Build a trade area

Analyze a market's geography in three different ways

Cameron Klapwyk avatar
Written by Cameron Klapwyk
Updated over a week ago

What is my Trade Area?

In site selection, a trade area is the market that a given site will capture. For instance, at a large home-decor department store outside of St. Catharine's, Ontario, most consumers are driving a fair distance to shop there, likely up to an hour. A general industry standard for trade areas is the surrounding area that represents 60% of customers. So for the St. Catharine's department store, that could be a 25 minute drivetime. 

Figure 1. A 5, 10, 15, 20, 15, and 25 minute drivetime heatmap in St. Catherines, ON.

As another example, an espresso bar in downtown Toronto has a highly localized customer base where the majority of customers are coming from nearby office buildings during the day or shops nearby. In this case, the store might use a walktime trade area of 5 minutes.

Figure 2. A 1, 3, and 5 minute walktime heatmap in downtown Toronto, ON.

💡 Keep in Mind

  • Creating a trade area on your map is the first step to customized reporting, team collaboration, and network management in PiinPoint. For more information on how you can use your trade area, see here.

Creating a Trade Area in PiinPoint

There are three methods you can use to define a trade area: Rings, Polygons, or Drive/Walktimes. PiinPoint will automatically remember whatever trade area type you used last. 


Perhaps you just want to report on a 500m radius around one of your potential locations. Under the Trade Area Selection tool, select the Ring option:

Then simply click on the map where you want the centre of your ring, and drag it to the desired radius.

You can also choose to show multiple rings at a couple different radii. Select Rings (Custom) in the Trade Area Selector dropdown:

Just click on the map to place the marker, and enter the distances you want, e.g. 1,3,5 km.

Click the Check symbol to view the rings. This also allows you to be precise with how large you want your radius to be.


To define a customized trade area, use the Polygon tool. Click Polygon under the Trade Area Selection tool. Click on the map at the start of your trade area, and continue to click to draw your desired area. To complete the polygon either double click or click on the start-point of your polygon.

Drivetime or Walktime

Say you identified a potential location in a densely populated urban area. You want to know the competitive and demographic stats for an area within 5 minutes of your potential location. Use a Drivetime or Walktime heatmap from within the Search tool.

You can also generate a Drivetime or Walktime from the within the Trade Area Selection menu by selecting your desired option from the dropdown.

Click on the map to place your marker, and a heatmap will be generated. A popup menu will appear allowing you to customize the heatmap to your preference. You can change between walktime or drivetime, the distance, and inclusion of various roadway types.

💪  Power User Tip #1:

  • A shortcut to generating a Drivetime heatmap is to simply right-click on the map beside your candidate location and select the option, Create Drivetime:

💪  Power User Tip #2:

You can use your customer loyalty data in PiinPoint to learn about the trade area patterns of your network. Learn more here. 

For your next steps on turning your trade area into a detailed report, click here.


Still got questions? Reach out to us via the chat tool, or send your Customer Success Manager a message. 

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