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Using Retail Construction Data: More than just construction applications and approvals

by Ed Griffiths

Since joining Barbour ABI in January of 2024 I’ve been impressed by the breadth and depth of information available through the Built Environment dataset we produce and maintain through our industry leading market research team who make over one million calls a year to ensure our projects are the most up to date in the market.

A small but exciting arm of our research team is dedicated to digging into what is happening among retailers in the UK from a planning and construction perspective, speaking to real people on the ground every day to understand what is happening, where and when.

Since I have joined Barbour ABI we have been working closely with retailers to increase our data’s accessibility for them while also upping the analytics available to them on the dataset.

The Use of the Data on Planned Retail Openings as a Competitor Intelligence Piece

Barbour ABI’s Built Environment dataset serves as an invaluable tool for retailers, offering a comprehensive overview of planned retail openings across the UK. This information acts as a critical component of competitor intelligence, allowing businesses to stay ahead of the curve.

By understanding where and when new stores are set to open, retailers can adjust their strategies accordingly. This might involve ramping up marketing efforts, exploring new locations for expansion, or even revisiting the product mix to better serve potential changes in customer demographics spurred by these openings. Such proactive measures can significantly enhance a retailer’s competitive position in a fast-evolving marketplace.

Understanding Both Their Own and Their Competitors Store Coverage

With access to Barbour ABI’s dataset, retailers can gain insights not just into their own store coverage but also into how they stack up against competitors. This dual perspective is critical for strategic planning, as it identifies both opportunities for growth and areas of potential vulnerability.

For instance, if a competitor is expanding aggressively in a region where a retailer has limited presence, this could signal the need for that retailer to consider opening new locations or enhancing existing ones to protect its market share. Conversely, identifying areas underserved by competitors can reveal lucrative opportunities for expansion.

Understanding Their Planned Openings Impact on the Existing Retail Landscape

The dataset also allows retailers to analyse the impact of their planned openings on the existing retail landscape. This is crucial for assessing market saturation, understanding consumer choice dynamics, and anticipating potential shifts in customer loyalty.

By evaluating how new stores might alter the competitive balance in certain areas, retailers can make more informed decisions about site selection, store size, and format. Moreover, this analysis can guide retailers in tailoring their offerings to meet the specific needs and preferences of local customers, thereby enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Integrating Planned Housing Developments into Their Workstreams Earlier to Get the Competitive Edge in New Developing Areas

Lastly, the Built Environment dataset includes information on planned housing developments, providing retailers with a unique opportunity to integrate this data into their strategic planning processes. By doing so, retailers can position themselves advantageously in emerging markets before they fully develop. Early identification of these developing areas allows for strategic site selection, optimized store layout planning, and the establishment of supply chain logistics well in advance of market saturation. This proactive approach not only secures a competitive edge in new markets but also aligns retail expansion efforts with demographic and economic growth trends, maximizing long-term profitability.

By leveraging Barbour ABI’s dataset, retailers can navigate the complex landscape of the UK retail market with greater confidence and strategic insight. This approach not only helps in maintaining competitiveness but also in identifying new opportunities for growth and expansion in a constantly changing retail environment.

I am delighted to be able to attend the UKCW event this year, in part because it will expose me as a new member of the Built Environment world to all things construction, but because I believe that using retail construction data is an exciting glimpse at how data can transform businesses across the UK supporting them in their strategic objectives. While the session itself will be focused on how retailers are using the data it is a demonstration on how our data can be leveraged to the advantage of those using it.

Register for UK Construction Week London here and learn more about our retail session.

About the author

Picture of Ed Griffiths

Ed Griffiths

Ed's background includes a Masters degree in Psychology, which is where his love for research and data stems from. Ed has been working for the last 14 years in the FMCG Industry helping clients and retailers grow their businesses by leveraging data. Ed was also a regular on the presenter circuit, presenting at national and international conferences to help demonstrate the role data can play in organisations day to day activities.

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