4 Competitive Advantages of Retail Traffic Counting

by Bill McCarthy on 02-23-18

Every retailer with physical stores grapples with increasing in-store traffic. There is a tendency to breathe a sigh of relief when the numbers steadily climb. But, in reality, higher traffic counts mean nothing if conversion rates remain lackluster. Driving consumers to a brick-and-mortar location is only the first step, albeit a crucial one, on the road to attaining  steady ROI from brick-and-mortar operations — not to mention the many advantages of retail traffic counting.

With this in mind, we’ve outlined four strategies for leveraging  traffic counting solutions that help retailers gain a competitive advantage.

  1. Align staffing with traffic patterns

Of all the of the advantages of retail traffic counting, staffing alignment is viewed by many as being the most critical advantage. Retail traffic counting enables store and district managers to identify power hours, those times when traffic peaks consistently week after week, month after month. Because conversion potential increases when traffic spikes, bringing in additional customer-facing staff during these windows of opportunity is a common-sense way to boost sales and ATS. In other words, accurate traffic counts translate into optimized resource allocation.

  1. Pinpoint the highest revenue-producing hours

Back-office data holds treasures worth mining. Among the myriad of retail analytics benefits is the ability to discover when consumers spend the most. Surprisingly, peak traffic periods rarely generate additional revenue, as staff members often lack sufficient time to cater to individual shopper needs. Knowing when shoppers’ average transaction size (ATS) is highest allows managers to maximize revenue potential by adjusting the shopper-to-associate ratio (STAR) to a similar level during the highest traffic hours.

  1. Determine marketing effectiveness

One the most beneficial advantages of retail traffic counting is the ability to measure marketing campaign performance. Higher traffic counts are reflective of effective marketing campaigns in action. Monitoring the number of people who enter a retail store immediately after a mobile coupon is released provides insight into how effectively targeted campaigns work. This strategy works equally well with seasonal promotions, email reward statements, and other multichannel efforts.

When traffic counts climb, yet sales remain unchanged, the problem likely resides in an area other than marketing failure. If this happens, look for customer experience issues. Three possible pain-points are:

  • low inventory on the shelves
  • poorly trained or overwhelmed associates
  • long register queues
  1. Benchmark performance

Monitoring in-store traffic numbers helps the C-suite spot performance challenges. Benchmarking includes both internal and external performance.

Internal performance defines long-term revenue potential. Understanding each store location’s true opportunity hinges on having a data-driven understanding of the characteristics and attributes that are unique to each store. For a brand with multiple locations, peer grouping ‘like’ stores enables retail executives to establish realistic company goals.

Each organization must determine which metrics are most valuable for goal setting, across store locations. Whether it’s sales-per-shopper, STAR, ATS, or something else, figuring out which KPIs are most valuable for your team is key.

External performance involves going beyond the boundaries of the brand to explore what others in the industry are doing to capture market share. With ShopperTrak traffic solutions, retailers gain access to traffic data that’s gathered from global retailers. Comparing internal traffic patterns to similar brands in the same zip code or on the other side of the globe provides powerful insights into how well your store is performing, compared to other retailers’ stores.

Reviewing key metrics by the day, hour, week, month, or quarter — at the market, local, regional, or zip code-level – means that retailers are equipped to make well-informed decisions about everything from staffing to product lifecycle planning. And, it all starts with counting people who cross the threshold in a single, brick-and-mortar location. Amazing, right?

Widespread perception of the advantages of retail traffic counting

In 2018, sophisticated technologies present remarkable customer engagement opportunities, opportunities that create a straight path to higher profit margins. Millennial 20/20 founding partner, Rupa Ganatra, got it right when he told Forbes, “We know that today’s customers are placing a lot more emphasis and importance on experiences, and this doesn’t look like it will change anytime soon.”

Retailers who choose to actively pursue competitive advantages with innovative retail traffic counting and advanced retail analytics solutions stand to capitalize on every consumer footstep in the store.


Read more posts by Bill McCarthy

Bill McCarthy is the General Manager of the Americas, in which he oversees regional efforts pertaining to the Traffic Insights business unit.