How to choose your premises using data?

14 December 2023

On Tuesday December 12, 2023, at the Club de la franchise ‘s last breakfast of the year, hosted by Yves Sassi, three guests discussed the subject of data and how it can be used to find the right location to open a franchise.


Gathered at Le Spot, La Poste Group’s living and innovation space, Guillaume Courtier, expert in geographic intelligence and data analyst at Geoptis, Nicolas Perez, Auchan’s Director of Development, and Michel Simond, founder of Sowepro and expert in corporate real estate and retail, discussed the strategic issue of the “new world”. and the role of data in this decision.

Before you can collect data on a location, you need to identify the criteria that will make it the ideal place to set up shop. However, there is no such thing as an ideal location, simply because there are as many criteria to choose from as there are types of activity. Indeed, for the art gallery chain Carré d’artistes, the perfect location is right in the center of town, surrounded by “good neighbors” who bring in traffic. “Local is the key to our success. We’re positioned for impulse buying, we’re not a destination,” explains Jenna Sebki, the brand’s development manager. The brand is therefore looking to set up close to leading brands that send out the right signals for Carré d’artistes.

The Buns France restaurant network, for its part, is banking on modest-sized premises that are easily profitable, but equipped with extraction. “We’ll look for opportunities, but not necessarily a number-one location,” explains founder Adrien Massot. Auchan, on the other hand, focuses on urban and suburban areas, and will take care to analyze the type of traffic flow in front of its chosen shopping center. Sometimes, certain details seem insignificant, such as an entrance on the side of the building rather than on the main avenue, but can have an immense impact on in-store flow and the success of the store. All these selection criteria are data that can be collected and analyzed.

It’s because these criteria are so varied that data collection and analysis tools are so important for franchise networks. Once defined, these criteria can be used to focus research and collect targeted data. “My job is to support companies in their development strategy. I help them to identify the areas they don’t yet cover, and to find available goodwill in these areas”, explains Guillaume Courtier. At Geoptis, part of this data collection is carried out by the letter carriers and women who work in the area, and who are able to observe flows and vacant addresses.

“For us, data is important for targeting a catchment area, for carrying out potential studies on a retail unit, and for finding out what type of traffic flows there (pedestrians, tourists, etc.). These studies are then compared with a business model and costs, to assess the profitability of the location,” explains Nicolas Perez. Guillaume Courtier adds: “Sometimes, the ideal location exists, but it’s not available. Knowing when it will become available is a real challenge for certain players, particularly in the retail sector.”

For Michel Simond, data is essential to reassure future investors. “It reassures the entrepreneur who is taking a risk by borrowing over 7 years and making a commitment to a franchisor. The franchisor assures him that his concept works, but the data reassures the franchisee that the location chosen is the right one,” he explains.

Once the data has been collected, the challenge for retailers is to make it intelligent. “Data is only of value when it is refined. It allows us to draw conclusions, to better understand our territory and to identify, in a very concrete way, the cities in which to set up and the available premises corresponding to our criteria”, explains Guillaume Courtier.

Nicolas Perez even urges us to be wary of data that can say anything and everything: “If we don’t know our concept and don’t know where we want to take our franchisees, unfortunately the data won’t be of much use. It’s very important to have real cursors depending on the area in which you’re located.

Among these cursors, Michel Simond identifies the turnover rate of an area as a very good indicator to question before choosing your premises. This data is interesting because it shows the movement of shops on the same street. If more than 50% of them have been there for a long time, it’s because their business is working. The turnover rate can be reassuring not only for the buyer, who knows he’s setting up in a dynamic area, but also for his banker, who will be particularly interested in the location of the premises before granting a loan.

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