How to work with retail datasets and foot traffic

Are you looking for data to help you better understand the retail industry? Retail datasets can be a valuable resource for businesses looking to make more informed decisions. Whether you're looking to analyze consumer behavior, optimize inventory, or forecast sales trends, retail datasets can provide the insights you need. In this blog post, we will explore some of the best sources for retail datasets, as well as how to effectively use them to gain valuable insights into the retail industry.

retail datasets

The questions retailers want answers to

Brick and mortar retailers have diverse reasons for using retail datasets, but the key questions they wish to answer are often the same:

  • How am I performing compared to my competitors?
  • How is my local trade area changing?
  • How many people are visiting my store and what will this look like in the future?
  • Which areas and venues perform best for my brand and why?
  • How do I evaluate and prioritize new and additional locations?
  • Who is my customer and where do they come from?

Each of these questions requires a specific dataset or solution to answer, i.e.:

  • Simple foot traffic patterns can tell you how many people are coming and going from a brick and mortar location and where else they visit;
  • Analysis of aggregate movement within a catchment area can help to inform site selection;
  • Layering human mobility data with demographic data and other retail datasets can tell you who your customers are, and how to create better experiences for them; and
  • Using retail datasets and human mobility data together can help with forecasting seasonal traffic and consumption to help more efficiently manage the supply chain.

Where to get retail datasets

  • Unacast provides global human mobility data, including retail foot traffic data and migration patterns. With Unacast datasets, retailers can understand foot traffic in the locations they care about, and how their customers move around the world. To learn more, book a meeting with us.
  • The Census Bureau's Retail Trade Division collects and publishes data on a variety of topics related to the retail industry, including sales, employment, and e-commerce. The Census Bureau's data is collected from a variety of sources, including surveys, administrative records, and statistical sampling.
  • The National Retail Federation (NRF) is a trade association representing the retail industry in the United States. The NRF collects and publishes data on a variety of retail-related topics, including sales, employment, and consumer behavior. In addition to its own data, the NRF also partners with other organizations to collect and publish data on the retail industry.
  • Online databases and market research firms offer retail datasets for purchase. Some examples include Nielsen, Euromonitor, and Kantar. These datasets can be expensive, but they often offer a detailed and comprehensive view of the retail industry.

Once you have access to retail datasets, it is important to know how to effectively use them to gain insights. One way to do this is by using data visualization tools, such as Excel or Tableau, to create charts and graphs that help you understand trends and patterns in the data. You can also use statistical analysis tools, such as R or Python, to identify correlations and relationships between different variables in the data. With Unacast, you'll have immediate access to the visualizations and aggregated trends you need to be successful in the retail industry.

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Common use cases for retail datasets and foot traffic

retail foot traffic datasets

Fortunately, the most common use cases for retailers are pretty well understood, though always evolving. Usually, retailers want to combine these datasets the purposes of forecasting, site selection and/or site performance measurement, or to augment their competitive intelligence. We break down each of these use cases below.

Forecasting - Gain a deeper understanding in your supply chain, logistics, distribution, and demand forecasting. Leading organizations leverage human mobility insights to build better products and make smarter decisions with real-world data. Specific outcomes often sought include the ability to:

  • Measure consumer activity at precise locations to optimize supply chain planning
  • Explore changes in area demographic profiles that impact sales
  • Understand site potential using venue-specific foot traffic as a proxy
  • Enhance site analysis with advanced metrics like capture rate, visit duration, customer origin
  • Unlock trends for any area using custom-defined locations

Beyond forecasting, retailer use foot traffic and retail datasets to plan for opening, closing, or growing specific store locations.

Site Selection - Site selection data solutions help you make more data driven decisions, leading to higher-performing business locations under any market conditions. Site selection teams, real estate brokers, and regional economic development groups all use foot traffic data to assess potential sites, advise investments, and sharpen their location strategies.

  • Discover areas that residents and/or visitors already congregate or travel to
  • Discover which site characteristics help create a lasting visitor base
  • Pinpoint which sites meet your ideal visitor mix
  • Identify which areas have gaps in the local marketplace
  • Evaluate the foot traffic/performance of a potential site
  • Forecast capture rates for new sites

Specifically to the end of improving site performance, retailers use human mobility data to:

  • Measure the performance of a specific site beyond revenue
  • Discover patterns in foot traffic and cross-shopping
  • Determine visitor profiles and catchment area
  • Benchmark sites against addressable market and competitors

The last point - benchmarking against competitors, leads to the other most common use case: helping to inform retail competitive intelligence.

Competitive Intelligence - Competitive intelligence data solutions help you uncover new trends about your competitive landscape using location data that can be directly associated to a competitive brand. See how you stack up against other brands’ visitation trends across locations. Measure your market share and regional dominance over time and gain critical insights about your competitors’ foot traffic trends and customers.

  • Benchmark against your competitors
  • Refine your strategic positioning
  • Uncover your competitor's customer profiles

Stacked together, the forecasting, site selection and competitive use cases broadly account for the diaspora of unique business applications retailers find for foot traffic and retail datasets.

A Suite of Foot Traffic Insights for Retailers

Retailers can measure visitation impact across their entire business and make better decisions with Unacast's retail foot traffic datasets and solutions. Book a meeting now to get started.

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