There’s a very nice article in the latest issue of Stores magazine about Smoothie King’s data-driven site selection process and priorities.
The New Orleans, Louisiana based company opened its first store in 1973 and now has 520 locations in the US and one hundred more franchise outlets overseas.
Smoothies are now a $2 billion a year business in the US, with a 13 percent annual growth rate.
Richard Leveille, executive vice president of franchise development and real estate for Smoothie King, has been scouting sites for the company for more than two decades.
He tells Stores.org that the company’s mission is about introducing people to a healthy lifestyle, and that making money is a secondary reason to be in business. But their site selection process is very much scientific, data driven and commerce-oriented.
Leveille says their top three priorities for site selection are visibility, convenience and locations where others have succeeded. He spent years tramping around to see sites and talk to people, but after spending some time to understand the “analytic modeling in a site-selection capacity,” Smoothie King has now made it easier by opting to use a Buxton tool named Scout.
Buxton is a company that provides customer analytics tools for site selection, marketing and e-Commerce for customers in the retail and restaurants sector. The Scout tool offers customer demographics, locations and purchasing history to match marketing criteria, so that you know where your customers are.
For example, a normal demographic study would lump two neighbors of the same age and income who went to the same college into the same category. But if one of them is single and the other one is married, their buying patterns will be vastly different.
These are the kinds of differences that can be caught by a data-driven tool that does not rely on old consumer lists or market surveys. The Buxton tool, says Leveille, can reach into the minds of consumers and divine how they live and how they spend their money. It also helps compare new sites being developed against existing and successful locations.
See this Youtube video where Richard Leveille discusses how he uses Buxton’s SCOUT tool to analyze sites for new locations.