Site Location Factors: Demographics, Access, Visibility, and Traffic

Step 1 - Site Location Factors: Demographics, Access, Visibility, and Traffic

locationDemographics provide an understanding of the potential customer, for example, do they have income to support the price point of the goods sold, or does the area have a sufficiently trained workforce to hire employees from.  When a business is considering locating in a community, they conduct extensive research on the market area before making a final decision. They will obtain demographic information on household income, daytime population and consumer spending patterns. Depending on the business and target market, the business may look for a minimum income levels or specific age groups. The goal is to understand where their potential customers live, work and shop before making a location decision.

For example, an established retail store may know that their customer’s median income is $75,000 a year, they are highly educated, and that they attract most customers from roads that have over 40,000 average daily trips per day.  If a particular location does not meet these criteria, the site will not be evaluated for further consideration.

Businesses want to offer a product in an area where there is demand by the consumer at a certain price that the consumer is willing to spend for the product.  Some of the questions considered may be:

  • How far away is the nearest competitor?
  • In the trade area, is there consumer demand or are there already too many similar products offered?
  • Will locating a store in this area hurt existing store sales?

Factors relating to accessibility, visibility, and traffic include the ability of delivery trucks to access the location, the ease in which customers can travel to the business, and other accommodations related to conducting business.  Large corporate businesses may be bound to internal regulations as well, such as a minimum distance between existing stores.  Some businesses may desire to be close to their competitors, and other may not. 

Retailers want to be located where there are many shoppers, but only if that shopper meets the definition of their target market –which may differ amongst different businesses.  Generally, businesses examine:

  • How many people walk or drive past the location?
  • Is the area served by public transportation?
  • Can customers and delivery trucks easily get in and out of the parking lot?
  • Is there adequate parking?

When considering visibility, businesses look at the location from the customer's view point.  Can the store be seen from the flow of traffic? Will their sign be easily seen? In many cases, greater visibility reduces the need for advertising.

There are several factors a business weighs before deciding whether to locate in a community or market area.  Many factors are beyond the Village’s control, but the Village can maintain a good understanding of market demands for retailers and promote locations that best fit their criteria.