What is Foot Traffic?

Learn more about foot traffic, ways to measure and increase it, along with frequently asked questions.

Updated on October 30th, 2019

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Foot traffic refers to the number of people walking by or entering a store. Retail businesses that operate a brick and mortar store rely on foot traffic to make sales and so use a variety of strategies to attract customers to their stores. The more foot traffic a store has, the higher the chances are of increasing customer engagement and in-store sales.

Who needs foot traffic?

Different kinds of businesses rely on foot traffic for their sales or as their primary source of advertising. Retailers such as convenience stores, fashion outlets, and book stores depend on foot traffic for most or all of their sales, while businesses offering services like maintenance or repairs tend to benefit more from the visibility a high-traffic location affords them. Beauty salons might look at high traffic areas for both increased visibility and the possibility of walk-in customers. Similarly, restaurants generally do well in high-traffic areas, benefitting from the increased visibility.

How to measure foot traffic:

Accurately measuring foot traffic can be a difficult task. It is, nevertheless, an important one, as the results inform decisions regarding business locations and in-store optimization. Methods of tracking foot traffic range from very basic approaches to comprehensive location analytics systems.

1. Manual Methods:

Manual methods include using a clicker or monitoring camera footage to manually count the number of people passing through a specific area. Some stores use automatic door counters, which is less time-consuming and yields similar results. While these tracking methods are low cost, they can be very time-intensive, are not 100% accurate, and offer very limited insight as data does not include demographic or behavioral indicators.

2. Web-based Tracking Methods:

You can also get estimates of a specific store location's foot traffic through web-based platforms that gather data from opted-in location-sharing mobile devices, such as Google, which uses GPS data to estimate a store location's foot traffic throughout the day. You can also look at web services such as LocationGenius that aggregate data from multiple sources, including cellular and mobile networks, to provide insights about any location.

3. Location Analytics Systems:

Another way of assessing foot traffic is through more comprehensive location analytics systems that often employ a combination of hardware and software to gather and process comprehensive sets of data. These systems provide data-rich results with valuable insights about customer behavior which are used for in-store optimization and developing marketing strategies.

How to increase foot traffic:

There are a variety of techniques that can be used to increase foot traffic. The most effective strategies use a combination of techniques to attract customers.

1. Have curb appeal:

Maintain an appealing and inviting storefront to attract customers.

2. Be easy to find:

Ensure that your business location is easy to find. You can add a map with your location and directions on your website. Invest in clear, easily-spotted outdoor signage to direct customers to your store and build brand awareness.

3. Special events:

Create in-store events such as clubs, workshops, product demonstrations, or new product launches.

4. Exclusive offers:

Promote special offers that are exclusively available in-store such as free give-aways with certain product purchases, clearance sales, or an offer of selected items that are only available in-store.

5. In-store services:

Promote any in-store services you offer.

6. Free in-store pickup and returns:

If you charge shipping fees for online orders, offer customers free in-store pickup. Conversely, also allow customers to return online purchases in-store. Entering into a partnership with an online store to accept returns on their behalf can also increase store visits.

7. Online and social media marketing:

Invest in online and social media marketing to promote exclusive in-store offers, activities, and events, as well as the in-store shopping experience you offer.

8. Create an experience:

Create an exceptional shopping experience by optimizing your in-store layout and displays. Sales associates are an important factor in a customer's shopping experience. Add in-store perks like charging stations and free WIFI.

9. Keep it fresh:

Regularly update, change, or add to your product selection, decor elements, and displays.

FAQs:

What is foot traffic?

Foot traffic refers to the number of people that walk by a specific area or enter an establishment.

Why is foot traffic important?

Foot traffic is important for physical stores as it provides sales opportunities. An increase in foot traffic can, therefore, lead to increased sales.

How is foot traffic calculated?

There are different ways to calculate foot traffic, such as manually counting how many people pass through a specific area, using web-based tools, or investing in a comprehensive location analytics system.

What is high foot traffic?

High foot traffic is a phrase that denotes an area that many people walk through or past. High foot traffic areas such as urban commercial areas can reach a count of a few thousand people a day.

How can I increase my foot traffic?

  • Maintain an attractive storefront.
  • Feature special in-store events.
  • Promote exclusive offers for in-store purchases.
  • Offer free in-store pickup.
  • Regularly update product selections and displays.

How do restaurants increase foot traffic?

  • Maintain an attractive storefront.
  • Host special events.
  • Have an active online presence.
  • Keep track of reviews.
  • Have special offers.

What is customer traffic flow?

Customer traffic flow refers to the patterns in which customers move through a store.

How do retail traffic counters work?

Most retail traffic counters use sensors or imaging systems to count the number of visitors.