Want to Increase Foot Traffic In Your Shopping Centers and Stores?

By 2025, global eCommerce sales are expected to reach nearly 7.4 trillion US dollars1. With an anticipated USD 5.5 trillion in sales this year, eCommerce is becoming indispensable for businesses and consumers. Over 20% of global retail sales are anticipated to come from online purchases, meaning that a fifth of consumers will shop from the comfort of their homes instead of in their local stores. While brick-and-mortar retailers might be troubled by the rise of online shopping, storefronts are far from becoming obsolete.

How to understand your non-shoppers and get them through the door

In fact, a recent study2 conducted on behalf of Shopify has proven that shopping malls are still very much of interest to consumers. For example, 81% of Gen Z consumers in the US prefer to discover new products in-store, and more than half of respondents say the in-store browsing experience is a great way to disconnect from the online world. Read on to find out the best ways to increase foot traffic in your stores, turning potential skeptics into loyal customers.

Points of Sale: Problems, Challenges, and Objectives

At the end of the day, store owners want to generate in-store traffic and increase their sales. The good news is that in-store sales are up nearly 14%3 in comparison to the pre-pandemic levels, although there are always roadblocks that can prevent businesses from growing. For example, store owners and managers may not have enough insight into the attractiveness of their point of sale, drive-to-store strategy, or the quality of their offers and services.

To address these problems, shopping mall and store owners need to:

  • Determine the quality of their outlet's services (cleanliness, digitalization, layout, additional services such as parking, etc.)

  • Assess its commercial attractiveness (diversity of offering in the outlet, existing and potential stores, etc.)

  • Understand the perception of customers and non-customers on the offering (marketing strength, price levels, etc.)

  • Evaluate its geographical access (potential access difficulty, preferred means of transportation, etc.)

To increase foot traffic and improve sales within stores and shopping centers, organizations must understand their visitors’ and non-visitors perspectives of all facets of their business. The first step is to hone in on the people you're most interested in hearing from.

Defining Your Catchment Area

The catchment area must be defined when developing a comprehensive strategy to increase your shopping mall's foot traffic. The catchment area is the sphere of influence from which a retail location is most likely to attract customers. Four key factors influence the outline of it:

  • Attractiveness of the point of sale: if the location has the characteristics of a high-traffic area (i.e., many businesses, public services, etc.), the greater the attraction potential.

  • Awareness: the more notoriety a store has in geographically distant areas, the higher the chance it will attract faraway visitors.

  • Competition: if other stores offer similar products, the less likely it is for visitors to travel long distances to come to a specific store.

  • Distance and accessibility: if a store facilitates fluid transportation to its doors and is easily accessible to the public, it is more likely to attract visitors from farther distances.

These trade areas are divided into primary, secondary, and tertiary zones. Shoppers are categorized within these zones according to the frequency of their visits.

For a shopping center, the categories are as follows:

  • Primary zone: comprised of the visitors who go to the shopping center multiple times a week

  • Secondary zone: includes the visitors who come between once a week to twice a month

  • Tertiary zone: incorporates visitors who go to the shopping center less than twice a month

The catchment area allows businesses to analyze the store's penetration rate throughout specific geographical regions.

Analyzing Your Visitors and Non-Visitors

Once your catchment area has been defined, the next step is to investigate your visitors and non-visitors to better understand their habits and perceptions of your shopping center/store. The significant criteria to assess are as follows:

  • Socio-demographic criteria (sex, age, socio-professional classification, place of residence)

  • Perception of the point of sale (strengths and weaknesses)

  • Visiting habits (frequency, average basket, motivations, obstacles)

  • Competition comparison (advantages, inconveniences)

  • Usage habits (preferred means of transportation, behavior at the point of sale)

Collecting data around these four criteria empowers shopping centers and business owners with powerful insights. These insights are crucial to developing new marketing strategies to increase foot traffic in stores. For example, it's well-known that many people now have high expectations regarding digitally-enhanced4 in-store shopping experiences. Features such as QR code payment options and augmented reality can help keep up with the demands of increasingly technologically-inclined shoppers. This is the kind of vital information that your visitors and non-visitors can bring to light.

Enacting Meaningful Change

Once the catchment area has been identified and the insights of your visitors and non-visitors have been gathered, business owners have all the tools they need to improve in the areas they're lacking. They'll better understand the strengths and weaknesses of their business versus the competition. They'll know the motivations and obstacles of visiting their stores from both visitors and non-visitors. Finally, and most importantly, they'll be able to identify key strategies to improve the customer experience.

At Potloc, we conduct comprehensive catchment area studies and analyses to let you know exactly what your visitors and non-visitors are looking for. We have previously launched studies for major retailers, such as Decathlon, to improve all facets of their various storefronts. We'll help you better understand why people come less often or don't visit your stores anymore/at all. We can paint a picture of your visitors and non-visitors, uncovering all their relevant perceptions and habits that pertain to your business. We can lay out your visitors' expectations. We can help your shopping center flourish. To improve foot traffic and increase sales in your shopping centers and stores, head to www.potloc.com for more information.


1 Shopify, "Global Ecommerce sales (2020-2025), www.shopify.com, Apr 26, 2022

2 Alexis Damen, "53 Data-Backed Retail Statistics Shaping Retail in 2022 and Beyond", www.shopify.com, Jan 14, 2022

3 Brigitte Hodge, "41 Retail Statistics for 2022: The State of In-store Shopping", www.fitsmallbusiness.com, July 4, 2022

4 Meaghan Yuen, "Retail trends: 2022 retail industry stats, trends and forecasts", www.insiderintelligence.com, March 14, 2022