Dealing with declining footfall

Declining High Street footfall

A drop in UK High Street footfall

The latest figures show that UK High Street footfall continued to decline towards the end of the summer, with August experiencing a 2.6% drop according to BRC-Springboard figures reported by Retail Systems.

Retail parks fared better, with footfall increasing by 1.6%. Regional differences also had an impact, with the East, South East and Wales seeing growth. But the overall trend is worrying news for all retailers who will be hoping that numbers pick up towards the end of the year.

But what can they do if numbers continue to fall? Well, retailers now collect an awful lot of data. Footfall is just one among many other data points that are captured such as PoS information, staff performance and stock reports.

That data can assist in making smart decisions that help them react to developing trends. It will also help retailers drive towards the retail environment of the future, creating a unique and defined experience that encourages customers to return.

Data Analysis, Interpretation and Insight

The trick is being able to interpret data to provide genuine insight, ensuring that you are always making informed decisions based on facts.

The good news is that no matter what data is collected or how much of it there is, simple to use analytics services are available that can be launched without the need for a major IT project that can help retailers understand their business better.

At the same time, analytics can help to unearth important insights to help retailers improve in areas they may not have even considered before – because you simply don’t know what you don’t know.

What I mean by that is that a crucial piece of data could be hiding in a spreadsheet, but if you’re not sure exactly what you’re looking for, then you will likely miss it – along with the benefits it may bring.

Visual data

The best way to find these kind of helpful insights is by making the data visual (as in pictures and graphics!). This helps decision makers easily identify opportunities to improve and make quick decisions. If fewer customers are coming through the door then you need to maximise each opportunity, through placement of goods and upselling for example.

Retailers must also consider the omni-channel experience, which I discussed in a previous blog. This involves integrating different methods of shopping to provide one seamless shopping experience. Again, data is the key to making this a success.

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