Rank similar sites is a tool to score potential new sites against a known, well-performing site called a master site. Two techniques are available. The first, or conventional, technique compares values for up to five variables between the master site and the scored sites. You will assign a plus/minus percentage of the master site value that you want the new site values to fall within. Sites are then assigned a score of 1–5 based on the number of variables that match the criteria you set.
The second, more powerful technique uses a series of multivariate statistical techniques, including Principal Component Analysis (PCA), to create groups (factors) of like variables. This approach ranks the trade areas around each of the scored sites by comparing each of the scored site variable groups with the same variable groups of the master site. Choose the number of best (most similar) sites you want shown.
Why do some stores do better than others? The old real estate axiom of "Location, location, location" is usually the most important part of the answer. The rank similar sites is based on the idea that the characteristics of a master site can be used to rank similar sites elsewhere. Rank Similar Sites allows you to score any polygon data such as simple rings, drive times, other forms of trade areas, and census tracts. It also allows you to score point locations by associating the point with its underlying geography polygon and the characteristics of that polygon. You can get a quick overview of a large number of potential sites and pick the top-scoring sites for additional analysis.
The master site might be based on your best location or a typical location. You might choose a master site based on a store with a particular product mix or one that has the highest rate of same-store sales. You have to pick a master site candidate for the Rank Similar Sites tool to score against.
The Rank Similar Sites tool also needs a number of sites to be scored (scored sites) against the master site. The master site and scored sites need to be in the same layer.
The Rank Similar Sites wizard is flexible in what is used for sites. Some examples of site inputs are a database of points added as a layer using the Store Setup wizard; a database of points geocoded by latitude-longitude or address and set up using the Analysis Layer Setup wizard; rings, drive times, or other trade areas created in Business Analyst; or any polygons added as a layer on the map and set up using the Analysis Layer Setup wizard. Although it isn't required, you should compare similar-sized areas around the master and scored sites. For example, if you're using a five-minute drive time around your master site, you should create and use a five-minute drive time around your scored sites.
Scored site rings can be generated around a set of points you determine to be important. Examples include points with traffic counts higher than a user-defined value, points representing empty parcels zoned commercial, or buildings for sale or lease.
A master site and sites to be ranked. The master site can be contained in the same layer as the sites to be ranked and can be either a point or polygon layer.
The example below shows typical output from a Rank Similar Sites analysis. The attribute table contains all the variables used to determine similarity, either from your database or from demographic layers, and a rank field. A thematic boundary layer is also added to the map showing the rankings. In this case, two-minute drive-time trade areas were used around each potential site.
The columns and numbers they contain in the image above are described below:
- PARKING (number of parking spaces), RENT (monthly rent) and SQFT (office square feet) (in the blue box) - these variables represent data gathered for each potential site and can be in the same or separate databases as the master site.
- EDUCBASE (Education attainment), HHPOP_CY (Household population) and PCI_CY (Per capita income) (in the red box) - these variables represent demographic data aggregated from the underlying Block Group BDS layer extracted for the boundaries of each individual drive time area.
- RANK (in the green box) - this shows your Rank Similar Sites field. Rank 1 is your master site, ranks 2 is the potential site with the most similar characteristics for all variables in your analysis and so on. The ranked polygons are shown on the map thematically from red (master site/most similar) to yellow (least similar). Rank 1 is indicated by the green arrow.