Footfall and What It Means for Your Business

Customers 9 minute read 5th October 2020

We can say “Business is good” when an establishment is always busy. “Busy” means there’s a steady flow of customers day in and day out, or there’s considerable/heavy footfall. Footfall is just one way of measuring the success of a business. It’s worth analyzing alongside other metrics. Here’s everything you need to know about footfall and why it matters in retail and hospitality.

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What Is Footfall?

In business, footfall is the number of people entering an area at any time instead of those who pass by. Also referred to as foot traffic, you can measure it per hour, day, week, or month. It’s one of the key performance indicators (KPI) used by businesses that rely heavily on customer visits to drive business. Such as retail and hospitality.

Outside of business, footfall refers to the sound of walking. It’s the sound that a footstep or footsteps make when a human or animal’s foot makes contact with the ground. However, this article will discuss the first definition and how you can utilize it to improve how you sell.

We’ll go into examples of how footfall can act as valuable feedback to current or future marketing moves you’re making. Let’s put your best foot forward.

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What Footfall Means for Your Business: What Can You Learn From It?

Counting the people walking in your area at any time can be helpful. The same goes for knowing how many people enter and exit your establishment area. Here are just a few ways:

  • Identify a good business location
  • Anticipate seasonal demand
  • Ask a key performance indicator
  • Help improve visitor experience
  • Gain valuable customer insights
  • Evaluate current occupancy
  • Optimize daily operations

Understanding footfall and what it means is such an important task. It helps you identify how many opportunities you have to increase sales. You’ll quickly discover where and when you’re missing out by comparing footfall to your revenue.

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Calculating Footfall

Calculating footfall does not involve manually counting people — at least, not anymore. The process can now be automated and, therefore, far more accurate. Whatever system you use, the most relevant metrics you need to focus on are as follows:

  • Number of people who enter your premise’s area (pure footfall)
  • Repeat vs unique visitors
  • Frequency of repeat visitors
  • Number of people who pass by without entering
  • Average time spent in store per person
  • Percentage of visitors who leave your store within five minutes (similar to a website bounce rate)

You’ll need to invest in some technology to collect accurate data. Thankfully, devices and platforms are entering the market constantly, and they’re relatively affordable thanks to the commoditization of sensor technology.

Here are some examples of the most common footfall measurement systems.

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Infrared Cameras for Calculating Footfall

These cameras emit an invisible infrared beam across the entrance to your establishment. Footfall is counted every time a customer crosses the beam. Today’s infrared systems are intelligent enough to guess whether a count is genuine or results from another disruption.

WiFi Analytics

Suppose you’re offering free WiFi using a WiFi system with marketing tools. In that case, you’ll access analytics that visualize your traffic and provide critical insights into your days.

Calculating footfall via your guest WiFi might not be as accurate as per-person counting. Your WiFi system complements a dedicated measurement system. The WiFi marketing tools can provide another level of insight that you can use to analyze your footfall data

Stereo Depth Imaging

Stereo cameras are one of the most accurate methods for calculating footfall. Stereo camera setups can cope with high volumes of traffic, multiple zones, and even shadow counting.

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How to Increase Footfall in Your Restaurant

With a better understanding of how calculating and analyzing footfall data work in business analytics, you should also better appreciate the importance of increasing footfall in your establishment.

  • Be bold and clear. How obvious is it that you exist? Ensure your restaurant is visible with outdoor seating, bold branding, signs, and floor graphics to increase footfall.
  • Be proactive. Invite customers the old-fashioned way — by asking them to come in.
  • Stage events. Have you ever held a local networking event at your restaurant? If not, you could miss an opportunity to increase footfalls exponentially. This is also an ideal solution if you’re looking to target a new demographic.
  • Create a loyalty program. Customers appreciate being appreciated. This will not only boost repeat visits but also deliver new customers.
  • Focus on driving numbers at peak times. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are your critical times of the day for bookings. But are you shouting enough about what you have to offer? Introduce special menus, vegan options, and free coffee refills for breakfast. Do anything to turn a few more heads and drive more traffic in your direction.
  • Learn from your analytics. Look at the times you’re not busy but when the footfall in your area is high. Why aren’t people entering your area? If your footfall bounce rate is high, put your customer hat on and walk in yourself. What is putting people off?

Using Guest WiFi to Boost Footfall

With other vital metrics, footfall data indicate whether a business is growing, declining, or at a standstill. Your establishment’s foot traffic also tells you how well your business is performing in terms of converting visitors into sales. To find the opportunity for conversion, you must first encourage people to come in. Offering free WiFi and an enhanced guest WiFi experience can help you climb the stairs of success.

Beambox is an all-in-one WiFi solution that accomplishes all of the above. We have an existing client base of over 3,000 venues. Our customizable WiFi marketing solutions have been used in unique and rewarding ways. Accelerate your business growth by following in their footsteps. Up the footfall in your area and start your Beambox free trial today!

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