Trade area, Isochrone plan and Isodistance map

To understand the way traffic functions around a store or shopping center, it’s helpful to properly analyze its Trade area, its isochrone map, and its distance zone. It helps to understand who are your clients, but also where they’re coming from, and most importantly, which strategy should be set up to acquire new clients (customer acquisition) or to make existing clients come more often (retention).
Trade area, Isochrone plan and Isodistance map


The Trade Area

The Trade area represents a store’s clientele based on the clients’ geographic location. To simplify, if clients come to a store because it is close to their homestead, the entirety of the clientele’s addresses defines a region of interest surrounding the store, which is the Trade area.

Different criteria can affect the scope of a store’s Trade area:

  • The awareness of the store: the more a store is known geographically distant areas, the higher the chance it will attract faraway clients, thus expanding its Trade area;
  • Its competition: if other stores offer similar products, the less likely it is for clients to travel long distances to visit a specific store, thus limiting its Trade area;
  • The store’s accessibility: if a store facilitates fluid transportation to its doors and is easily accessible to the public, the more likely it is to attract clients from farther distances. These Trade areas can be divided into primary zones, secondary zones, and tertiary zones. In order to define these three subareas, clients are categorized according to the frequency of their visits.

For a shopping center, the categories are as follows:

  • Primary zone: this zone is comprised of the clients who visit the shopping center multiple times a week;
  • Secondary zone: this zone includes the clients who come between once a week to twice a month;
  • Tertiary zone: this zone incorporates clients who visit the shopping center less than twice a month.

Hence, the Trade area permits analysis of a store’s penetration rate in specific geographic areas.

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The Isochrone Map :

An isochrone map is a time-based travel map, meaning it is created according to the surrounding geographical areas that require the same amount of time to travel to the store. Due to the fact that travel time depends on modes of transportation and lines of communication, these zones are not circular, as they follow the area’s road network.

For example, an isochrone map of 10 minutes is a geographical area that comprises the postal codes of everyone who lives within a ten-minute transport to the storefront.

It’s important to note that these zones depend on specific modes of transportation. Generally, the isochrone map is in relation to car travel. However, in certain areas where other modes of transportation are well developed, the isochrone map may also include cycling and walking, for example.

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(example: an isochrone map of 10 minutes by walking, from 116 Molinel Street, Lille, France)

The Isodistance Map :

Isodistance maps represent areas that are the same distance from a specific store or shopping center. They are easily recognizable because they are, by their very definition, circular.

In this case, we are talking about an isodistance map of 0-1km, which includes all areas that fall within a 1km radius from a determined point of interest.

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(example: an isochrone map of 1km and 2km from 116 Molinel Street, Lille, France)

Understanding these different zones and their significance is essential. A manager who has these three tools in their kit will be able to define efficient plans of action to expand their brand’s influence and solidify relationships with clients.

For example, one could compare an isochrone map of 30 minutes to its primary Trade area and discover which areas are accessible and promote stable client-store relationships, and which lack a profitable penetration rate. From there, efficient and relevant marketing strategies can be placed into action.

Potloc can help you set up these tools. With our technology, we’re able to survey, through social networks, thousands of people near your store or your mall to define those zones.

Do not hesitate to make an appointment with us so we can help you conquer your market.