Location Analytics: Exploring Foot Traffic at Your New Business Location
Published by Daniel Stofan on
Location Analytics is the ability to gain business insights from the location — geographic component of business data. Multiple types of business insights are possible as well as multiple ways of obtaining them. This article describes how to gain highly actionable insights from standard street cameras, in order to explore the possible future location of your business from a micro view.
Defining your areas of interest for pedestrian and traffic analysis in your location. (source: Google Maps)
Location analytics is often a visual way of interpreting and analysing the information being portrayed by the data when used in conjunction with a geographical information system.
There is a growing awareness that by adding geographic location to business data and mapping it, organizations can dramatically enhance their insights into tabular data. Maps and spatial analytics provide a whole new context that is simply not possible with tables and charts. This context can almost immediately help users discover new understandings and more effectively communicate and collaborate using maps as a common language. While this geographic aspect has been largely absent from business analytics solutions, many organizations would like to incorporate it into their operations.
Creating interactive maps of the shopper traffic in the location inside existing business systems can help users see patterns that graphs and charts cannot reveal.
Street potential of your new business location
Your gut feeling can tell you a million reasons why one location is better than another. But at the end of the day, you want to know one thing: Which spot will bring more customers to my business? Foot traffic is the number of people passing by your business on a given day. Measuring this gives you an estimate of how many customers a potential location can bring and thus helps you to choose the ideal spot.
Nearly all businesses rely on foot traffic to some extent. For retailers, it can account for most of their sales. For restaurants, salons, and other services, the visibility they get from a high-traffic location can easily be their number one advertising source. Needless to say, foot traffic is an extremely important factor when choosing a location. Having this data at hand allows you to make informed decisions, especially when you’re comparing multiple locations or negotiating rent.
What is a good foot traffic count? For most urban commercial areas, expect a count of at least a few thousand pedestrians daily. Anything lower is probably a more secluded commercial, residential or industrial area.
What data can you measure from cameras?
Modern video analytical systems like the one from GoodVision are capable of extracting every possible aspect of pedestrian and other traffic movements within the monitored area. Today it is definitely not just about the counts, you can measure:
- Traffic counts for various traffic attendants (pedestrians, cyclists, cars, …)
- Detailed time distribution of the traffic during the day
- Peak hours and peak counts of traffic in your area
- Exact foot-fall patterns and traces
- Time spent in the area, delay
- Travel time through the area and speed
- Heat-maps of more/less frequent spots in the area
Visual traffic data allows you to analyse exact footfall patterns of potential shoppers
How can you use that information for your business?
You can use the data obtained in the previous step for various aspects of your business — when you are looking for a new business spot or when you want to analyse the performance of your current business location:
- Knowing exact street potential — traffic counts (see example below)
- Knowing exact composition of traffic attendants (you won’t open a coffee-shop when there’s only a freight traffic)
- Optimization of your opening hours (you don’t close at 4PM if the peak is at 5PM right?)
- Optimization of staff shift hours (peak hours require additional staff)
- Analysing your display capture rate
- Evaluation of KPIs of your business branches in different locations (street potential VS sales)
How to choose the right location?
You might have already experienced the following scenario: location #1 with expensive rent, but huge traffic count versus location #2 with standard rent and lower pedestrian traffic. Which location is worth money to choose?
To find the answer, you have to estimate how many sales will result from the better location. Here are the hints:
- STEP 1: What is your percentage of sales that come from walk-ins? For a convenience store, this might be 90%. For a specialty shop like a repair service, this will be much lower — potentially just 10%.
- STEP 2: Look at the difference in foot traffic between the two locations.
- STEP 3: Multiply the percentage from step 1 by the number in step 2. The resulting number is an estimate of how much sales will increase due to higher foot traffic.
Knowing exact pedestrian counts and peak hours allows you to optimize your operations and opening hours
How can you analyse your own location?
Here you might have some concerns, because data from street cameras do not lay on the floor just like that right?
- Get a video-footage from the location — how? A) You can buy street camera footage from the local camera operator or B) Ask your local surveillance company to perform in-field monitoring. In the latter case, the supplier will perform all necessary steps to get the footage, plus you can specify the exact camera view. (Send us the inquiry if you want to monitor traffic in your location anywhere on the globe).
- Retrieve the data from the video footage — how? The easiest way is to use GoodVision Video Insights — the fully automated cloud service for video data collection and further analysis.
- Get the actionable insights from the data — GoodVision Video Insights provides complete structured data for further data analysis, including traffic counts over time, exact traffic routes, and comprehensive reports.
Can you imagine analysed data reports from yesterday’s traffic, from all your locations, awaiting you at your desk like a morning newspaper? That’s what GoodVision is for.