How to Measure Foot Traffic Using Data Analytics

You need to know how many people visit your store now and what sort of audience you're acquiring. Foot traffic data is going to be invaluable to the success of your business.

Businesses big and small have to face the modern-day truth that brick-and-mortar stores just don't cut it on their own anymore. Online retail, especially for places focusing on a niche demographic, is an absolute must with our current technology.

However, this doesn't mean physical locations should cease to exist. In fact, your business might not be able to make it without one.

To make your storefront a success, you need to get customers to come inside. This can be trickier than you may initially think, no matter where you're located, and could require some insider knowledge.

You need to know how many people visit your store now and what sort of audience you're acquiring. Foot traffic data is going to be invaluable to the success of your business.



How to Collect the Data

Going in, you want to know what kind of data you need to help your business soar. Instead of just a headcount of people who visit your store, you can learn about who is coming in. You can even gather information about those who pass by without stopping. The type of tools you'll need for the job vary from security cameras to sensors and everything in between.

Many different companies specialize in foot traffic data your business could benefit from. They can do all the heavy lifting for you so you don't have to slow things down to get your data. You find a company that specializes in particular areas. For example, SoLoMo Technology can provide real-time maps while Aisle Labs can show you shopper demographics.


Types of Information

There are a lot of things you can glean about people from collected data. While you may have an idea of what information your store needs to succeed, there's still a lot more to learn. For instance, even the amount of time shoppers spend in your store on average could be important knowledge.

Which parts of the store customers visit most is also beneficial so you know what products are popular. It's also good to know how close customers live or work to your brick-and-mortar location, especially if you're thinking about moving. Also, collect information about those who don't shop with you so that you can learn why. While your current customers are extremely important, you have to expand your base.


How to Use Your Data

Collecting all this information is just one part of the process. Once you finally have the coveted data, you need to actually use it in your favor. With any luck, the analysis gathered not only information on foot traffic, but also location and weather information. With this little trifecta, you can understand a lot about how to operate your storefront more efficiently.

If you find shoppers are going to one particular spot in your store, you can rearrange the floor plan. Make it easily available as soon as they walk in or in the back so they have to pass your other products to get to it. If you find times where there's a lull of activity, you can offer special discounts like early bird specials or a certain percent off after dark. You can also learn about your audience to better market your products toward them, especially with window displays that could attract their attention.


Why Measuring Is Helpful

Whatever type of business you run, measuring foot traffic is important to keeping your storefront ahead of the competition. The importance of keeping up with this data isn't limited to retailers, either. From warehouses to casinos, anyone can benefit from keeping up with the people who enter, leave or walk right on by your location.

Even urban planners need to know these sorts of statistics to build a better city. Utility managers can find peak occupancy times to create more efficient use of their energy resources. Even malls where there are various stores inside the building can determine the foot traffic of the area as a whole. No matter what sort of business is going on, there is a need for data.


Completing Your Analysis

In truth, there is no end to measuring your foot traffic. You're likely going to want to measure it through various holidays and seasons, as well as economic shifts and generational overlaps. Customer demand is constantly changing, so you're going to have to keep up.

As long as you have this useful information at your fingertips, you should always be ready to tackle the next big challenge.

Bio: Kayla Matthews discusses technology and big data on publications like The Week, The Data Center Journal and VentureBeat, and has been writing for more than five years. To read more posts from Kayla, subscribe to her blog Productivity Bytes.