Why retailers shouldn’t focus on foot traffic in 2024

April 16, 2024
Antony Van Hulle
Retailers have relied too long on the traditional approach of foot traffic. Actual visits are much more important, but why is that?


In recent years, the world of retail has become  increasingly reliant on geodata, location analysis, and foot traffic analytics. These are helping retailers understand customer behavior, store performance, the competitive landscape and the effectiveness of marketing strategies. But why are foot traffic & visits that important in the context of geospatial data and location intelligence for retailers?

1. Understanding Foot Traffic & visits

Foot traffic & store visits, critical metrics for retailers, refer to the count of individuals entering a retail establishment during a specific timeframe. It serves as a direct measure of (potential) customers interacting with your brand and products, making it a pivotal aspect of location intelligence and geospatial data analysis.

Retailers have relied on a more ‘classical approach’ of foot traffic for too long. Here a pin is dropped and all traffic around this pin is calculated. This is called geofencing and is incomplete as no store ever is ‘just’ circular (at least not the ones we know ;-) ).

Retailers have relied on the classic approach of foot traffic for too long, it’s time to let loose of the data and get some actual insights.

Stores come in all shapes and sizes. That’s why Accurat draws visits  on our map and  only counts those visits that fall within this shape. 

How does geofencing work? 

1.1 How to measure: traffic

There are a number of ways to measure traffic.  

  1. One way could be through video analytics. Video analytics in retail stores use cameras and software to track customer movement, count visitors, and gather data on store traffic patterns. This data helps retailers optimize store layouts and improve marketing strategies.
  1. Another way could be via people counters, there are digital ones placed at the entrance of your store or you could hire a working student and let them count vigorously. However, this can be time-consuming, very inaccurate and most of all: expensive. 

Also, let’s be honest, they probably would be busier checking their phones then they would be providing the right data.

  1. Luckily, the phone they're using is the solution at hand!  A more accurate way to measure foot traffic is to use smartphone gps technology. This is what Accurat does. We have data originating from our self-built SDK that collects data through partnering up with different smartphone applications. Today the number of users using our SDK throughout Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg & Germany ranks in the millions.

1.2 The limitations of your own sales & loyalty data

You must be wondering: “can’t I use my own sales data to see how many people visit my stores?” The answer is yes. You definitely can. Besides the error you’ll encounter when it comes to conversion you’ll have a pretty ‘accurate’ understanding of what’s going on.

As you're focused on growth you’ll want to understand more & go deeper. Accurat is providing you visit insights from your own stores but your competitors' as well. You might be growing but if your competitors are growing harder you'll end up on the losing side. If your data shows you that you’re losing visits / foot traffic (and thus customers) to your competitors and you’re able to understand the reasons beyond it, you're one step closer to fixing this issue at hand!

2 Store visits: the ‘foot traffic fix’

2.1 Why are visit analytics important?

Visit analytics offers several important advantages:

  1. It is a direct measure of the number of potential customers who are visiting your store. This information can be used to track store performance, identify trends, and make informed decisions about how to improve the customer experience.

  2. Visit data can be used to measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. For example, if you launch a new marketing campaign and see an increase in visits, you can confidently conclude that your campaign was a success! But what if it is just a general market uplift and your competitors are also attracting more visitors without a pricey marketing campaign? You’ll need our insights to see the full picture. An area where location intelligence comes in especially handy is when it comes to optimizingoptimising folder distribution. The costs related to distribution, print & taxes for this medium are spiraling. Location data can help you show the true impact of this medium. Limit your distribution to thethose zones withwhere you have the highest impact.  

2.2 A complete comparison between foot traffic and visits

Store visits and foot traffic are both important metrics for retailers, but they serve slightly different purposes and can provide different insights. Here's a comparison of the two metrics:

Retailers are ultimately more concerned with attracting and retaining actual customers rather than just counting passersby. 

However, foot traffic can still be a valuable metric in certain contexts, such as site selection for new store locations or understanding the general flow of people in a particular area. 

Retailers often use a combination of both metrics to gain a comprehensive view of their store's performance.

store visits vs foot traffic infographic

3. How Accurat steps in 

At Accurat, we have loads of insights in store for you (pun intented…).

We analyse (visit) data to help you understand your store performance and identify areas for improvement, ultimately improving your decision-making.

Our location intelligence solutions provide daily actionable brand, consumer & market insights with unprecedented accuracy to help you see the bigger picture.

Let us help you evaluate the performance of your individual locations and compare results with your nearby competitors. Understand relevant & attainable potential AND know how to improve, based on real-world consumer insights.

  1.  Understand your surroundings. Identify which stores are performing well and which stores need improvement and discover demographic information about visitors to your stores
  2. Measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. By tracking foot traffic before, during, and after a campaign, we can see how the campaign impacted the number of customers visiting your store.
  3. Identify trends over time. Understand how visits areaffected by seasonal factors, economic conditions, events and other factors.
  4. Target potential customers. We can help you to identify which types of people are most likely to visit your stores so you know who to reac
  5. Benchmark with your competitors: understand your competitive landscape and your position within it and Understand actual customer behavior at scale
Benchmarking with competitors

Accurat can help you to make sense of it and extract valuable insights. Understand your customers, improve your store performance, and boost your sales.


In conclusion, visit data & location insights remain king for retailers in 2024. By focusing on location analysis, retailers can increase visits, optimize store performance, and ultimately enhance sales and profitability. 

Accurat stands ready with actionable insights to help you harness your brand's full potential and growth based on foot traffic data.

Curious about what data we have for your brand?

Our location intelligence suite provides daily actionable brand, consumer & market insights with unprecedented accuracy to help you see the bigger picture. We create a free KPI-dashboard for you to help you see what data insights we have to offer. Request your free report below:

Request a free KPi report