How Ring Studies Lead to Better Business Location Research and Planning

February 20, 2023 By 16 Comments

How can you know if your new business location will succeed? Is the target market you’re looking at likely to buy pool accessories? Is there an emerging young family demographic that makes an area particularly attractive for a child’s clothing retail location?

The best way to answer these questions is to look at the data. Business owners and market researchers can uncover the information they need to make smart decisions through a variety of research studies. One of the quickest, easiest, and most comprehensive of these studies is the ring study.

Read on to understand more about ring studies and how they provide invaluable insights to your business strategy, including what regions might work best for decisions like where to locate and what inventory to stock.

Why Use a Ring Study for Market Research and Business Strategy?

Your team has spent months on its business plan. You’ve developed personas, paved the way for your own unique customer journey, and taken special care to craft unique and meaningful branding that speaks perfectly to your niche. Now all you have to do is get ready to pick a location and start the process of opening.

There’s only one problem: how do you know if your chosen location fits the strategy you’ve chosen to maximize early returns and growth? One of your best options to consider is a ring study.

A ring study is a statistical analysis of demographics and other key information within a targeted area. The area is chosen with a center point and a radius. Rich information is available about subjects within this radius, or “ring,” sourced from top-quality governmental studies.

Ring studies allow for a quick snapshot of a geographic area in a chosen radius around a proposed business site. You can determine the demographic makeup of the area as well as key features of local households, consumer activity, and competitors. Multiple radiuses can be chosen to form several “rings” surrounding the area your business may soon call home.

When you obtain a ring study, it informs you as to what your new market may look like, enabling you to connect the dots between your marketing/sales plan and the ideal community you could settle down in.

Whether this is your first location or your fiftieth, doing your homework is a key component of raising the chances of success. Perform ring studies, affordably and easily, to help you match up with an area that will welcome your new location with open arms.

Aim Right at Your Target Buyer Personas Where They Live, Work, and Shop

Market research has advanced thanks to a combination of incredible technology and advancing techniques. Industries like retail can pull a list of demographics within their current customer base and isolate the traits that correlate most strongly with higher purchase sizes and more-frequent purchasing.

It’s not just about making money by targeting the right people; it’s also about having a good fit. After all, true brand loyalty stems from a mutually beneficial relationship, one where your products and services fulfill an important need in your customers’ lives.

Digital marketing has evolved considerably to target these audiences with laser precision online. But what about the people who drive on the streets, walk on the sidewalks, work in the offices, and live in the homes of the area your business may choose to locate itself? Or the people who visit every year?

Ring studies, in a sense, bring the level of precision available in digital targeting to the real world. They can allow you to narrowly define target markets and proposed locations based on multiple samples.

If, for example, your products appeal to middle-aged men who earn more than the average and who no longer have children living in the home, you can discover communities and regions with the highest concentration of this specific persona.

With a ring study, you can quickly look at factors like age demographics, education, income, and number of children living in the household. Combined, this information forms a cross-section view, helping business owners uncover the perfect location with a high saturation of residents who look like their target buyer market.

Marketers can also cross-reference demographics that are key to understanding what markets present the best opportunities for niche ventures. With a ring study, you can see income and age of population to determine if you would be able to sell ski equipment in an area, for instance, or see data on population and households as well as family ages and family sizes to sell clothing and goods for infants.

Get to Understand Your New Community Better

Every community has demographic diversity, even if it appears fairly homogenous at a glance. When deciding on a business location, understanding the community you might be entering helps your business to adjust its strategy and seek maximum returns in a short time span. The information may prompt you to diversify your product offerings or running special promotions, compared to other locations of the same business chain.  It can also inform hiring practices, staff organization, and store hours.

For example, a store location in a popular shopping district located in a walkable part of the city can mean all-day sales and sustained foot traffic. However, a location in a suburban commuter route may mean strong peaks and valleys in foot traffic. Stores in either type of location may need to orient hours and staff to fit. They can provide steady staffing at the all-day location, or later hours and variably staffed shifts for locations where customers are more likely to arrive from 5PM onwards.

Branding and decor can also be affected by the location. For instance, a restaurant in an older community may be more reserved with decor, whereas one located near a university might have a more eclectic aesthetic.

Just as importantly, the insights revealed in a ring study can also allow you understand your competition more. In some cases, it can reveal how they achieve their sales, what demographics you could have been overlooking in your marketing plan, and so forth.

Plan With the Unique Characteristics of Your New Business Location in Mind

Ring studies can inform longer-term planning, especially when it comes to opening new locations, expanding business lines, or scaling up your offerings once the business has a firm foothold.

Demographics yielded by ring studies reveal opportunities as well as possible limitations, risks, or concerns. You can generate ring series for the current year, last census year, and a 5-year forecast. Comparing these can allow businesses to understand the area not just as it is now but how it has changed — and will change — over the years.

Comparing multiple ring studies in a series can answer questions like:

  • Are families being replaced by young professionals, or vice versa?
  • Is the area seeing a growth in immigrant populations from Southeast Asia?
  • Is household income for the area trending down or up?
  • Are there more people living here with a higher education degree now than there were 5 years ago?

Planning is essential to tracking the future success of a business, and demographics are essential to making plans that reflect the reality of the area a business is located in. By leveraging ring studies, businesses can anticipate how they might evolve in the future and also fit the fabric of the community even as it changes.

Order Ring Studies With Detailed Demographics, Generated on Demand

EASI Demographics makes ring studies that are comprehensive and accessible. Our ring studies are not only highly affordable and generate instantly, but they can also be fascinating! Just a quick analysis is all it takes to learn about a target area and better understand what makes it tick.

With multiple levels of detail at multiple price points, you can order the perfect ring study for your budget and goals. Take a look at the following examples to better understand what to expect.

When you’re ready, you can order a Demographics on Demand ring study from EASI today!

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