Using Foot Traffic Analytics to Improve Business Performance

July 9, 2020

Foot traffic analytics measure the amount of customer traffic at a specific place or location of interest. Consider the following charts that illustrate foot traffic for leading department store brands between February and June 2020.

Using Foot Traffic Analytics to Improve Business Performance

All of the department stores we looked at saw a precipitous drop in foot traffic in mid-March as a result of COVID-19 and store closures. However, as of late June, Kohl’s appeared to have already recovered much of its daily foot traffic.

By examining the percentage change in foot traffic,  we can also compare foot traffic between Kohl’s and other, smaller department stores. Importantly, higher-end department stores, like Nordstrom, are recovering foot traffic more slowly than moderately-priced department stores, like Kohl’s.

Foot Traffic Trends at Leading Department Stores
Foot Traffic Patterns at Leading Department Stores

How Marketers Can Use Foot Traffic Analytics

1. Understand Foot Traffic Patterns

Using foot traffic analytics, you can understand foot traffic patterns for a single place or location, and also for multiple places and locations. If you have multiple business locations, foot traffic analytics can also give you clues about store performance and the unique characteristics of each location. By segmenting foot traffic by region or area, you can also determine how customer traffic is similar or different. You can even segment by time-of-day to see when your business locations are likely to be the busiest.

Consider the following charts illustrating weekly foot traffic trends at Kohl’s stores in both Texas and California. In spite of COVID-19 visits to Kohl’s stores in Texas approached and even exceeded normal levels in Texas in early- and mid-June. In contrast, visits to Kohl’s stores in California recovered partially in June but remained significantly lower than in February 2020.

Kohl's - Weekly Foot Traffic Trend by State (Texas)
Kohl's - Weekly Foot Traffic Trend by State (California)
2. Pinpoint Changes in Foot Traffic Patterns

When consumer behavior changes. foot traffic at your business may change, too. Consumer behavior can change at any time, as a result of an emerging trend, new competition, or a product recall. As illustrated above, many businesses experienced a dramatic shift in consumer visit patterns due to COVID-19. Foot traffic analytics can help you identify these changes in consumer behavior more quickly – and even more importantly – to quantify the impact of those changes on your business. 

3. Contrast Foot Traffic Patterns with Competitor Locations

By comparing foot traffic analytics for your business with those of your competitors, you can gain insight into how your businesses are similar or different. Indeed, you might discover that your competitors are busiest on weekdays, but that your own business receives more customer traffic on weekends. In addition, you can compare buyer personas, customer loyalty, and trade areas.

4. Enrich Sales Data with Foot Traffic Data

Chances are you already have sales data readily available for your business. If so, you can combine foot traffic data with sales data to model customer conversion rates in the physical world. Do the people that walk through your doors make a purchase? Do your sales increase as foot traffic increases, or on the contrary, do your sales figures remain flat? By combining store visit data with other data sources, you can better measure how well your business is engaging prospective buyers, and how many of your store visitors subsequently turn into loyal customers.

Benefits of Foot Traffic Analytics

Optimize Staffing & Resources

Understanding foot traffic patterns can help your business plan better. If your business is busy on weekday evenings and Saturday mornings you can increase staff during those times, for example. If your business is typically slow on Tuesdays, less staff may be required on that day of the week. Indeed, slower times of the day may be ideal to take on non-customer-facing projects, like inventory or payroll.

Inform New Product or Service Offerings

Foot traffic patterns help to inform new product and service offerings, as well. For example, if Tuesdays are slow, consider introducing weekly events on Tuesdays to attract more people to your business. A well-timed cooking class or trunk show can bring in more customer traffic even on typically slow days. Or, if foot traffic is slowing gradually, it may make sense to see whether your customers are visiting your competitors instead. From then on, you can adjust your offerings and design marketing strategies to win them back.

Improve Business Performance

Data is the fuel of the new economy. Accordingly, with data that measures customer traffic at your places of business, you can better monitor business performance and spot changes as they happen. This information can inform your operating hours or staffing plan, inspire updates to your store inventory or service offerings, and enable you to find opportunities for competitive advantage. In the end, when you are better prepared to serve your customers and to meet their needs, you increase customer satisfaction and your business’ chance of success.

Get Foot Traffic Analytics with Location Intelligence

To sum up, location intelligence gives retailers, hoteliers, restaurant managers, and others the ability to understand foot traffic patterns at any location. Location data generated by consumer mobile devices gives businesses privacy-friendly insight into consumer movement patterns. Moreover, foot traffic analytics built on location data can give your business better insight into your customers, helping you to spot changes in consumer behavior, understand your competition, and plan for long-term success.

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