Mapped Out

Territory mapping for franchises is a precise science – and one that deserves tailor-made solutions using the latest tools and technology, says Jon Newsum-Smith

Today we are seeing more and more franchise concepts of all types entering the market. These vary from new brands launching in well-established market sectors to original business concepts seeking national development having achieved, typically, regional success as a local business. Regardless of their background, businesses these days are increasingly turning towards tailor-made solutions for their territory or store optimisation programmes and away from typical historical methods; those based not on scientific and justifiable evidence but rather on unquantifiable generalisations.

Territory Mapping

Territory-mapping methods are now greatly enhanced by the availability of robust data sets and advanced mapping tools. Overview have witnessed, over the past 18 months, a notable increase in this element of mapping and analysis among its franchise clients base; and fully expect this trend to continue. This bespoke approach to territory mapping and analysis does not just benefit new franchisors. Well-established franchisors with mature networks can also reap significant rewards by analysing their existing territories and making sure that, going forward, they are maximising the opportunities available in those geographies.

Existing franchisors also benefit from cross-referencing customer locations with demographic variables and other business data to help shape future territory development. This can also prove invaluable in the resale process since missed opportunities within a specific area can be identified and targeted. From a franchisee point of view such analysis can help them understand where to focus their marketing strategy by highlighting where they have previously performed well and identify untapped areas with similar characteristics within their territory.

Newly franchised businesses benefit from utilising readily available data, as well as any other collated material from the existing business or from pilot studies. Taking an analytical mapping approach (rather than setting an arbitrary figure for the number of households or businesses to create a territory) means a variety of significant factors, specific to each business, can be taken into consideration. The result is an altogether much more realistic territory model. Franchisees want to feel reassured that they have a viable proposition if they buy into the franchisor’s concept, therefore territory designation must be sound, and equally so must the methods used to define it. If the franchisor can demonstrate that some form of scientific or analytical practice lies behind the territory creation it will give the prospective franchisee the assurance they seek, and at the same time also likely give confidence to the franchisor that they know what they are offering is realistic and will not give rise to any issues in the long run.

Overview work closely with clients to ensure they are utilising the correct data for their particular territory model. Having developed over 200 UK franchise territory networks, Overview have noted significant territory model differences between franchisors even within the same market sector. Assessing each customer individually is paramount to successful territory sizing – this has always been the case and will remain so.

Recent developments
Now with a recently relaunched web offering at, Overview are at the forefront of mapping development using new web technologies. Having developed the system completely in-house, Overview also have the ability to add functionality for the benefit of all its users. The system has been developed with franchising in mind and owes the shape of much of its latest development to a test group of franchisors that piloted the site before it went live. The site will continue to be developed and offer further enhancements – so watch this space!

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