The retail industry is constantly growing, especially in emerging markets characterized by new growth opportunities. The GIS market in Canada alone is worth more than $450 million, with year-over-year growth of around 13 percent.

As the retail industry continues to increase in complexity, retailers must become more aware of trade areas, strategic store locations, and the impact of competition. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) enable analysts to gather, manage, and display insights from business information. Using GIS along with other analytical tools gives your decision-making process a powerful analytical backbone.

Maps are an essential part of GIS systems and their role in displaying spatial data cannot be understated. In fact, maps assist enterprises in identifying patterns, trends, and opportunities that are difficult to notice through tabular figures. The key areas where retailers can benefit from these maps are explained below.

First of all, maps allow consumers to find your company. Around 94 percent of all local business searches include a digital map. In addition, 52 percent of businesses shared that they would not have made a purchase without the help of a digital map. As the market becomes increasingly saturated providing valuable information to prospective consumers is imperative. Retailers should make sure that their entrepreneurial information is present on Google maps. Google has made it easy to manage any information that comes as a support for your business at the map listing.

By not using Google My Business to increase your stores’ listings, you deliberately hurt your line of work. It is a free tool that allows you to showcase your business’ most significant information in a user-friendly way –all visible in the search results. Your customers will be able to view not just your store locations, but also operation hours and pictures from your stores or products.

Research suggests that if your listing is robust, consumers will have a higher chance of visiting one of your stores. Map listings access makes buyers 38 times more likely to visit the business. However, an incorrect location is very harmful to your business performance.

GIS also makes purchases more efficient. Nothing is more expensive than time in today’s world, and consumers always look out for ways to save a bit of their time. Based on a Google study, consumers spend 11 minutes on average using information provided by Google Maps during their weekly shopping. Worldwide, that is around 21 billion hours, which, translated to monetary terms, goes to a hefty $280 billion in savings. This is a clear example that consumers like and appreciate when companies respect their time.

With all the necessary information listed, it is possible for potential customers  to make a decision that could result in either a sale or a missed opportunity. Digital maps make it uncomplicated for consumers to navigate a big part of their daily lives. Reliable delivery service is equally important because it affirms that a desired service or product will reach the customer’s hands. Large on-demand services –Postmates and Amazon Prime included –rely greatly on maps. Delivering orders and tracking capabilities to the relevant apps gives the recipients room to organize their day so that they can be there at the deliverables’ arrival.

Additionally, GIS will help you manage delivery routes. A GIS system will assist you in better scheduling requests, customer sites, arrival/departure times, and other supply chain related facets. In addition, there will be an easy-to-visualize display of complex statistics, and you will be able to make connections between the shipping and delivery processes.

More so, it helps place stores where shoppers will see them. When you have a location-based platform, conducting market research or demographic analysis that will fit your criteria is simple. All you have to do is understand your customer profile. Finding a location where your service or product is underrepresented is a major step as well. With a few changes, you can grow into a valuable provider for your community’s needs. If you doubt this approach, take a look at the growth of the Federated Department Stores (Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s parent company). GIS selects the locations of their best stores using the following method.

Almost all retail business processes need geographical relationships. With this, GIS helps retailers to better understand and conceptualize these relationships. Based on customer and market analyses, as well as consumers and suppliers’ interaction, it facilitates predictive investigations.

GIS user selling proposition (USP) gives companies options for multiple possibilities. The firms understand the impact and potential of different investments in parallel to analysis of changing retail trends. The value of the GIS systems will always be high when reducing long-term risk. Consequently, reports show that the key factor impacting the retail market’s growth is GIS adoption and its ability to find the right store locations.

Establishing your online map presence creates more understanding about where your store or factory is situated compared to your competitors. When GIS systems are involved, competition mapping takes place far beyond simple Excel sheets. It presents a visual understanding of how the market interacts and where there might be a new promotion, product development, or customer loyalty program.

Customer analysis is a powerful tool that will aid your business in the long-term. When you understand customers’ decision-making, you can increase your business’ profitability by modifying new strategy launches. Once you have the GIS systems in place, you need to start gathering details. The collected data may be connected with geographic information through the GIS mapping software. Through this process, you will get increased insights, enabling you to arrange purchaser groups and learn more about your customers’ lifestyle, behaviours, and choices. By analyzing market patterns, companies can cover one of the principal steps in formulating a business strategy, which is target marketing. Moreover, retail analytics are useful when creating strategies and marketing personas.

Mapping software opens a new world of information. No matter how the discussion goes, whether it is towards demographic profiles, competitors’ strengths, or new positioning, – the particulars can give you an answer. Consequently, GIS mapping will help retailers interpret data, enhance communications, and improve decision-making. Thus, knowing how to leverage GIS mapping is becoming a must for every business.

As companies innovate and introduce new ways to continue growing their businesses, GIS systems will play a crucial role. With tools that help implement better work efficiency, plus improved communication and productivity, businesses should not hesitate to begin applying GIS solutions. Interestingly, this is just the beginning for GIS in the retail industry.