Modern Magic: How Data is Changing Site Selection

Companies across North Texas are using cutting-edge data wizardry to peer into the future as part of the site selection process for their operations. And few are better at it than The Container Store. Experts say the 38-year-old Coppell retailer is a leader in employing what’s known as “predictive analytics” to tease out optimal locations for its stores, which sell high-end storage and organization products such as shoe racks, canisters, and baskets.

With number-crunching and visualization help from South Carolina-based eSite Analytics, The Container Store brass know how much income residents in a given neighborhood have, but also how long customers may sit in traffic when they’re likely to visit a prospective store. Valerie Richardson, the chain’s vice president of real estate, can factor in information that correlates with The Container Store (NYSE: TCS) customers, such as how many people in a geographic area give to charity or enjoy drinking wine.

“Depending on the size of the investment, one bad store could cost you five good stores,” she said. “If you make the wrong decision, you live with the costs for five to 15 years. An unsuccessful store is a huge contingency on the balance sheet.” Read More >