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Store Traffic Analytics are Transforming Retail

E-commerce stores can’t survive without counting visitors and analysing key performance indicators, but relatively few bricks and mortar businesses count how many people enter their stores. Without this knowledge retailers can’t calculate sales conversion or other traffic analytics. What might they gain from doing so? According to Tony Costa, writing in the Harvard Business Review

  • A chain of grocery stores used dwell-time and traffic analytics to understand customer queuing times in various departments and at the check-out. This let the company hold managers accountable for queue times, and gave insight into staffing needs for each department throughout the day.
  • After analysing store traffic flows, a retailer realized that less than 10% of customers visiting their shoe department engaged with the wall display of footwear. The problem was a series of benches placed in front of the wall, limiting access. Moving the benches lead to a double-digit sales increase in the department.
  • A restaurant chain wanted to find out whether sponsoring a local music festival affected the number of people diners. By capturing data on 15,000 visitors passing through the festival entrances and comparing it to customers who visited their restaurants two months prior to the festival and two weeks after, they concluded the festival resulted in 1,300 new customer visits.

From our own experience,

  • A clothing retailer vastly increased sales conversion by connecting store traffic counts to the POS (point-of-sale) database. They calculated conversion in near real-time and generated rolling sales targets. Shop assistants equipped with pagers were told every 15 minutes whether their targets were being met, and what their new target was.
  • Video footfall counting increased sales over a 1000-strong chain of stores. Pulling all the data in centrally, as well as letting shop managers compare figures, enabled the chain to successfully implement business strategies to increase performances across clusters of stores.
  • A sports shop boosted sales by 30% without any increase in store traffic. They did this by focusing on increasing the average shopping time, increasing the number of items bought by each shopper and increasing the amount spent.

Store traffic analytics not only let retailers identify problems and opportunities, but also test solutions and measure results.

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