More than a year ago, I outlined a framework for evaluating what some might call an "omnichannel trade area" (click here). This is the kind of stuff we did at Eddie Bauer in the mid-1990s ... you've probably done something similar for a decade or more, right?
Of course, others are not catching on (click here). It's helpful when more than one person says something.
If you evaluate trade areas, you learn all sorts of fun facts.
Even if you don't have any stores, analyze trade areas anyway. Call 'em "Markets" ... like Boston or Richmond or El Paso. Chart sales trends by zip code by channel in the market over time. For many, California was a leading indicator ... customers quickly shifted out of print and into e-commerce back in 2000 - 2005. Conversely, rural New England holds on to tradition longer than most areas. Look at what customers in those trade areas purchase. Compare it to what customers in California purchase. You'll see differences. Those differences tell you what the past looks like, and what the future might look like.
Use Omnichannel Trade Areas in non-traditional ways. Then use your imagination to chart a path from today to the future.