TNG BLOG

Mapping Helps Distribution Decisions

Posted by abaldwinson@tng.com on February 1, 2016

Mapping's Visual Representation Provides Interesting Insights

Recently one of our Data Analysts was experimenting with a new software and built a really interesting application ~ mapping distributions and sales of magazines. We are still in the process of seeing how we can use this to benefit both stores and publishers, but are hopeful that it would be a way to ensure the right titles and copies are in the right stores. Mapping the data provides visual representation of the distribution, which gives some interesting insights that we just wouldn't have uncovered if we were looking at a spreadsheet.

Question Lead to Discovery

In one of the sample cases that we looked at, we were curious where Equestrian titles were having the most success. The results were perhaps not surprising once we saw the maps, but they certainly were enlightening.

 

map1 Mapping distribution with horse titles plotted (Click on image to enlarge)

At first glance, the results looked typical of what you would expect to have happen, The larger the circle, the greater the sales at a particular store. Throughout the country, it looked like there were greater and lesser sales at the various retail stores in what seemed a somewhat homogeneous pattern.

 

map3
High concentration of stores receiving the titles.

 

But as we drilled down into the various regions, we realized that while saturation was much greater in and around the Toronto area, there were actually less opportunities and sales looked insignificant at certain retail outlets.

 

 

 

 

map4 Sales showed atypical behaviour, indicating more opportunity. (Click on image to enlarge)

 

Conversely, when we look at the Prairies region of Canada, we found greater sales were showing at much more diverse retail outlets and scattered throughout the region. In many cases, rural stores had greater sales than even destination locations at urban stores. This indicated to us that there was more potential for expanding into this region that we might have originally thought.

Currently, we have more questions of how to use this mapping software to provide business intelligence and distribution guidance than we have answers. We feel however, that as we continue to ask those questions and work toward answers, that more will reveal themselves.

We know consumers love magazines. We see it in the positive sales every time there is a breaking story in the media. The key and the challenge has always been to ensure the right products is in the right store. Our eventual goal is to fine-tune and optimize distributions for the various categories and titles so that sales are optimized at the retailer store level. If we sold just 10 more magazines at each and every store, that means millions for the category.

This mapping software could also help us realize demographic clustering in the efforts to marry up the shopper with a particular retail store and provide the retailer with the shopper they want.

Topics: Print, Publishing, Retail, Magazines