How POTLOC is Reinventing Retail Market Research

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By Mario Toneguzzi

A Montreal company is transforming the way market research is done in the retail industry and it plans to expand its operations to Ontario, BC and the United States.

POTLOC’s mission is to build smarter neighborhoods by giving consumers a voice. Every citizen in a defined trade area is asked to choose the next stores they would like to see open in their neighborhood. These hyper-local consumers’ insights are then used by retailers, real estate companies and cities to optimize the local retail offering.

(Example of Facebook Campaign to reach target markets)

(Example of Facebook Campaign to reach target markets)

“We’re disrupting the market research industry,” says Marc Obeid, Senior Account Manager with the company which uses social networks to source thousands of consumer insights.

“We’re a customer-centric data provider. What we have noticed in the past year is that the retail industry is changing a lot and the one thing that hasn’t changed is the way we capture consumer insights. We’re transforming the way market research is done.”

The company has 20 employees and it has a division in France. He says it will expand into Toronto within the next three months and into Vancouver next year. It is currently considering several options in the United States.

The company is changing the way market research is done by targeting a specific location and asking citizens specific questions about their consuming habits, preferences for retailers and their experiences with certain retailers.

The research provides key information for those in the real estate and retail industries for future decision-making.

It’s crowdsourcing at its finest helping enterprises to make decisions based on effective bottom-up data, with very low margin of error.


That’s important information for retailers to understand to determine if their stores would be successful in certain geographic locations. Also, it provides a tool for retailers to understand why some of their current stores are under-performing.

“For retailers & real estate companies, one of the greatest uses is we can speak with shoppers and non-shoppers within a defined trade area. Why people do not go into a certain shop at a specific location. What they dislike about it. Where they are going. And why they are going to that other place,” says Antoine Théoret-Poupart, Head of Growth for POTLOC.

“That’s one of our main highlights. We are giving insight I believe that nobody in the industry is giving. This is why companies like, ALDO, Decathlon, Carrefour or Cogir use our data”

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Retailers are using this data to evaluate potential new locations or analyze under-performing stores. On the other hand, real estate companies are using it to get data to close and secure the right tenants or analyze under-performing malls.

Obeid says the company generates insights which are all about details. Decisions need no longer be made from general information. They can truly understand the local landscape much better with detailed information.

“What’s going down? Who are the competitors? Why are they more sensitive in this neighbourhood than other neighbourhoods? This is what we’re providing. It’s really hyper-local data that we generate for them,” adds Obeid. “We don’t use third-party data. We generate data specifically for each problematic.”

Canadian Retail News From Around The Web: October 19, 2017

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Mario Toneguzzi

Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary has 37 years of experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, city and breaking news, and business. For 12 years as a business writer, his main beats were commercial and residential real estate, retail, small business and general economic news. He nows works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Email: