact retail potential in the future.

8 – Competition
How much of your competition is in the city? A lot probably means the retail potential is high, but then again, you’ll have to deal with all that competition, which could impact the amount of potential you’re actually able to grab. The key here is understanding how much competition is too much or too little. There’s a sweet spot worth searching for.

 By Chris Hubbard 
   Market Strategy

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