Frequently asked questions


I want to know more about POTLOC

What do you do?

Our mission is to enable citizens in creating a local environment that resembles them, providing them with a platform to give their opinions on the commercial offerings in their neighbourhood.

From one neighbourhood to the next, POTLOC surveys thousands of consumers on their shopping habits, preferences, and commercial needs. Today’s technology has allowed us to replace costly and tedious phone surveys with participatory geotargeted campaigns broadcasted across social media. Our studies are sold to municipalities, property developers and retailers so their commercial offerings can evolve according to their unique local citizens.

How did the POTLOC concept start?

It all started as a gamble: our co-founders, Louis and Rodolphe, made a game out of predicting whether the businesses in their neighbourhood would survive or die. Eventually, they realized they were able to predict the evolution (and fate) of their local businesses with nearly perfect accuracy. Thus, they discovered the significance of local intelligence: residents are capable of predicting and influencing the commercial offerings that are being developed in their local areas. This collective knowledge is invaluable to the retail sphere.

The business was founded in 2014 and though our business model has since evolved, we have always kept our purpose at heart: to enable citizens in expressing themselves and creating a neighbourhood in their own image.

Why the name POTLOC?

POTLOC comes from potluck. In North America, a potluck is a shared meal where all the guests contribute a dish, slowly building a well-rounded meal. Combining these small individual efforts results in a friendly feast where everyone feels welcome. Each citizen makes a contribution to society, and this is the value we’ve chosen to defend by inviting all the retail players (citizens, retailers, cities) to get involved in a communal project. We truly love the sense of community that defines POTLOC, and the idea that we’re creating a link between the different players in the market.

I am a citizen and I want to know more about getting involved

Why should I give my opinion on my local commercial offering?

Your opinions on your neighbourhood have a direct impact on its current and potential commercial offerings. The information you bring allows property developers, municipalities and merchants to make decisions that aim to respond to your needs as a consumer.

Essentially, you are participating in the revitalization of your neighbourhood; you help shop owners develop custom offerings, and you become an active participant in constructing commercial spaces that resonate with you.

What’s the best way to have an impact on my neighbourhood?

There are two scenarios in which you can give your opinion on your neighbourhood:

  • A city, a retailer or a real estate developer has commissioned a survey in your geographic area and you will be solicited on social media. Complete the geotargeted survey to give feedback on the ongoing campaign. The municipality, business or property manager that hired POTLOC to conduct the study will take these answers into account. You can then chose whether you want to stay connected to the community, and may be surveyed again should another study take place in your area.
  • There isn’t a specific study in progress, but we welcome you to give your opinion all the same by completing a generic survey. Your participation is anonymous, and we will provide this information to professionals who may be interested in establishing businesses in your area in the future. This data will be consolidated and provides an understanding of the overarching trends in consumer expectations on a local scale.

Which information will be circulated?

In our studies, your answers are cross-referenced with the other participants’ so we may extrapolate tendencies, create graphs and analyze the participants as a whole. Each answer is anonymous, and your personal information is (and will remain) entirely confidential. Each piece of information you provide is rendered anonymous and cannot be traced, from your email to your income bracket and all other personal details.

We need your personal information for two main reasons:

  • We need to ascertain that each participant only completes the survey once so that results aren’t biased with duplicate results.
  • Your personal information allows us to give anonymous sociodemographic information about the population to those who mandated the survey. For all other information about the conditions surrounding utilizing the shared data, refer to our terms of service. If you want to know more about the nature of the personal data POTLOC holds, or if you wish to delete all your personal information from our database, please contact us at help@potloc.com.

I want to know more about your consumer surveys

Methodology

How do you poll consumers?

To begin, we build custom surveys and make them compatible for all devices. We then broadcast the surveys across social media, targeting a specific geographic location. Our canvassing can be as broad as a national campaign, or as precise as a 1km radius surrounding the target location. Targeted consumers will see an advertisement on Facebook inviting them to give their opinion. Then, they answer specific questions that we created to respond to the needs of our clients. Finally, we process the data to extract local consumer behaviours according to each sociodemographic profile, in addition to compiling a detailed qualitative analysis about the population’s needs.

Who do you survey?

We start by establishing a consumer profile, such as women between 25 and 35 years of age who have been to supermarket X at least once in the last twelve months. Once this population and the geographic area are determined, we push our surveys on social media. Today, over 80% of the Canadian population uses social media at least once a week. In 2017, Facebook dominated other social media use in Canada: 84% of internet users claimed to have a Facebook account and 79% of account holders used the app daily. Regardless of age, Facebook is the most popular platform in Canada. Here is a detailed list of the percentage of Facebook account holders within each segment of the population:

  • 95% of Canadian internet users between 18 and 24 years old
  • 94% of Canadian internet users between 25 and 34 years old
  • 92% of Canadian internet users between 35 and 44 years old
  • 83% of Canadian internet users between 45 and 55 years old
  • 75% of Canadian internet users over 65 years old

Through Facebook, our clients are capable of reaching every consumer profile they hope to target, whether they are clients or non-clients, no matter their age, their location, or their socio-professional status. Because we use Facebook as a platform and apply our own targeting algorithms, we are able to collect samples that are much larger and more precise than those of our competitors.

