How to Measure Foot Traffic

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Busy street with lots of foot traffic.
Busy street with lots of foot traffic. (Image: NYCstocker/iStock/Getty Images)

For a bricks-and-mortar retail store, foot traffic data is vital not only for knowing how many people enter the store daily, but also for determining how customers shop. Despite its importance, the retail consulting firm Integrated Marketing Solutions reports that misconceptions about the financial and time costs regarding how to track foot traffic prevent many retailers from collecting this information. However, low-cost options such as electronic people counters, security camera logging and manual in-store observation allow even the smallest retail store to measure foot traffic.

Install People Counters

Install an infrared beam at each store entrance. The beam counts each person who enters and leaves the store and typically displays the total on a device fastened above the doorway. To measure foot traffic, read and divide the count by two. The cost for each counter ranges from about $325 to $900 as of 2014.

Analyze Security Camera Images

For a business that already has overhead security cameras, logging foot traffic using the security camera video requires no additional financial investment. Simply assign an employee to watch videotape footage and record the people entering and leaving a department or area over a specific time period. According to IMS, this method works best for measuring foot traffic in specific areas of the store.

Observe Store Traffic

Manual foot traffic counts are useful not only for gathering foot traffic data, but also for gathering information about what your customers are looking at. Position observers in key areas of the store and record foot traffic using a clicker or a manual check sheet.

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