Did you know that despite the popularity of one-click shopping, it is anticipated that 72% of all retail sales in 2024 will occur in stores? Retailers across the globe are looking to benefit from the return of the ‘brick and mortar’ stores. Fast-changing consumer preferences, market trends, and the demand for exceptional customer experience are a few reasons for the popularity of retail outlets. Customers want the ‘in-store’ experience, they want good customer service, and they want to test quality products. So how can retailers use behavioral data such as foot traffic to ensure that the customers have that experience? The answer is simple – footfall analytics!
What is footfall?
Footfall, also known as “store traffic” or “people counting” is the process of measuring the number of people entering a store. . The idea behind counting foot traffic is to capture data that can be used to analyze customer visits—for example, average transaction value, conversion rates, popular products, peak hours, etc. A footfall analysis enables retailers to determine the store’s overall financial health and helps identify factors that can be optimized to increase sales and overall shopping experience.
For example, footfall analytics can help retailers make informed staffing decisions. They can analyze which aisle gets the most visits and thus ensure that the area is properly staffed. Footfall analytics can also help companies get an insight into how many people of those who visit the store purchase the products (retail conversion rates). Retailers can easily measure store performance based on footfall, understand how well their marketing strategies work, identify consumer trends, and improve customer experience by performing this analysis.
Let’s take a deeper look at the significance of footfall data in the retail market!
Foot traffic is unpredictable. Sometimes the crowd will be more than you can handle, and sometimes the public won’t show up for days. With this in mind, retailers need to balance their staffing needs based on when their foot traffic is high.
Retailers can easily regulate staffing if they have observational data highlighting the foot traffic from an hourly to a yearly basis. They can schedule the staff based on the peak foot traffic days/hours and ensure that they minimize disappointed customers. For example, holiday seasons may attract more foot traffic to a store, and thus, staffing may need to increase during the holiday weeks.
Footfall analytics can also be beneficial for companies that have multiple outlets. Footfall data can help retailers optimize their outlets by assisting companies in comparing the foot traffic in their stores. For example, if one store is receiving less traffic than the rest of the outlets, the retailer might want to consider the reason. It might be that the staff is not properly trained, or the store is located in a poor location. Footfall data can help retailers isolate the problem!
The modern-day retail business is defined by customer experience. In fact, a recent study by Zendesk showed that over 70% of customers make buying decisions based on the quality of customer service they receive. Footfall analytics enables businesses to measure how many customers their staff serves in real time. When combined with other data, such as customer peak hours, this information helps retailers adjust their staffing schedules. For example, companies can deploy more workers on the shop floor during peak hours to ensure that all customers are given due attention. When the store is likely to receive fewer customers, the management can schedule fewer workers on duty, thereby saving on overall costs. Additionally, footfall analytics such as transactions per hour help retailers measure the productivity of their sales staff. Footfall analytics can also guide retailers on whether they need to invest more in staff training through the retail conversion rate – if more people enter the store but only a handful buy the items, then this means that the staff is unable to convert the prospective customers.
Dynamics 365 Connected Spaces
Dynamics 365 for Connected Spaces is an extension of the Dynamics 365 Connected Store offering – it builds on the observational data insights produced by the Connected store to empower retail stores to be more efficient with respect to consumer experience and sales conversions. Dynamics 365 Connected Spaces utilizes footfall analytics to understand display effectiveness, shopper analytics, queue management etc. Let’s look at these capabilities in detail:
- Shopper analytics:
Dynamics 365 Connected spaces has cameras installed at entrances/exits of the store. The footfall of consumers is also monitored 24/7 to ensure that the retailers can isolate the peak hours/days/weeks etc. and make changes to their schedules.
- Display effectiveness:
Dynamics 365 Connected Spaces can help retailers calculate the foot traffic around their displays and measure how many potential customers are attracted to the exhibit. This can help retailers understand the best location for displays, promotional content, etc., and help them track the performance of their displays.
- Queue management:
Through footfall analytics, Dynamics 365 Connected Spaces help retailers measure queue wait times. They can use this data to track the business lost due to queue abandonment and open additional queues to solve this problem.
Additionally, Dynamics 365 Connected Spaces also features advanced safety measures for COVID-19. The solution uses footfall data to ensure that the distance between individuals within the store is in accordance with the social distancing regulations. It also uses footfall analytics to count the people in the store, ensuring that the occupancy threshold is not violated. The Microsoft solution also offers curb side queues in which a consumer buys online but picks the product up in-store via computer vision that recognizes service-connected vehicles as they visit the store. Once the vehicle is identified, an employee can deliver the order to the car.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Connected Spaces offers its users many more advantages beyond the scope of a footfall analysis. To learn more about the many capabilities it offers, click here. However, for this blog, we explored how footfall analytics help retailers improve their business processes and get advanced insights into customer experiences. With footfall analytics in place, retailers can:
- Study consumer patterns by the day/hour/week
- Understand the ‘hot zones’ in the store
- Analyze store traffic to make better decisions regarding staffing, inventory, marketing, etc.
- Optimize experiences by leveraging solutions like Dynamics 365 Connected Spaces
- Modify product strategies to capture a higher market
In a nutshell
Optimized business processes are integral for retailers who want to increase revenues and improve customer service. Businesses can benefit from leveraging Dynamics 365 Connected Spaces by utilizing footfall analytics, among other AI-driven tools, to optimize scheduling, reduce costs, and maximize conversions. A retail business that has access to accurate footfall data can leverage it to optimize shopping experiences and streamline the entire business processes.