During the past year, the Chain Store Advisors blog has covered a variety of topics under the broad rubric of real estate planning and site selection. Many of these ideas have been combined in a white paper released last month called “A New Approach to Best Practices in Real Estate Planning and Site Selection.” Sounds like a typical boring white paper title, but don’t be fooled! The “new approach to best practices” is really a rejection of the very idea of best practices in chain store real estate analytics.
There are best practices for simple tasks and information systems such as backing up your data or verifying the accuracy of your locations. However, for situations and systems that are complex such as the retail marketplace, it is impossible to create standardized methods and practices because the “cause and effect” relationships between things are too hard to predict and they are constantly changing. A phrase used by people in complex systems theory is “emergent practices,” which describes ways of approaching and solving problems based on recurring patterns in data and collaborative decision-making. Some of these approaches are described in the white paper. Continue reading