3 Unexpected Uses for Mastercard Retail Location Insights

Credit card transaction insights allow decision makers to equip themselves with a deeper understanding of consumers and trends. In partnering with Mastercard, and with the launch of the Mastercard Retail Location Insights (MRLI) Solution, CARTO brings greater location-driven value to users than ever.

MRLI, which provides spend insights from Mastercard’s 2.3 billion cards and 160 million hourly transactions, belongs on the wish list of every retail site-planner, real estate developer, and city manager. But the MRLI Solution’s utility is wide ranging, as underscored by these 3 unexpected use cases:

1. Demographic Insights for Urban BIDs

For Business Improvement Districts, or BIDs, understanding the consumers who spend money within their district is mission critical. And at a time where cities can have dozens of BIDs, these insights can be a powerful tool in differentiating a district from its neighbors.

MRLI Zip Feeder Feature

The above map uses MRLI’s Zip Feeder functionality to portray the geographic sources of spending for a particular region. In this case we are looking at spending in an area of London that falls within the Northbank BID. Interestingly, only a fraction of the total spend share in this Post Code is coming from people who live there.

On the other hand, significant spending in this postcode sector is coming from the nearby neighborhoods of Southbank and Lambeth just on the other side of the Thames. Digging in further provides a demographic view of that area.

MRLI Demographics

MRLI’s Zip Feeder functionality can provide BIDs, like The Northbank BID, greater insight and inform strategic decisions, such as the nature of marketing campaigns, target audience demographics, and digital or out-of-home advertising.

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2. Evaluating the Impact of Events

Events, both planned and unplanned, can have a substantial impact on the retail landscape of a region. Whether looking to understand the benefits of a major festival, the long term impacts of a natural disaster, or how political happenings can change the retail scene, MRLI can provide a clearer picture.

The impact of June 2016’s United Kingdom European Union Membership Referendum (a.k.a. The Brexit Vote) has yet to be fully understood. The punditry around Brexit has certainly been intense, with predictions over the event’s net effect running rampant. And while more time and data will be needed before a definitive picture of the geopolitical situation in the UK, and its effects can be understood, perhaps we can see movement using MRLI.

Growth Scores after Brexit

The above Postcode Unit is located on Fleet Street in London’s “Square Mile,” The city’s central business district and home to some of the largest banking headquarters in the world. In fact, this Postcode Unit includes many of the retailers and eateries directly adjacent to the London headquarters of Goldman Sachs.

Interestingly, in alignment with Brexit, we can see a dip in the Postcode Unit’s Growth Score. That particular score is a rank based on the percent change in sales between the current month and the same month last year. So in the year after the Brexit vote in June 2016, after which Goldman Sachs noted plans to move 500 people from London to Europe, this Postcode Unit’s growth score plummeted 28%. While this is a single example, and the growth score drop is likely a function of multiple changes, savvy business owners and investors can dig into the Mastercard data to check assumptions and try to discover trends in the wake of major events.

You may notice in the above map, that not every Postcode Unit is represented. This is due to MRLI’s minimum number of retailers within a geographic unit required not being met, and ensures proper anonymization and aggregation of the data.

Major planned events, too, can have a significant impact. With historical insights, organizers of a major music festival and owners of nearby businesses, for example, may use MRLI to answer questions such as:

  • Where are my festival attendees coming from?
  • What retailers and local businesses might be interested in sponsoring my event?
  • What can my business do to capitalize on next years event?
Spend Insights around Coachella

3. Changing Store Formats for Retail

Just because a retail location is struggling does not mean it should be closed. And while it may be easy to attribute lower-than-expected sales numbers to a geographic location being poorly suited to the business, that is not always the case.

For major retailers, a format change (cheaper than a new closing/opening) may be just what a store needs to find its footing. Grocery and general goods retailer Tesco, for example, has store formats that run the gamut from their massive Tesco Extra locations to their new discount-focused brand, Jacks. Diversifying formats can help to more effectively engage competitors and capture a wider audience of consumers.

Ticket Size Insights in London

In the above map, the Ticket Size Scores, (or monthly ranking of rolling year average total sales size) in combination with data such as transaction share by industry and shopper age, indicate that the Hammersmith district of West London may be a candidate for a more discount brand store format.

By exploring transaction insights in MRLI, retailers can do much more than see how their current stores fare. With the combination of historical sales data, regional demographics, and Mastercard transaction scores, MRLI can illuminate the indicators of which store format would be the strongest fit for a particular location, turn a struggling store around, and avoid costly and uninformed closings.

Keep Your Finger On The Pulse With MRLI

Spend insights from Mastercard are a powerful tool for staying up to date on trends and gaining a greater understanding on businesses and consumers in a particular region. Regardless of your business questions, MRLI can help to ensure that decision makers have all of the information they need to mitigate risk and increase the likelihood of success.

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About the author

Content Marketing Manager at CARTO.

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