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What is Footfall?

June 1, 2024
Shoppers visiting store

Footfall is the number of people going into a shop or business during a particular period of time. Footfall data can help to measure the effect of marketing campaigns or architectural changes. In the article series about customer insights, customer intelligence and customer experience we elaborate in great detail how footfall data can help businesses succeed.

Footfall Measurement

Footfall data can be obtained manually with tally counters or automatically via sensors or video-analytics.

Tally counters are the simplest form of footfall measurement
Tally counters are the simplest form of footfall measurement

Automatic footfall counting devices are also referred to as footfall counters, store traffic counters or door counters. Video analytics can run on a dedicated system or directly on the camera. The cameras with integrated video analytics functionality are also being referred to as people counting cameras or footfall cameras.

How does Footfall relate to Conversion Rate?

Footfall and conversion rate are directly related to each other. Footfall is the number of people who visit a physical store or location, while the conversion rate is the percentage of visitors who make a purchase or take some other desired action.

The conversion rate is a metric that measures the effectiveness of a store or location in turning visitors into customers. A high conversion rate indicates that the store is successful in persuading visitors to take the desired action, while a low conversion rate suggests that there may be barriers or obstacles preventing visitors from making a purchase or taking the desired action.

When footfall increases, there is usually a corresponding increase in the number of potential customers who can be targeted for conversion. However, it's important to note that simply increasing footfall does not necessarily mean that the conversion rate will also increase.

The conversion rate is influenced by a variety of factors such as the store's layout, product displays, pricing strategy, marketing efforts, customer service, and overall shopping experience. To increase the conversion rate, stores need to focus on optimizing these factors to create an environment that is conducive to making purchases and taking desired actions.

In summary, footfall and conversion rate are interrelated, but the conversion rate is ultimately dependent on the store's ability to create an engaging and appealing shopping experience that motivates visitors to take action.

How to Measure Footfall

The measurement of foot traffic is a process involving a few different steps. In order to accurately measure footfall, the following steps should be followed.

  • Set clear goals - The measurement of foot traffic should be done only after setting clear objectives that facilitate the collection of the ‘right’ data. For example, if a retail store owner wishes to analyze the afternoon crowd in his store for a month, he should only be collecting foot traffic data in a specific time frame.
  • Choose a collection tool - Foot traffic can be measured using footfall counters. Footfall counters are devices built specifically to count people, and in the case of some, conduct relevant analytics functions. There is a wide range of footfall counters to choose from, each of which employ a different set of technologies. The choice of counter can be made based on requirements and preferences. Some options include security cameras with video analytics, motion sensors installed at entry and exit points, and WiFi/Bluetooth tracking.
  • Collect data - The collection of footfall data is done in most cases without the need for any manual intervention, unless there is maintenance or repair work involved. With video analytics tools such as Isarsoft Perception, data is collected 24*7, processed and analyzed - in a highly accurate and precise manner.
  • Data Analysis - The analysis of collected data is possibly the most important step in the measurement of footfall. This is because effective analysis reveals valuable insights that are important to drive business performance. Footfall-related data can be analyzed via heat and trajectory maps, lines and zones configured for people counting, and speed and location tracking via georeferencing.

Key Metrics in Footfall Measurement

  • Total foot traffic - Total foot traffic is a metric that is used to determine the total number of people who enter a specific area (for example a retail store) within a predefined period of time. This could be a day, a week, or a month.
  • Conversion rate - A conversion rate figure is the percentage of visitors in a store who make a purchase. It is a key performance indicator (KPI) that helps retailers measure the effectiveness of their brick-and-mortar stores in converting potential customers into paying ones. A higher conversion rate indicates that the store is successful in attracting and engaging customers, and is likely to generate more revenue.
  • Dwell time - Dwell time goes hand in hand with the analysis of foot traffic and is a commonly used term in the field of retail or transportation referring to the amount of time an individual spends in a specific location or area. Dwell time reveals valuable insights into human behavior and can help business owners understand the efficacy of factors like infrastructure, product placement, and space utilization.
dwell time in a queue
Measuring the dwell time of people helps better regulate queues in retail outlets and stores
  • Bounce rate - Bounce rate is a term meant to denote visitors who enter the specified location, take no action, and leave after spending a short amount of time in the area. By assessing the bounce rate, businesses can identify and detect problems and come up with ways to minimize it. For example, if a certain section of the demographic has higher bounce rates, it is an indication that the product/service is not efficiently targeted towards them.
  • Repeat visitors - The regular assessment of foot traffic is a good way to identify the number of repeat visitors, i.e. the people who visit the same store again and again. Repeat visitors are good assessors of business performance, and can help users figure out ways to enhance and sustain customer relationships.

Choosing the right footfall counting system

When choosing a footfall counting system several things should be considered:

  • Accuracy: Depending on the vendor and technology the system yields different accuracy. Typical accuracy values are 90%, 95%, 98% or 99%.
  • Other functionalities: Footfall is not the only metric of interest. Advanced footfall systems can determine customer demographics, dwell time or heatmaps.
  • Total cost of ownership: The total cost of ownership includes installation, configuration and maintenance. The advantage of video analytics over sensors is that, cameras are often already available and updates can be simply installed. Sensors on the contrary need electrical installation and might need to be frequently replaced to get state of the art analytics.
  • Integration with other systems: A footfall system is often not isolated. Integrations with video management systems, business intelligence (bi) or pos systems are often desired.

The video below shows how footfall measurements can be obtained using a people counting software based on video analytics.

Further References:
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