Do you buy data from Facebook?

No, we do not purchase our data from Facebook.

We use Facebook to advertise our surveys and to make sure that the targeted population sees our advertisements until we obtain our desired goal of participants. All the information we receive has been given voluntarily by the participants and is rendered anonymous during processing, so that we can provide precise data without compromising privacy.

Do you guarantee an amount of participants?

We always guarantee a minimum amount of participants. We consistently meet our goals, and have never had a campaign fail. In fact, we often obtain more participants than our target. All the participants express themselves on topics that concern them specifically: local retail businesses.

According to a survey conducted by the French organization Centre-Ville en Mouvement (Downtown in Motion), which they’ve dubbed “the downtown and commerce barometer,” 89% of residents feel a sense of belonging in their neighbourhood, and 97% believe the local commercial offering is related to that sentiment. Consumers respond to our surveys because the topics interest them.

How do you ensure the survey samples are representative?

To make sure the survey sample shares the same characteristics as its population benchmark, we expose our advertisement to a large audience that is representative of the average Facebook user. Our survey is shown randomly across Facebook to different users, and is then completed voluntarily. Our surveys are democratic, and the large number of participants guarantees robust data from one survey to the next.

What about statistical bias?

All studies conducted through a “classic” methodology have biases, meaning the survey method disregards or over-represents certain categories within the population. For example, on-site surveys always reach participants who are in a lower income bracket than the national average, while phone surveys tend to mainly reach seniors or people who stay at home (remember, the majority of Millennials don’t have a landline!). On the other hand, it is harder to reach the retired population with our social media surveys.

Once we have defined our baseline customer profile, we can weigh the answers to make them correspond to the real characteristics of the benchmark population. Thanks to our large quantity of participants, our method offers the lowest possible bias and is capable of reaching segments of the population that are harder to attain with other survey methods.

Who can mandate a study?

Municipalities, retailers and commercial real estate agents can approach us to conduct a study on their behalf.

In Canada, we work with municipalities like the city of Montreal or Joliette; commercial real estate companies like Ivanhoé Cambridge and Cadillac Fairview; and retailers such as Loblaw and Aldo.

In France, we work with cities such as Beauvais; shopping centre management companies like Alterea Cogedim and Klépierre; developers like BNP Real Estate; and retailers like Decathlon and Carrefour.

Can you operate everywhere?

Theoretically, we can survey everywhere and everyone. In reality, before each study, our team verifies whether the study is feasible before guaranteeing any success. Our methodology applies to every kind of location, but we have to verify certain criteria before launching a campaign.

What purpose do POTLOC surveys serve?

Our geolocated consumer surveys allow our clients to better understand their target consumers. Thanks to the information gathered in our surveys, our clients can improve their services and meet the expectations of the surveyed population.

I already use market research, how is that different from consumer studies?

Our consumer studies compliment traditional market research. Market studies can take the industry’s pulse and help you better position your company against your competitors. Our studies face the challenges that are unique to your company and survey the potential clientele within your catchment area. We collect information on a granular level, producing high-leverage actions to improve your commercial offering so it can respond to your current and potential clientele.

What value do you add in comparison to other survey methods?

It is entirely possible to conduct surveys via other methods (phone, focus groups, on-site) or with your own tools. However, our survey method offers numerous advantages that are difficult to rival.

The cost of our surveys per participant is up to 5 times less expensive than traditional survey methods, whereas the size and precision of our survey samples are twice as successful as market research industry standards. We achieve this goal through our high response rate, which we obtain due to the voluntary nature of our surveys and our ability to expose our questionnaires to large audiences. Furthermore, as media continues to evolve, surveys conducted over social media are gaining precision and efficiency.

In Canada, landlines are disappearing: 27.5% of citizens don’t have a landline, whereas nearly the entire adult population holds a social media account, with 84% registered on Facebook.

Our survey method is accompanied by our knowledge of how to treat our gathered data so it can be applied easily:

  • The capacity to recalibrate your survey sample so it is representative of the target population.
  • The capacity to cross-reference data to extract the most pertinent insights.
  • The capacity to sort, treat and organize thousands of comments to distinguish the trends that are relative to your specific challenges.

Our professional teams create studies in a way that makes the data is easy to interpret, reliable, and capable of being transformed rapidly into action plans. This process would take you a lot of time on your own, since an optimal outcome relies on the experiences of several professionals.

How much impact do your studies carry?

Rather than measure the impact of our studies, we prefer to measure the quality of information we provide. Our studies become arguments that help our clients orient their next business decisions — we try not to make decisions for them.

What is the duration of a campaign?

A campaign’s duration depends on the number of desired participants. In general, most campaigns last around a month.

Price

How much does a study cost?

The price of a survey depends on several factors: the targeted area, the minimum number of participants, the complexity of the survey itself, etc. Please contact us to receive a detailed quote.