A couple who owned a pub in Northampton have had to finally close their doors after nearly a decade in business last week. Though the industry’s a tough one to compete in anyway, Melanie and David Clare had been doing well, but have made the “heartbreaking” decision to call it a day due to a lack of footfall.
There were other factors facing the Clares such as high brewery rates, but the simple fact is if people weren’t coming in to spend money to pay for those rates then it was a no-win situation.
Nearly 80 miles south on the M1 and Maidenhead’s town centre saw a drop in footfall over 2015 from 2014 by 2.59 per cent. That may not sound like much but in reality that’s close to 150,000 less people in the area. Local businesses and councils will be feeling the sting of that; footfall again was down this January, according to borough figures.
The list goes on, and the stories are sad to see. Online marketing can help in regard to footfall but there’s still no definitive call to action to get people to get up, leave their house, travel into town, visit your shop, and make a purchase.
Creative campaigning and incentive marketing can encourage, such as offers and vouchers sent over email to people that are willing to make the journey. It’s a tricky task; has Foursquare found a way to do it though?
Your Turn: Does your business rely on footfall to stay open? What methods – both online and offline – do you use to attract attention and bring people to your shop? Let me know in the comments section below.
Local shops for local people
A wee bit of revision, actually. Inbound marketing can help get people into shops, but the greyest area with the whole thing is measurement. Short of stopping every single person that crosses your threshold and asking them if they saw your Twitter card, it’s a real challenge to measure the success of a footfall campaign.
It’s being worked on, though. We’ve previously mentioned beacon technology, and Facebook is getting in on the act. Like a shop’s page on Facebook, wander past, and if the shop has a Bluetooth beacon activated passers by will theoretically be prompted with calls to action to visit.
Very helpful but still not perfect in regard to getting bums off seats. Foursquare, which has been quiet for a while, believes it has an answer though and has recently launched a new product called Attribution which it says will give access to data about people who visit physical stores on the high street.
The check-in app’s official site for Attribution is a bit hard to dilute, though, and is buzzword-heavy. In short, what it’s trying to say is that Foursquare hopes to be able to provide marketers with immediate data from the app to pinpoint footfall and other measurables.
“We link the digital and physical worlds by integrating a simple pixel within any digital ad unit, and then noting the frequency of visits to certain places, and how it differs between exposed and unexposed groups. Because our data is first-party, we can easily access and analyze it,” writes Foursquare president Stephen Rosenblatt on Medium.
“Whereas industry standard analyses report weeks after a campaign is complete, we can deliver our reports as frequently as daily, giving marketers the ability to adjust all factors mid-campaign and optimize performance in near real-time.”
Your Turn: What do you think? Will these technological changes bring more people to your shop if you use them, or can nothing beat good old window advertising in a local community? Let me know below!
Footfall for all
If that treacle seems a bit thick to you then you’re not alone; it’s a very technical, data-based train of thought that, at its core, is saying that Foursquare wants to use the power of the information it collects to effectively solve the footfall problem.
And while 2016 has already been lauded as the year of the customer and the year of the metric (and possibly the year of Facebook overtaking Google), others are also saying that 2016 is set to become the year of the location optimiser and location ROI (LROI).
Because as difficult as it can be to measure footfall Foursquare aren’t the only ones that are trying to solve the problem. Others such as Verve, PlaceIQ, UberMedia and others have had a crack at it; it’s only a matter of time before someone solves the conundrum and retail locations may have a creative solution to measuring the visitors they’re getting from online campaigns.
Not to be outdone Google is also showing its hand. Near me micro-moments is being rolled out to try and help accelerate the customer journey into stores close to them, with an autocomplete service that lets people know which stores and services are close to them. (Again you’ll hear more phrases like preference-shaping consumer journeys…)
One thing’s for certain whatever solution is found to be most preferential when it comes to measuring footfall, smartphones will have to be involved at a very base level to capture data and location information about the places that people are choosing to visit on certain times and days.
So why is this so important? Of course it’s essential for business that physical shop owners know as much market information as possible to earn a living and to attract repeat business.
That information though is also crucial in the inbound phase of the attraction process to gauge which parts of the creative process are working well and which aren’t. Imagine it as real-life A/B testing; if more people are visiting your shop after a specific social or email campaign then you can refine it and make other campaigns follow suit thanks to your footfall metrics.
It’s still early days, but it isn’t far wrong to say that whoever gets the best solution down for footfall metrics will be doing an awful lot to improve the overall health of high streets across the globe.
If you’d like to know more about attracting online interest to your business with an inbound marketing campaign or would like to learn more about mobile chat to a Webpresence expert today.