Using ArcGIS as a system of record can help retailers navigate the global marketplace successfully
The retail world is expanding. According to an International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), 70 percent of the retail chains around the world are opening new stores this year. It’s a global phenomenon that is coming at a time when consumer expectations and habits are evolving at an unprecedented fast pace.
What is driving this growth? The ability to understand microdemographics, changes in distribution channels, and the power of the web seem to be the catalysts that are ensuring growth across a large scale. Retailers no longer need to be entrenched in a local environment to understand their customer base, build up brand, and grow sales. There has been no other time in history when a retailer could first open a store in San Francisco, a second in Sydney, and a third in Singapore in quick succession and expect to be successful.
How can retailers harness these powerful factors and use them to their advantage? By leveraging a platform that provides workers, no matter where they are, with access to business information based on location. By knowing where data is located means that understanding happens more quickly, analysis has more meaning, and decisions can be made with little margin of error.
A System of Record for Retail Data
The ArcGIS platform is a powerful system of record for organizing and managing the geographic context of a retailer’s assets and resources. The most powerful examples are real, and I can’t think of a better one that exemplifies this point than JLL, a financial and professional services firm specializing in commercial real estate services and investment management for the last 200 years. The company employs more than 40,000 real estate experts in 1,000 locations in 7 countries.
JLL uses the ArcGIS platform enterprise-wide to provide and serve clients all over the world with location-based consulting, development, and investment offerings. They created their own solution based on ArcGIS called MapIT that delivers real-time, accurate location-based data and analytics in support of real estate location and investment decisions.
Dr. Wayne Gearey, a senior vice president with JLL explained to me: “What we provide is not a map for the company–it’s data for different business centers from teams that have a common interest to produce something in a timely manner. We’ve gone from a siloed company to a truly connected company on a global scale, thanks to Esri GIS and location analytics.”
Agility Comes from a Strong Core
I think of a successful business being agile, much like we humans are agile and maintain health by exercising. And I don’t care what form of exercise you like–running, rowing, cross fit, or cross country skiing–every instructor will tell you the same thing. Strength and agility and the ability to stay injury free come from building a strong core.
JLL and others have found this truth for their business. They have found success in the platform because they can drive mission critical tasks from one centralized repository of stored knowledge and real-time information. They have built a strong core.
What can they accomplish from building a strong business core?
- Market Planning
- Site Selection
- Highest and Best Use of Each Site
- Asset Optimization
Using ArcGIS, management makes sure that the authoritative knowledge they are basing their decisions on reaches everyone in their workforce. Store managers, retail line distributors, merchandise organizers, and logistics distributors can all work from the same page. ArcGIS enables every employee and contractor to easily discover, use, make, and share maps from any device, anywhere, anytime.
For the first time, retailers can build successful strategies that include making certain stores will work for the long term, the ability to shift dynamically with the omni-channel, and ensuring they can quickly change store strategies to meet customer demands.