HAVING THE BEST PREDICTIONS IS NOT AN OPTION
The World Forecasting Systems team are developers of smart, complex forecasting systems for retail, business and science. They have more than 50 years of experience in designing and constructing prediction systems to solve complex problems. They are experts in AI, Pattern Recognition, Retail Analytics, Statistics and Real Time Internet Forecasting. Our tools have been used by NASA, Nielsen, Experian, ICSC and hundreds of retailers, manufacturers, property owners and brokers.
NEWS AND EVENTS
THE WORLD'S FIRST RETAIL SEARCH ENGINE
The WFS team is excited to announce that it has developed the world's first retail search engine. By indexing all 4,000,000 US retail locations and attaching over 20,000 kinds of intelligence to each location WFS and TheRetailPlanet.com have created an amazing tool that allows retailers, brokers or property owners to instantly solve complex problems that would traditionally take months or years! For example, what if you wanted to find the next 1,000 best locations for quizno's in the states east of the Mississippi river? A challenging problem? Not really. Because the property is already indexed (just as Google indexes WEB sites) the results take less than a second! Next problem: which US shopping centers have the highest concentration of potential customers for the Gap living nearby? Even the Gap with its sophisticated analytic tools doesn't know the answer to this question! Our retail search engine can find the results in a couple of seconds.
RETAIL CLONING IS NOW A REALITY
Retail cloning brings the power of retail analytics that has been available only to major chains to small chains and start-ups. The WFS team has developed cloning tools for theretailplanet.com that allow a small retailer to instantly create a working forecasting and analytics system that can plan markets, grade locations, find customers and much, much more. In just a few minutes a retailer can "clone" their brand based on knowledge obtained from studying thousands of locations for each type of retail. Please visit theretailplanet.com for more details.
ICSC'S GLOBAL CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM
ICSC (the international council of shopping centers) has a new global, center classification system developed by the WFS team. This powerful set of tools connects with the icsc global shopping center directory and allows users to add and classify centers in over 70 countries. Each country's classification rules and specific retailers used in the classification logic can be customized to fit that country's specific requirements. Mike Niemira, VP of research and chief economist for ICSC hopes to make the new system available to users in the spring of 2014.
MANUFACTURERS: WHERE DO YOUR PRODUCTS BELONG?
Imagine a system that finds the customers for any branded product in all cities and neighborhoods in the US. And it identifies the retail chains that need to be selling this product --- and where they are located. The WFS team is currently testing its first system for manufacturers with Lane Boots, a small apparel manufacturer based in Fort Worth. Our analytic tools have already helped Lane select the top ten markets and associated trade areas for expansion. Synergistic retailers and targeted trade areas are next.
PREDICTION SYSTEM DESIGN
WFS designs, develops and supports custom prediction systems both in retail and other areas. Please examine our portfolio to see some examples of prediction systems developed for sports, marketing, internet usage, financial services, product optimization, direct mail optimization and other domains.
We specialize in the development of GIS applications using the Google Maps API. Our most recent US development, the platform that hosts theretailplanet.com, connects a database with over 20 trillion data points, accessed instantly, with user's spatial queries.
TRADITIONAL FORECASTING TOOLS
We are experts with traditional statistical and more contemporary analytical tools such as neural networks, genetic algorithms and optimization models.
The WFS team has developed its own meta search engine (SmartLittleEngine.com) and most recently developed a Google-like search engine for retail that indexes all 4,000,000 US retail locations and all retail districts. Search engine development is an option for clients using one of our databases or storing information in our global information shell.
We have conducted several hundred research studies totaling over 3,000,000 surveys for approximately 400 clients. Today, most of our research is done with online surveys designed to solve specific client problems. We design surveys to solve specific problems, create the final instruments, administer the surveys, analyze the responses and present the final results in a report.
DATABASE DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT
The WFS team has database experts who can design and develop databases ranging from simple to complex and then create analytic tools to leverage these data.
CUSTOM SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT
We develop user-friendly custom software for both web-based and desktop applications. We also create mobile applications for either the iOS or Android platforms. All applications can manage Big Data scale problems.
COMPLEX FORECASTING SYSTEMS
The WFS team specializes in the development of forecasting systems, designed from the ground up, to solve complex problems. With a long history of experience in ai, pattern recognition, multivariate statistics, scaling, complexity theory, neural networks and many other analytical tools the team is able both to apply these methods to solve problems or design and develop completely new analytical tools and methodology when needed.
RETAIL MODELS, DATA AND FORECASTS
The WFS Team has been doing research and developing models for retailers since 1976. We have created over 1,000 forecasting systems for retail chains. Our most recent work, which took 4 years, was the design and development of the TheRetailPlanet.com's online platform and retail search engine. This unique, big data, system indexes all 4,000,000 retail locations in the US and scores them instantly on thousands of criteria.
Several WFS Members were founders of TheRetailPlanet.com and currently serve as part of the TRP team as advisors, investors and part-time staff members who maintain TRP's online systems and data. Because TRP does very little custom work most custom retail projects such as research or the development of custom models is the responsibility of WFS.
- Forecasting Models and Other Analytics: WFS team members have developed over 1,000 retail forecasting models and hundreds of custom, analytic tools for site analysis, market planning, marketing, product selection and optimization. Our pioneering research in 1985 was the first to identify drive-time trade areas as the basis for much consumer behavior. Our Cheetah System, developed in 1995, was the first comprehensive GIS and Retail Analytics Platform available for the PC. Our TAOS Platform for retail analytics, developed in 2003 for Prediction Analytics, Inc. (and later sold to Experian) was the first comprehensive Internet site analytics system. Our Advanced Location Analytics Platform, developed for TheRetailPlanet.com is the first retail modeling system to simultaneously score over 1,000 retail brands for any US Location.
