HeadCount Retail Insights Blog

Is extrapolating traffic data from sample stores effective?

One question we get asked a lot is how many stores should have traffic counters so that traffic insights can be extrapolated to all stores in the chain.

We totally get it. Budgets are tight. Anything you can do to reduce cost is worth exploring, especially if you operate a large chain, So...do you really need to track traffic in all your stores or can you just simply install traffic counters in a sample of stores and then extrapolate the results? 

The short answer is yes, you need to track traffic in all your stores. This is one thing that you shouldn’t compromise on. In fact, extrapolating traffic data from sample stores will only lead to worthless insights. 

And here’s why…

Each and every one of your stores is completely unique. Different store sizes, different inventory
levels, product mix, demographics of the shoppers in the vicinity of the store, different competitive
landscape for that store, and importantly, different managers and store teams.

Watch this short 2.5 minute video to understand this issue better — even if you are trying to find insights for 1000+ store chain. 

Regardless of your size, everything is different across every one of your stores!

Your stores are as unique as a fingerprint. No two of them are alike. If you’re really going to understand
store traffic trends and consequently, the performance of the stores relative to their unique traffic opportunity, then the only way that you can do that is to track traffic in each and every one of your stores

Not convinced yet?

The chart below shows store traffic and conversion results for a 1000- store chain. 

Traffic and Conversion Trend in 1000-store Chain
  • Each and every one of these tiny blue lines represents the average daily traffic for one store in the chain, and the yellow dots represents the corresponding conversion rates for each store.
  • As traffic volumes go down, conversion rates tend to go up, and when traffic goes up, conversion rates tend to go down.
  • Look as closely at this chart as you can… No two of the stores are the same.

How would you meaningfully extract insights from a sample set of stores to help you drive your sales in each of these stores?  

This is a question we get asked all the time particularly from enterprise-class retailers who are concerned about the cost of traffic counters. However, once you see the money-making insights you can get from store-level traffic data, the return on investment is easy to see. 

“Store traffic patterns and conversion results are different for each store. What you think you are saving by installing just a few traffic counters is costing you plenty in lost sales and wrong insights.” Mark Ryski
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