Where are my customers located? - Knowing the location
One of the simplest ways that GIS can help is to determine where something is. Everything from customers, staff, stores, suppliers, competitors etc has a location that can be plotted on a map. But why would this be useful?
Imagine a garden centre plotting their customer’s home locations to determine the catchment for their business, i.e. where their customers are coming from. Patterns can show those areas with many or few customers which can be useful to more efficiently target advertising the busines.
This could be taken further to try and determine why these patterns are there? This could be related to the location of rival garden centres and travel distances ( more on this later). Further work could involve relating customer locations to other factors such as wealth, using census data or local knowledge.
The following map shows the home address of Bangor University staff. Using just the postcode the coordinates were obtained and the points plotted. A postcode is sufficient to determine their address to the nearest 100 metres (in most cases).
So are there patterns apparent and how do these locations compare with other data. For example do these locations compare with existing transport infrastructure and large urban areas? If for instance many people live near a railway station, could they be encouraged to travel to work by train rather than drive?