- Retail Synergy Model: A system that estimates the positive or negative impact of all major chains on a specific target chain based on proximity and other factors. This is used as one component in TheRetailPlanet's property scoring system. Developed for TheRetailPlanet.com.
- Publications: Team members have published two books and over 100 articles on retail analytics, site selection, market planning, retail synergy, marketing, cross channel behavior and many other topics.
The WFS Team currently offers its services to retailers through TheRetailPlanet.com.
Optimization & Simulation
- Product Marketing Optimization System: Selects the optimum marketing strategy for a set of up to 1,000 products and an unlimited number of consumers considering cost, availability, customer profile, likelihood of purchase and other factors. Developed for Experian.
- Direct Mail Optimization System: Designs the optimum strategy for a direct mail campaign for consumers in a market, region or country based on the type of mail, sequence of mailings, response rate by household type, carryover impact from cumulative marketing, cost and other factors. The system can also be used for multi-channel campaigns. Developed for Experian/Sweden.
- Simulation System for Mall Video Cameras: Simulates the behavior of each camera in a global system of 100,000 cameras to reduce the impact of camera failure and also to make future forecasts. Developed for Footfall, Inc.
- SimHood Neighborhood Simulation: This complex system simulated the behavior of 10,000 households creating using Experian's Mosaic Lifestyle system for a section of Fort Worth, Texas. Each household unit had a "need state" for 30 kinds of common products based on consumption rates, the type of household and other factors. The households "lived" by actually getting onto the roads and visiting retailers within a few miles of the neighborhood to purchase products. They were influenced by how many purchases were needed at one time, the convenience of the retailers and many other factors. The system made a number of predictions including the number of visits to each of the key retailers used in the simulation.
Search Engine Development
- Retail Property: The WFS Team has developed the world's first true retail property search engine that instantly can solve complex search problems for retailers, brokers, owners and any other groups that have a need for information about retail locations. The search engine was developed by indexing all 4,000,000 US retail locations, connecting them with 1k retail districts and then attaching over 20 trillion data points. A user can instantly solve basic problems such as "find all centers in Texas that have McDonald's within one-mile, are less than 50,000 square feet in size and have good potential for a fast food sandwich restaurant" to "locate the top 1,000 trade areas for Quizno's based on customer potential and retail synergy." These kinds of complex searches have never been possible before.
- Smart Little Engine: The WFS team developed SmartLittleEngine.com, a meta search engine that uses five other major search engines to generate its results. This technology was then used in the development of vertical search products tied to retail. This platform is no longer operating live today.
- Automatic Nano Forecasting Logic: A complex system that constructs a unique model, automatically, in real time given the current parameters and then produces a forecast using a hierarchical chain of robot supervisors and data aggregators. Works well for retail sales forecasting, product forecasts, property value forecasts and fraud detection.
- World Future Forecasts: This general forecasting system for the world focuses on predicting several key index values for health, economic stability, environmental stability and political stability. It uses a combination of the nano-logic described above tied to real time data feeds from multiple global sources which are then connected to a cross impact simulation analysis using parallel and hierarchical genetic algorithms that run continuously to keep the results current. This system will be available online late in 2014.
- Customer Research: The WFS Team has conducted research with over 3,000,000 customers from our retail, Internet, university, political and other client sources. We design survey instruments, administer the surveys online, analyze the results and provide reports to our clients.
- Customer Location Models: Our customer location technology, delivered as a Google Maps application, allows retailers, cities, manufacturers and other organizations to find where their primary customer sources are living. With the help of our partners, Nielsen or Experian, this information is available in over 30 countries around the world.
- The Customer Potential Score: This is a score attached to every piece of retail property in the US for 1,100 retail chains and smaller chains that have been "cloned" and added to our database. This score measures the potential of the trade area for that location to have customers who like a specific retail chain. This product was developed for TheRetailPlanet.com and is available on their online platform.
GIS Applications / Google Maps API
- Global Center Classification System: The WFS team, working with ICSC, has designed and developed the Online Global Shopping Center Classification System that ICSC uses with its users to classify and store center data from over 70 countries.
- Global Grid Cell Info Storage and Retrieval Platform: Our grid cell architecture places 1 kilometer grid cells tied to latitude/longitude coordinates across any areas globally where there is commercial activity or other data of interest. This system is designed to work on the Google Maps API and to store any information of interest. The platform developed for TheRetailPlanet.com in the US contains 830,000 grid cells tied to commercial and residential property and holding over 20 trillion pieces of information.
Our Partners & Clients
The WFS team has helped hundreds of organizations
The WFS team has worked as partners and supplied intelligence and analytics to many major organizations to several hundred small companies in the past ten years.
The power of recursive analytics
HUMAN INTELLIGENCE IS A RECURSIVE PROCESS
Our own, powerful forecasting tools that are part of every human mind depend on recursive analytics. At any one moment we can make decisions and watch ourselves make decisions at the same time. This watching process, or recursive thinking, allows us to test and re-test as the results of our decision-making unflold in the real world. WFS believes that most complex forecasting problems benefit from an approach that includes recursive analytics.