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How to Measure Foot Traffic?


What is Foot Traffic?

Foot traffic refers to the number of individuals who physically enter into and move around a retail store or facility. Sometimes referred to as “pedestrian activity”, using location intelligence and foot traffic analysis can help retail stores gain insights into their customers, competitors, and their overall in-store traffic.

Foot traffic can be compared to web analytics but in the physical world. In the same way that websites track the number of “hits” that land on their page, businesses can measure the number of visitors that enter their brick-and-mortar locations.

People counting is a must for just about any type of business that runs a physical location. It will help you get to know your customers better. You’ll gain insights about several aspects of your store including when people visit, how long they dwell in your location, and the specific areas that they frequent.


How to Measure In-Store Foot Traffic via Geo-Location Tagging

The process for measuring retail or in-store foot traffic is relatively simple since multiple technological solutions now exist to help configure campaigns that allow you to collect this useful data.

In years past, “people counting” was typically done by placing employees with manual clickers at the store entrances. Thankfully, there are now much more modern and efficient ways to get the same information in an automated fashion.

Not only is it easier than ever to collect in-store foot traffic data, but it’s also possible to develop more valuable data sets once you’ve figured out how to collect the data, and stored it in a fashion that allows you to use it for marketing purposes.


Why is it So Important to Measure Retail Foot Traffic?

Measuring foot traffic, and especially combining foot traffic data with geo-location tagging data, will allow you to create a more complete picture of the customer’s journey to your store, helping you to determine important shopping behaviors and audience targeting characteristics, such as:

  • Where the consumer started their trip (home, office, etc.)
  • How they got to your stop
  • What marketing activity drove them to your store
  • What time they visited, and how long they spent in the store

The answers to these questions are vital for establishing a clear picture of your brand’s actual shoppers, not just interested audiences, as arriving physically in-store is an excellent signal of purchase intent.


Understanding Customer Behavior

By measuring in-store foot traffic, you’re able to fill out a more complete profile of your typical customers, especially if your existing data is limited to details that can be collected via loyalty card or club card data, which is likely to be far less comprehensive.

Choosing to measure foot traffic via geo-location tagging will allow you to significantly improve your audience insights, allowing you to:

  • Capture one-off, or occasional store visitors who haven’t enrolled in the loyalty program, but who may still be important audience targets
  • Expose cross-shopping habits, helping you to identify which competitor stores your audience also visited/visits
  • Map geolocation tags to loyalty data so that you can create a better way to maintain loyal customers


Evaluating Marketing and Media Performance

Once you’ve tied in-store visitation to media impressions and spends, your marketing team can develop a clearer picture of how well their digital marketing strategy is actually working.

Being able to measure the in-store visits from particular media placements, compare them to budget levels and tie them to specific creatives will give your team invaluable conversion data that can be used for powerful testing, both for ads and target audiences.

The in-store foot traffic data you collect can be used to help understand who you should target, what you should be saying to those audiences, and where the point of diminishing returns lies in terms of how much you should be spending against those targets.


How to Measure In-Store Foot Traffic

A series of technological innovations have made it possible to monitor in-store traffic, the most important of which is that virtually everyone carries mobile devices with them on a regular basis.

Since you can track what ads you’re serving to specific devices, then monitor when and if those devices arrive at your physical location, it’s possible to paint a clear picture of just how well your ads are actually working.

While it may require some investment to get in-store tracking established, the benefits of gaining access to these insights are so valuable that it’s certainly worth exploring.

  • Mobile Platforms – In-store tracking utilizes mobile devices to detect that a specific device has entered a location after that same device was served an ad.
  • Data Accuracy – Data collected should be viewed as normalized averages, rather than hard counts, providing directional insights that signal trend changes.
  • Legal Concerns – With so many new data privacy laws being passed, it’s important to address potential legal concerns, but we haven’t seen any serious threats to the legality of collecting and utilizing in-store traffic.


How to Analyze and Create Value from the Data

Collecting in-store visit data can improve your marketing strategies by giving your marketing team access to real-time insights useful for optimizing their campaigns. By collecting geo-location tagging details and in-store visits data, marketers can:

  • Link exposure to new or promo messages directly and immediately to store visits
  • Model incremental store visits based on ad exposures
  • Create significant efficiencies through campaign optimization of your message, platform, and frequency of exposure
  • Optimize your media selection by using in-store visits as the conversion point you optimize media channels and strategies against
  • Updating creative once you’ve established which assets are performing the best, choosing different sizes, messaging, and imagery based on conversion rates


How to Enable Geo-Location Tagging

This is where the rubber meets the road when it comes to modern people counting and, to be clear, it’s not an easy process.

Designing and deploying a system that integrates with existing analytics platforms and marketing solutions is no easy task, and that’s why we suggest outsourcing the strategy to a third-party expert.


Contact USIM for Help Developing an Effective Strategy

USIM can help you design and deploy a robust system used to measure in-store foot traffic via geo-location tagging, ensuring that you’re able to collect the details you need in a format that makes them immediately available for use in your digital marketing campaigns.

Our technological and marketing experts are fully versed in configuring customized solutions capable of collecting these important analytics and in utilizing the insights generated to improve marketing strategy.

For details on our approach, please call us at (310) 482-6700, or fill out our Contact Form.

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