Next generation trade areas and mobile analytics

Authors: Tony Hernandez*, Ryerson University
Topics: Business Geography
Keywords: retail, business, trade area, mobile
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Stones Throw 3 - Mica, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper takes a new look at the widely used, yet often misunderstood, concept of the ‘trade area’. Trade areas can be conceptualized, defined and applied in a range of different ways. In the broadest sense, trade areas can be regarded as a mechanism to develop understanding of the spatial extent (and/or distribution) of customers around an individual or network of stores. They are typically viewed as a way of mapping the confines of interaction between a set of store locations and the customers that patronize them. With the advent of locationally-enabled mobile technology, the way in which we define trade areas and their potential use has been subject to change. Traditional concepts that characterized and modeled customer spatial behaviors as ‘home to store’ have been replaced with dynamic models of customer journeys. This paper attempts to disentangle concepts, techniques and applications and provide a next generation perspective on trade areas in an environment of mobile analytics and big data. The limitations and inherent biases of next generation trade areas are also discussed, along with concerns over customer surveillance and data privacy. The paper concludes by projecting the future trajectory of trade area-based analytics and identifies a number of areas for on-going and future research.

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