Competitor Analysis - How we helped a client with competitor acquisition


Recently, one of our clients of over a decade, and a market leader in their industry, approached us about producing a large batch of maps and data (upon completion we had several iterations of the maps with 1 per store and circa 380 store locations), all to the same specification.

The maps were to be used to analyse competitor locations as part of a bid to buy a competitor’s network.

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The brief

Beacon Dodsworth has over 20 years experience as a provider of GIS software and solutions. We have the capabilities to deliver such projects in an automated fashion. To manually produce these maps would have taken weeks.

In the lead up to creating the maps we worked with our client to identify the perfect layout and level of detail. We gave our client the complete freedom in terms of colours and icons to tailor their project.

We agreed on the following specifications:

  • Maps to be centred on store location (with icons coloured to reflect corporate themes)
  • Catchment 1: encompassing an area equal to 60% sales value
  • Catchment 2: encompassing an area equal to 80% sales value
  • Competitors: split into sub categories of National, Regional, and Independent, with associated colours used for competitor icons
  • Two concentric radii of either 1 mile or 6 miles (dependent on variation of maps)

All mapping variations included spreadsheets showing various counts of competitors from within the catchments and radii, average size of catchments around store locations, plus minimum and maximum travel times and distances.

To calculate the sales territories of 60% and 80%, the sales value per Output Area (one of the smallest geographical areas) was calculated, then ranked in actual drive distance from the store. We accumulated these and cut off at 60% and 80%. Overlaying these onto the relevant sales catchments allowed analysis of how far customers are - or aren’t - willing to travel for this specific product. The concentric crow fly radii added context to the scale of the maps as well as additional counts of competitors within the radii. These were useful in cases where drive time or distance is less of an issue, such as central London.

380 maps created to specification in less than a week

Working to a tight time-scale, Beacon Dodsworth used in-house, bespoke written code to automatically produce circa 380 maps identical in layout. Manually, even using Prospex, our GIS software, to produce such a volume of maps would take 180 hours – that’s working at producing one map every 30 minutes, allowing time to import the data, run the calculations and export a clear JPEG image. In a 7 hour 30-minute working day that would be 24 days or almost 5 working weeks. Even a team of 5 at this pace would take almost a full working week. With our code, we managed to produce the full set, including sense-checking and some slight amendments in under 4 days.

With the code and specification in place, this hugely reduced the cost and time to reproduce all 380 location maps, allowing for our client to make amendments, such as different sized radii and analyse the impact this had on counts without a major impact on project cost.

At the request of the client, we produced several further analyses from the data:

  • A count of competitors within each catchment and radii from each store
  • Percent of customers from each store who passed a competitor before purchasing from their store 
  • Spreadsheet with separate tabs to highlight the nearest competitor, their distance from the store and the average accurate drive time and distance (not crow fly) for the 60% and 80% catchments

A successful acquisition of a competitor’s network

Beacon Dodsworth are proud to have supported this client in their latest project. Working with them and their external advisors, our competitor analysis maps and data were presented to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), and have contributed to the successful acquisition of a rival’s network. We continue to support this successful client and look forward to our next project together.

An example of one of the catchment area analyses

Above and below: Two examples of catchment area analysis maps.

Another example of a catchment area analysis.

Below: Example data showing the percentage of customers who passed a competitor's store before purchasing from one of our client's stores.

Data example: the percentage of customers who passed a competitor before buying at our client's stores.

More about Prospex

Prospex GIS mapping software is a cost-effective, flexible, data mapping, visualisation and analysis tool that enhances your business decision making. Read more here...