Foot Traffic Trends and Location Targeting Spell Happy Holidays for Retail Stores

There’s no way to overstate the importance of the holiday shopping season. With Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday generating billions in sales every year, creating an effective holiday marketing strategy tops every retailer’s wish list.

But evolving shopping habits, the lure of-ecommerce, and an omni-present Amazon all complicate the efforts to impact in-store visits. In order to successfully navigate the evolving retail landscape, marketers must leverage every available tool—starting with location targeting.

Three trends worth watching:

Based on foot traffic data from last year’s holiday season, we’ve identified three trends that can help you attract more visitors, outperform the competition, and win the foot traffic face-off.

The early bird gets the sale

Black Friday sales have long been the catalyst for making holiday purchases, but gift- giving is top of mind for consumers long before then. Research shows that by the end of September, 34 million Americans have already started to shop.

Our foot traffic data also confirms this early-shopping trend. Last year, retailers saw an 18% increase in foot traffic the weekend prior to Black Friday.

Pro-tip: Use GroundTruth Location Audiences to reach relevant early-bird shoppers based on their previous foot traffic behavior.

Last minute madness

Still, there are plenty of last-minute shoppers out there. As Christmas fell on a weekend last year, visits the Friday before were significantly higher than “Super Saturday” the prior weekend.

Our data also shows a 50% increase in foot traffic the day before Christmas Eve—the highest increase of the holiday season. With a Monday Christmas on the calendar for 2017, we can expect last-minute shopping to be a recurring trend.

Pro-tip: Use GroundTruth Neighborhoods to target the areas where people are most likely to visit your store, and attract last-minute shoppers with store locators, local directions, and click-to-call messaging.

Retargeting returns

If there’s one thing shoppers don’t delay, it’s returns. December 26th has become one of the busiest days for retailers, with a 15% increase in in-store visits.

In fact, December 26th was the most heavily trafficked Monday of the holiday season last year. This presents an opportunity to leverage retargeting.

Pro-tip: Reach active shoppers by retargeting customers who previously visited your stores with an offer of free returns and self-gift-giving messaging.
Always-on and ready:

Remaining aware of these trends and knowing how to manage them will go a long way toward boosting store visits, but to get the most out of the season, your strategy should have an “always-on” component. Using location-driven insights, there are two ways you can target shoppers as they make their purchase decisions in the real world.

Cost Per Visit (CPV)

Call them traditionalists, but for the majority of today’s holiday shoppers, brick-and-mortar stores are still the go-to choice. Close to 60% of Americans primarily shop for holiday gifts in-store, compared to 21% online.

Knowing this is incredibly useful—especially when you can drive guaranteed visits using our Cost Per Visit performance model. A first for the mobile industry, our Cost per Visit model lets you pay only for visits into your store, maximizing both the power of mobile and your marketing budgets this holiday season.

Weather Triggering

Holiday shopping habits shift in relation to the weather; our data shows foot traffic decreases by 9% on bad weather days. You can predict such changes by leveraging Weather Targeting, which taps into WeatherBug’s network of more than 10,000 weather stations. Tracking weather changes in real-time will allow you to anticipate a drop in store visits and adjust your marketing activities accordingly.

Armed with a strategy built on relevant trends and the latest in location targeting, retailers can take full advantage of the revenue opportunity the holiday shopping season brings.

Alexandra Matthews
Marketing Manager