The Key Elements to Determine Business Location Based on Foot Traffic Data

The amount and type of foot traffic a business attracts can reveal key strategic insights into its performance. Foot traffic data connects people’s movements with physical places.‍ It reveals the amount and type of people that walk past a specific business location and into a specific location, such as a retail store. Access to this data can instantly reveal information such as the type of visitors, how long they spend there, where they come from and much, much more. 

Gathering Deep Business Intelligence

GPS location-based customer insights has transformed the depth and quality of location business intelligence. This not only allows businesses to develop a foot traffic map, analysing the journeys visitors take to and from your location, but also enables high-level retail footfall analysis of highstreet and mall traffic, etc.

Incorporating foot traffic information into your business analytics radically improves your ability to use data to help choose the best location for your business, develop the best in-store experience for your customers and optimize your marketing efforts. In short, it’s people who make a location. And by making sense of these people, you will be able to make sense of the location.

The rapid proliferation of mobile phones has made foot traffic data collection a quick and efficient process, not only offering footfall information to and from locations, but also adding context around that data. This combines anonymized, aggregated and GDPR-compliant footfall data with visitor demographic and socio-economic information. The resulting location business intelligence provides insights into the complete mobility patterns of visitors, capturing movement to and around locations, inside and out. Using this information, companies can make decisions backed by deeper, and more meaningful insights that allow them to understand customer behavior with greater detail and accuracy.

When identifying a new business location, this data can be invaluable. It will allow you to balance the cost (rent or purchase) of securing the location with a precise overview of the type and number of visitors it attracts. This allows you to quickly compare and contrast locations. Such precise location analysis, which can also be used to identify underperforming sites and inform potential divestment decisions, enables the understanding of these key elements: 

Analyzing Catchment Areas

Understanding the footprint of your location means you have a full transparent picture of where your customers come from. While this was an expensive, laborious and ultimately non-accurate task few businesses would undertake, with PlaceSense this can be instantly revealed. So, why do you need such a deep understanding of the catchment area of your location? It will firstly identify where your customers live. This can inform marketing and advertising campaigns in specific locations. You may also uncover opportunities to open new stores to service distant but large catchment areas with a more localized presence. For large retail chains, catchment area analysis may identify stores that are located too close together and therefore cannibalize each other’s business.

Analyzing Catchment Areas

Identifying Target Customers

For each location of interest you will be able to see the catchment area from where people travel from. While this is insightful it is relatively meaningless without the associated demographic data, as this is the key to understanding if your target customers live within a location’s catchment area. PlaceSense gives you data not only on catchment areas but the people living there, including age, gender, income, education level, professions and so on. Using location-based customer insights is critical to match your business location with suitable areas where your target audience resides. If you are simply looking to invest in a business, understanding catchment areas and their demographics will allow you to tailor a business to meet that location’s needs. 

Understand the Impact of Competitors

Mapping your organization’s competitive landscape will allow you to visualize the location of not only your competitors but also complementary businesses. This is key to understanding areas of opportunities and threats connected to your selected location.   

You could find your location contains many competitors. If so, you will then have to assess if this is a good or bad thing. How do your other locations perform when in close proximity to competitors? Maybe this attracts more customers to the area and therefore such locations are more successful. You can also assess how catchment areas are served by your location. If the catchment area is large and is underserved, you could consider opening in more than one location to capitalize on this opportunity. 

If you have not fully decided on a location, mapping where competitor and complementary brands are located can help you zone in on locations where your target customers may already visit.

Measuring Performance

Obviously, once your business is up and running you can constantly monitor the performance of your location, noting the impact of seasonality, promotional campaigns and marketing, etc on visitor numbers, duration and so on. However, understanding the performance of a location can begin before you make any investment. Understanding the metrics outlined above will allow you to build the characteristics of a successful location. These can be used to understand the characteristics of potential locations, before you invest. You can do this through analysis of a specific property or competitors located in the area.

This data will radically improve the accuracy of your decision making and is readily available to be used on an ongoing basis. This ensures both potential and existing locations can be monitored and measured to guarantee a perfect strategic fit for the location expansion and  optimization plans of your business. 

About Gad Zehavi

Gad is Director of Product at PlaceSense. He is an Executive Product Manager with over 15 years of experience leading SaaS products in the tech industry, focusing on business intelligence and retail-tech. With a background combining art and business, Gad creatively connects different disciplines into the tech world, integrations he believes are at the heart of innovation and entrepreneurship.

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