Sometimes a reader emails me with a question about a chart makeover. It is hard for me to free up the time for personal 1-on-1 answers, but if I can discuss them here for the benefit of everyone, it is a good deal. So here we go, I am obviously removing any reference to the specifics of the situation.
This case example is about supermarkets. There is a plan to open a new one, one that will be far bigger in floor space than all the surrounding super markets. This floor space will be the main competitive differentiator.
Because of confidentiality I cannot post the actual image, so I will describe it (apologies for the bullet points):
  • A copy of a Google map with all the grocery stores in a 2km area marked with red circles
  • Each red circle (store) is connected to a descriptive label at the edge of the map.
  • In the middle of the map, a bit green circle where the new store will be opened.
  • At the bottom is a sentence explaining that "Our surrounding competition are mostly supermarkets which are severely space constrained, we can use this fact to our advantage"
My suggestions
Ideally you want to break up this chart into at least 2 charts with different messages:
  1. A Google map with competing stores and the new stores marked. If possible, get rid of all other clutter on the map: parking lots, bus stations, etc. etc. Make it as clean as possible. The key message: "yes, we are going to open another store in a catchment that is already full of competitors".
  2. To make the "our store is bigger" point, you have multiple options, depending on data and images that you have available:
    • Two horizontal bar charts with with an entry for each of the 20 or so stores, and your new store: bar chart one: distance to your store, bar chart 2 estimated floor space
    • Image(s) of a "typical" competitor store, maybe even spread out over multiple pages, and then a computer generated image of your new super store
    • Google street view images of each of the 20 competing stores (so people get a real sense of how small and amateurish they are).
  3. The big question people will ask is whether there is another big food store in the neighborhood, maybe at 2.1 km away. Maybe you need to include a map of the entire city and plot the locations of mega stores to complete the picture.

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