Desire lines, or spider diagrams, are a series of rays drawn from each customer to the associated store location.
There are three ways to generate desire lines:
- Euclidean or straight-line distance
- Drive time
- Drive distance
After the desire lines are created, you can create a thematic layer using the output feature class. The thickness (or color) of each desire line can be symbolized to be proportional to the weighted variable for that particular customer. Desire lines can be weighted by any number in the customer database. For example, a hospital might weight each patient line by the number of hospital stays per year. Insurance policy holders might be weighted by the number of policies or the dollar value of claims.
How desire lines are used
- A lawn and garden operation uses desire lines to adjust advertising expenditures by visualizing the greater draw toward expanding suburbs and a more limited reach toward the inner city. New locations are assigned accordingly.
- A national home improvement and builder supply operation maps weekday and weekend desire lines to better understand variations in these market segments.
- A convenience store and gas chain creates desire lines based on affinity card data to examine the impact of new suburban locations on older, highway-oriented stores. Older, marginal operations are closed when excessive cannibalization can be seen.
- A multistore dry cleaning and laundry operation uses customer addresses and time of day to visualize travel patterns of customers going to work versus going home.
- Large supermarket chains use desire lines weighted by sales to analyze the effect of distance on expenditures per visit.
- A retailer uses desire lines to identify weekday versus weekend shoppers. The resulting analysis can be used to identify consumer behavior and shopping patterns. For example, weekday shoppers travel less distance than weekend shoppers.