Let Technology Take You There: The evolution of predictive modeling is a treasure trove for franchisors.

Author:Baldwin, Keenan

Just as the likes of Netflix, Airbnb and Uber have disrupted their industries, tech and powerful data analytics tools are upending real estate site selection.

Millennials may not remember the "old days" when people would have to drive to a video store, scan the rows of available movies, stand in line to pay for their rental, drive back home, put the disk in their DVD player (and hope for a disk with no scratches). It's hard to believe people went through so many time-consuming steps just to watch a movie. Traditional site selection practices are facing the same extinction as Blockbuster or Hollywood Video.

Gone are the days when franchise execs would get on a plane or in a car and spend the day, or the better part of a week, exploring markets and touring potential locations to get the lay of the land. Increasingly, brands are relying on technology-based site selection tools, powered by predictive intelligence to pinpoint who their customers are and where to find them.

Modern site selection platforms combine data and analytics with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to put more science behind location-based decisions. Combined, those two components create a more powerful site selection recipe to help facilitate expansion and improve location decision-making.

Franchisors are using in-store tech, ranging from point-of-purchase transactions to sensors, to gather more in-store data on who their customer is and how frequently they visit a store along with dwell time and shopper behavior. How are people traveling inside of the store? What items are they grabbing and putting back quickly? Are restaurant customers dining in, sitting at the bar, ordering to go or getting delivery? Site selection platforms are layering that in-store data on top of "out-of-store" market data, such as demographics, traffic patterns, competition and other custom site characteristics to help identify optimal locations and model performance.

NEW IN 2018

Site selection technology is evolving rapidly thanks to new methods in predictive modeling. Leading providers are continuing to push the envelope in terms of functionality and capabilities, and some of the key features that have moved to the forefront in 2018 include the following.

Real-time Sales Projections: Brands can literally drop a pin on a map for a potential location and get a breakdown of projected revenues within seconds. Modern Location Intelligence (LI) tools have uncapped the number of...

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