How to Use Foot Traffic Analytics to Propel Your Business

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Foot traffic analytics offer unique, versatile and comprehensive insight into the data that influences today’s important business decisions. Many organizations heavily monitor foot traffic to gain insight into human mobility patterns, using the data to inform the selection or deselection of their next retail or business location.

Foot traffic tells the story of where people choose to spend their time. Aggregated datasets are able to offer valuable information that can be infused with real estate data and other data sources to forecast the future viability of a proposed location, or the current success of a brick-and-mortar business.

The data is extrapolated from mobile phones, cameras and sensors powered by the Internet of Things (IoT). The collected information, regulated by privacy laws and other governance protocols, protects the privacy of the individual while counting their device and presence as part of a collective dataset. This information is interpreted by data scientists, business analysts, and third-party consultants or services in a variety of ways that benefit the business that studies it.

This article will examine how foot traffic analytics offer detailed insight into the success and viability of your business or proposed future brick-and-mortar stores.

What foot traffic analytics tell a business about success

Today’s foot traffic analysis employs a variety of methods to understand the truth of a physical location. Ground truth data refers to any information that is ascertained by direct observation, as opposed to inference. The ground truth of a business site, for example, is measured as a target variable and harnessed as trusted information to investigate how valid and accurate other data sources are.

Comparing ground truth information with other foot traffic data can tell the complete story of the business in question. Store performance metrics can be utilized to understand your target audience and their spending patterns in an area that can influence layout, inventory, and marketing. Is a specific product resonating with your audience? Are individuals within your target demographic visiting your location – and if so, at what times of the day?

The data can provide substantial insight into the success of your business, including in-store conversion rates.

Customer visit patterns can be analyzed over a specific period of time to understand how your target audience interacts with a location on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

Portfolio benchmarking allows you to gain insight into how one particular location is performing in contrast and comparison to other businesses within your organization, while competitor analysis measures how you’re stacking up against other businesses in the industry or surrounding area.

Combined or harnessed individually, these datasets can measure the success or gauge the future opportunity of a business over a targeted period of time. The numbers can drive decisions regarding inventory planning and staffing, as well as future growth opportunities.

Does your visitation data show an influx of new business over the last quarter? Has your customer base dwindled as compared to the same period of time last year? This actionable insight helps you better understand external factors, inform business decisions, and gain customer insight.

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Businesses that leverage foot traffic analysis to impact their strategy

Let’s examine how businesses can deploy foot traffic analysis strategies to measure success.

This Unacast Tableau Workbook was used to analyze the foot traffic data of convenience stores across the country in order to determine who would be crowned king of road-trip pit stops. Beyond traffic, the workbook also examined the visit duration for each of the major retailers, to gain insight into which brands were able to lean into the grocery store market, signified by longer shopping trips.

The data revealed not only the visitation champion, but also offered precise insights into a vulnerability that could offer future success. On a regional level, convenience brands like 7-Eleven and Circle K owned large shares of their market with no real competition. In terms of visit duration, Circle K could identify an opportunity to market themselves along the lines of a grocery store, as their average customer stay was longest, at around 20 minutes.

7-Eleven identified that Thanksgiving weekend was particularly slow for business. With a targeted marketing campaign centered around the holiday, their fortunes could change in the coming years.

Foot traffic is a predictor of financial performance for industries that rely on in-person transactions for a portion of their total revenue. The correlations between traffic and revenue are particularly high in businesses like self-storage, movie theaters, convenience stores, and restaurants.

Perhaps no other business marries the concepts of human mobility and in-person transactions as well as hotels. The business model depends on human migration, and the transactional nature of purchasing a room for the night allows for unique insight into the importance of a desirable location. Studying foot traffic analytics and location data allows hotel business operators to further segment their guest bases across demographics, in order to target future marketing and meet specific needs.

Implement foot traffic data to take your business planning to new levels

Foot traffic analytics can augment the visibility of a variety of key business metrics. These insights can be harnessed to predict quarterly revenue outcomes and determine future site selection opportunities.  Your organization can leverage aggregated data sets to test key business criteria, including:

  • Store Performance. Understanding your target audience, their lifestyles and their visitation habits will help you strategize store layouts, inventory levels and types as well as the marketing necessary to capitalize on popular products.
  • Customer Visitation Habits. How often does your target customer visit your location – or your competitors, or even the businesses in the surrounding area – on an hourly, daily, weekly and monthly basis? The shopping patterns of residents within your targeted geographical region can boost confidence that your next brick and mortar will be successful. Understanding demand forecasting from the perspective of foot traffic will allow you to use venue-specific data as a proxy.
  • Site Selection. If your business model is one based on expansion, detailed analytics regarding the health of your current locations can allow for adjustments and strategy shifts prior to opening your next store. Is your existing business portfolio hitting forecasted traffic targets and servicing your intended customer base? Understanding these metrics will help you determine the best path forward.
  • Competitive Intelligence. Understanding the competitive landscape enables your business leadership to determine the viability of your business amongst other locations in a given area. What’s more, foot traffic analysis offers important insight into the visitation patterns of their audiences.
  • Portfolio Benchmarking. If you’re interested in how individual stores within a brand are performing relative to the industry itself, portfolio benchmarking can help. From competitor analysis to inter-industry comparison,  foot traffic metrics can be utilized to determine your viability and positioning within not only your location, but your vertical itself.

Effective analysis of foot traffic provides end-to-end visibility into the habits of your intended customers. From capture rates to consumer retention levels, the comprehensive, encompassing interpretation of aggregated datasets can unlock new growth opportunities for your organization. Seeking out a human mobility data provider may augment your ability to decipher these and other important foot traffic metrics.

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Unacast offers the customized foot traffic data that matters

Unacast partners with today’s business leaders to create a bespoke consumer foot traffic tracking strategy. Our proven aggregated datasets – available in over 80 countries – can provide your business with unrivaled insight into the foot traffic patterns of the spaces you inhabit, or would like to.

Foot traffic metrics tell the story of your business, whether offering new insights into your current location, or forecasting future growth. These datasets can be cross-referenced to account for the historical impact of catastrophic weather and other large-scale events (like pandemics) in a given area. This information can offer site selection considerations from another vantage point, as weather events and other non-business related disturbances can affect the population growth of your proposed locations.

By analyzing the key metrics related to the migration patterns of your target consumer, you’ll be able to make informed decisions for site selection or deselection. Teaming with our experts will afford you the opportunity to learn how you can boost your competitive advantage.

Our data-informed human mobility insights offer you the ability to understand foot traffic to your existing venues, as well as trade area analysis and cross-visitation trends. By accurately assessing the health of your current operations – and understanding how your market penetration efforts would impact a proposed future location –  you’ll have everything you need to make empowered business decisions.

To learn more about how Unacast solutions can help your organization understand foot traffic metrics, check out our Retail Site Selection eBook. This resource will illuminate the power human mobility data can offer in order to determine the ideal location for your growing business.

Once you’re ready to get started, schedule a meeting with us to begin dissecting the foot traffic metrics that will propel your business growth.


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