Wednesday, 24 November 2021 10:47

GapMaps expands to food and retail sectors in Southeast Asia and Middle East


Mapping software specialist GapMaps expands to Southeast Asia and the Middle East, now spanning 21 countries.

The retail sector has adapted to new customer demand patterns and built new channels to market. GapMaps has seen strong growth in the fast-food delivery channel, creating demand for data and insights to better plan and capture the potential of growing markets.

“Since 2018, we’ve been adding five new markets each year and double-digit revenue growth year-on-year,” claims GapMaps founder and managing director Anthony Villanti.

Villanti says the growth is due to ease-of-use and sophistication of the mapping software, which uses the latest demographic, government and industry data to help clients choose the right physical location specific to their business needs.

“Today, we have approximately 500 brands using GapMaps in sectors where a physical location is required, such as aged care, childcare, general practice, allied health, fitness, fuel, grocery, quick service restaurants, shopping centres, and convenience stores,” adds Villanti.

According to GapMaps director market planning Tim Shaw, global brands urged them to enter new markets so that they can use GapMaps overseas. “This contributed to decisions on where we expand the business,” Shaw says.

As countries emerge from COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, GapMaps is observing and monitoring increases in pedestrian activity in central areas, shopping malls, and other retail precincts.

“What’s been interesting is the variability in the COVID-19 recovery process,” adds Shaw.

“We expected to see variability between countries due to different lockdown restrictions and when those were loosened or removed. However, we see significant variation in the pace of recovery between large and small shopping malls and central precincts, an inconsistency observed across large urban centres when compared with smaller urban and regional centres,” observes Shaw.

“Brands accessing these insights mean they can manage their physical store networks through the recovery and plan for the new normal in a post-pandemic world,” Shaw says.

GapMap’s clients, Domino’s, KFC, Starbucks, Burger King, Subway, and McDonalds contributed to international growth. Eat’n’Go, the franchisee for Domino’s, Cold Stone, and Pinkberry in Kenya and Nigeria, are benefitting from the data insights that GapMap provides.

“GapMaps has a unique ability to create high quality location intelligence data and insights in some very data-challenged countries,” comments Eat’n’Go group managing director and CEO Pat McMichael.

“The quality of their data and platform has enabled me to introduce world class market and network planning processes to businesses where network planning had previously been quite rudimentary,” McMichael says.

Growth strategy
“Additionally, where GapMaps sees significant growth opportunity, we back ourselves and proactively enter a market and build a local client base,” says Shaw. “This combination has proven to be a good growth strategy for the business.

“In Southeast Asia, quick service restaurants are one of the fastest growing sectors. Although population growth has slowed down in recent years, the consuming class growth can be up to four times that rate, which is driving store and shopping precinct investments from global brands,” adds Shaw.

Access to demographic data in some markets has traditionally been challenging, relying census data that can be more than a decade old. GapMaps says the data is often too broad and not appropriate for local catchment analysis to support a location decision.

“With GapMaps, we can analyse different local demographic, industry, and government data to provide insights at a granular level, often drilling down to a 100 - 250 metre grid to pinpoint an optimum store catchment,” comments Shaw on how GapMaps can be utilised by companies. “That gives customers the same market planning processes and experience they use in Australia.”

Sector expansion
Aside from retail, GapMaps will also expand into aged care, medical, and health since data in these sectors are now more accessible.

“For now, our focus is on retail and food delivery, which is where we can add immediate value to our clients,” Shaw notes.

“Although the pandemic has impacted retail categories like food and hospitality, it has created an environment where global and local brands are using the time to reset, rethink, and reassess their network planning strategies and physical location decisions in preparation for post-lockdown,” Shaw says.

GapMaps says an advisory team has also been established to support customers in all markets. This team, which is the same people who built the GapMaps platform, provides consulting services, in-depth data analysis and research to help clients with new insights, strategies, and business plans.

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