There are several ways you can get market information to help determine current market position of a store, as well as the feasibility of a new store, relocation, expansion or even remodel. Unfortunately, many of them are not geared toward the cooperative natural food store market. Most location research firms use computerized gravity models appropriate to conventional supermarkets, which consider convenience as the most important shopping motivation. Natural food store sales performance, on the other hand, draws most heavily upon demographic characteristics (and perhaps related lifestyle attributes).
Major natural food chains (Whole Foods and Wild Oats) have a potential market advantage because they have many stores from which to obtain analogous trade area and sales penetration data. They use this information to do location research, site analysis and sales forecasting for new stores.
Cooperative food stores can also take advantage of this type of research methodology. An excellent way to maximize your market position is through participation in the development of a location research database. There are many benefits to this type of research database:
- It enables the development of realistic sales forecasts for store remodels, expansions, relocations and sister store openings.
- It provides for calculating a co-op’s position (market share) within its trade area.
- It assists in developing programs of marketing, outreach and member recruitment.
- It can help in identifying strategic location opportunities.
- It enables a database that can be used on behalf of other co-ops in strengthening their market position.
In short, participating in the co-op location research database embodies one of the primary principles underlying the cooperative movement: the synergy that exists when groups of stores participate in the health, well-being and prosperity of one another, with the end result being better locations and strategic planning for participating co-ops.Add to favorites