Site briefs are critical to successful retail site selection

Successful site selection is dependent on getting your site brief right.

My father is a boat builder.  My father taught me to measure twice and cut once.

As a kid I was always in a hurry to get my hands on the saw. I often cut the plank too short because I got the measurement wrong.

Measure twice and cut once can be applied to successful site selection.

The key ingredient for retail bricks and mortar success is location.

The problem with property is that you live with your mistakes for a long time. The wrong decisions are costly and hard to undo. You can’t just get another plank off the stack, measure twice this time, and cut to the correct length.

Get the location wrong and it can cost the retailer significantly.  To change location costs time and money.

Adam was a franchisee who set up his store in the wrong location.

Adam ended up re-mortgaging his house to fund his poorly performing retail store. As you can imagine he was stressed and couldn’t see a way out.

Adam’s franchisor was frustrated and fed up with a poor performing store.

By the time I was engaged to assist Adam, his options were limited as he no longer had the financial resources to relocate his store.

I remember at the time wishing I had a time machine to travel back in time to help Adam get his site selection right so that his store could have been profitable.

The most critical step to successful site selection is getting your site brief right (measure twice) before racing off and leasing the first site you come across (cut once).

Take the time to stop and write up a site brief. It doesn’t matter if this is your 1st, 10th or 100th site. There are always lessons to learn from your customer diagnostic or your last site acquisition.

Taking the time to stop and define your requirements enables you to blend the art (gut or intuitive decisions) and the science (analogue or multiple regression decisions) of site selection together.

Key questions to ask when formulating your site brief are:

  1. Who are my customers?
  2. How many customers do I need in my catchment area?
  3. Do I want to be close to or separated from my competitors?
  4. What do I need to be able to operate from a site?
  5. What can my business afford to pay?

The site brief synthesis your responses enabling you to clearly define the catchment, location and property specifics required for your next site.

Once you have your site brief, the next step is to implement a robust, disciplined and systemic site selection process to source sites and utilise a site selection framework for filtering and qualifying potential sites for your retail business.