Mapping Software for Retail: 6 Must-Have Features


Whether you’re expanding your brick-and-mortar stores, optimizing your retail network, or assessing market potential, using the right mapping software can be a game-changer. In this guide, we explore the key features to consider when selecting mapping software to ensure it aligns with your business objectives.

Mapping Software: key features for retail

👉 The term “mapping software” encompasses a wide range of tools that facilitate geographic data visualization, analysis, and decision-making. Depending on your needs and preferences, you can choose between locally installed software or cloud-based SaaS platforms.

1. Data Visualisation Capabilities

📍Interactive map​

An interactive map lies at the core of mapping software, enabling the identification of geographic challenges and solutions that impact business locations. 


Heatmaps play a critical role in comprehending data distribution across geographical regions. They use color gradients to highlight concentrations, making it easier to spot trends, hotspots, or areas of interest. 

📍Catchment areas and travel times

This feature enables in-depth analysis of travel times surrounding specific addresses and comprehensive evaluation of trade areas encompassing any location. 

📍Customizable Layers of Datas

The ability to add, remove, or adjust data layers on maps is fundamental. It allows you to overlay multiple datasets, enabling comprehensive analysis and tailored visual representation.

Symaps Location Intelligence platform 7 1 -
Add layers of data on the map: population, footfall, competitors,...and more.

2. Integrated Databases

📍Integrated Localised Data

Ensure that the necessary data for your analysis is readily accessible within your chosen mapping software. Look for comprehensive local data such as population demographics, traffic statistics, competitor locations, and infrastructure details.

📍Data Sources and Data Quality

Evaluate the quality of the available data. Consider the data sources, level of granularity, last update, and update frequency. Assessing these factors ensures that the data is reliable and suitable for your analysis needs in the long term.


Mapping software makes it easy to analyse your competitors based on geographic research. With access to a wide set of data, it’s easy to benchmark a location’s potential in any area. This same ability can help compare and contrast two potential locations.

Territorial network - Benchmark with competitors
Example: benchmark your locations with competitors

3. Data Upload and Geocoding Capabilities

📍Data Upload

To enable visualisation and analysis, the software must support importing and integrating vital data like your current store footprint, store performance metrics, turnover, and planned future locations. This data integration forms the basis for comprehensive insights.

Store cannibalisation analysis
Ex: upload your locations and visualize coverage and cannibalization - Symaps platform


Geocoding capabilities will automatically translate addresses from imported data into precise map coordinates. This enhances the accuracy of your location-based analysis, ensuring reliable results.

4. Geospatial Analysis Capabilities (Location Intelligence)

Look for geomarketing software that provides a range of capabilities beyond basic data visualisation. This ensures you have the tools necessary to adapt to various analytical needs and make informed location-based decisions.
Features can include :

📍Area-Based Analysis

Evaluate population and traffic within your chosen trade areas, define personalised areas to conduct your analysis.

📍Prediction Capabilities

Look for features that enable revenue forecasting, trend anticipation, and risk management. Having these prediction capabilities empowers you to stay ahead of market dynamics and make strategic, data-driven decisions.

📍Personalised Recommendations

The software will analyse your data, account for your business objectives, and find the best location for your profile.   

coverage optimisation Symaps 1 -
Get personalised recommendations on best locations - Symaps platform

5. Data Export for Further Analysis and Reporting

Location analysis plays a pivotal role in informed decision-making. To drive this process effectively, sharing location insights is paramount. Features that facilitate information sharing and exporting maps and data can significantly impact the decision-making process.

📍Data Export

Look for software that simplifies data export, providing the convenience of downloading analysis results in widely-used formats such as Excel. This facilitates seamless data manipulation and enhances accessibility for your team.

📍Screenshots capture

simple feature, yet so useful to share your maps and integrate them directly into your reports or presentations.

📍Automatic Report Generation

This feature not only saves time but also ensures consistency and reliability in your reporting processes. This is especially beneficial for franchisors who regularly need to edit local market reports for their franchisees, ensuring a professional and standardised approach.

6. Data Privacy & Security

📍Data Privacy & Security

When evaluating mapping software, make data privacy and security a top priority. Look for software solutions that offer robust data security measures, ensuring the safeguarding of sensitive information and the preservation of confidentiality. This is vital for maintaining the integrity of your data and protecting against unauthorized access or breaches.

📍GDPR compliance & local data privacy regulations

Given the potential sensitivity of location data, especially when not anonymized, it’s crucial to ensure that the mapping software complies with local data privacy regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This compliance is essential for safeguarding individuals’ privacy and ensuring responsible data handling.

In conclusion

Ultimately, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Your choice will be guided by your specific objectives and priorities: you may emphasise advanced visualisation features, precision of recommendations & predictions thanks to AI or else reporting edition features.

About Symaps
Symaps offers a complete solution for site selection, location planning, and expansion strategy. Our services cater to diverse industries, including retail, luxury, restaurants, car charging stations, and more. We empower businesses with precise, data-driven insights to make informed decisions regarding their brick-and-mortar investments.


Reach out to us if you need a tool to assist you in finding the best location for your business or analysing your footprint.

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