With the close of 2016 upon us, it’s a good time to take a critical look back at how your business performed over the past 12 months and uncover traffic trends that can help you identify opportunities in the year ahead. Your people counting software is a treasure trove of valuable data, brimming with actionable insights that you can apply to your store operations.
In reviewing your year-end data, what stands out as your peak traffic volume for all 12 months? Was it on Black Friday or maybe the days leading up to Mother’s Day? Or perhaps it was just a really successful promotional campaign you happened to run one weekend. Whatever the case, knowing your highlights can help you to replicate those great results going forward.
However, traffic numbers alone only tell half the story. Be sure to evaluate your people counts side-by-side with sales figures and other relevant data, as this will reveal your truly actionable traffic trends. What if, for example, your store got loads of traffic but the sales conversion rate doesn’t quite match up? This could point to a problem with staffing. Perhaps the store didn’t have enough associates on hand to assist customers, leading to lengthy checkout lines, abandoned carts and lost sales opportunities.
To properly right-size your store ops, crunch these numbers regularly — weekly or even daily, if it makes sense — to stay on top of your foot traffic trends and correct any stats that are sliding in the right direction.
Look to Negatives as an Opportunity to Improve
Now that you’ve identified your best traffic trends for 2016, take a look at the opposite: the periods when store visits dipped to the lowest numbers. Maybe it’s not pretty, but you can use this data as an opportunity to turn things around in 2017. Of course, some retail businesses are seasonal by nature or see predictable seasonal trends. Perhaps you can’t change that completely but you can take steps to improve traffic trends.
That could mean running a carefully crafted campaign to drive traffic when visits would otherwise be down to attract customers to your store. Or consider rewarding customers for shopping during off-peak times. This is an opportunity to be creative and think outside the box for ways to drum up traffic and turn your trends around.
Set a Strategy for 2017
Your sole goal for the moment may be trying to survive the hectic holiday season, but don’t miss this opportunity to be strategic about 2017. Instead of simply going along with “business as usual,” use the traffic trends you identified from your people counting software to rethink your operations and marketing efforts next year. Maybe you need to expand your workforce to enhance customer service and keep your conversion rates up. Or perhaps you need to run more promotional campaigns or switch up how displays appear in store for maximum impact.
Whatever the case, now’s the time to use your traffic data and analytical insights to run your store better and smarter in 2017.