This is the first in a series of delicious analytics “recipes” that will make any data-driven professional’s mouth water.

Recipe: The Offline Expansion Apple Pie

Plenty of offline retailers have fumbled the transition to the online environment, and now the online masters are getting their turn to attempt the leap in the opposite direction. As ecommerce companies gain increasing brand power, many of them are looking to try their hand in the offline world, and they’re not interested in making the same mistakes.

An offline expansion is risky business and, like most big risks, it’s an effort that is best started with a test. Before committing to a five-year lease and hiring new staff, ecommerce stores can try their hand in the offline world through holiday pop-up shops and on-location events.

In this Offline Expansion Apple Pie recipe, we’ll teach you how to find the very best location to try your hand at offline retail.


Order Data


Pull a list of every order that you have filled over the last 6 months.

Shipping data


The only shipping information you need for this recipe is the zip code. You want to find your most popular neighborhoods.

Preparation by hand

Step 1: Measure your ingredients

This part is easy. You just need to get your spreadsheet set up.

Set up your order and shipping table:


Set up your top locations table:


Step 2: Find your unique zip codes

In your top locations table, use this formula to build a list of your unique zip codes.

=UNIQUE (Orders!B2:B5)

Keep in mind, the UNIQUE function is native to Google Spreadsheets. If you’re doing this analysis in Excel, you can find instructions on how to do this calculation here.

Step 3: Calculate your revenue by zipcode

In your top locations table, use this formula to tally up total revenue by zip code for the past six months.



In this example, one zip code has clearly emerged as the best location. Now you know where to set up shop!

A few tasty variations

With a few slight alterations, this recipe can bring deliciousness to other parts of your business. For example, you might want to:

  • Identify the states where you’re most popular and increase Facebook ad spend in those locations
  • Identify the countries where you’re gaining traction and should be adding additional language capabilities
  • Track geographical trends over time

If you’re interested in baking multiple varieties of this recipe, or just tracking top locations over time, then it’s worth adding some professional grade tools to your kitchen. RJMetrics connects directly to your shopping cart platform, so you’ll be able to make this recipe in no time and keep close tabs on the exact locations where your customers love you most.

Check out the video below to see just how easy it is:

What others are saying about this apple pie

Chubbies has an extremely loyal customer base, as in “lose-your-pants” kind of loyal. They had already used shipping data to identify the cities where they were most popular, but were running into a problem. “We were looking at cities like Atlanta, Houston, and DC,” says Dave Wardell, Shorts Financier at Chubbies. “But these are sprawling areas and prime retail is extremely expensive—we needed as much specificity as possible.”

Chubbies used RJMetrics to look at shipping data down to the zipcode level, identifying the exact neighborhoods where they are most popular. When a pop-up shop opportunity opened in Georgetown over the 2013 Holidays, they jumped on it. They knew this neighborhood was a hot spot for them and they wasted no time grabbing the opportunity.

The team set up a shorts-only man cave where their most loyal fans and future customers came out to get the full Chubbies experience. “We threw a huge party one night and had people coming back sheepishly the next day to collect their pants,” Dave says about the party. “It was extremely successful. We plan to continue using RJMetrics to monitor our popularity in specific geographies.”