Interview with Marta Fernández, TC Group Solutions’ CMO
- TC Group Solutions has just published its latest report on pedestrian traffic and CPC on European commercial roads. What are the general characteristics that define the roads with the most traffic? Are they always found in big cities?
At TC Group Solutions we analyze the pedestrian traffic of a road up to a linear radius of 5 meters from a shop window. As a result, the size or width of a road is not one of the features that define which ones will have the most pedestrian traffic. Instead, the quantity and quality of shops on the street, or the commercial tradition of the street in the history of the city or the country.
In large cities, such as Milan and Rome, the competition between the various commercial roads ensures that consumers, both locals and tourists, share their visits and purchases in different neighborhoods and commercial areas. In smaller cities, such as, for example, Bologna, there is a minor competition, which translates into more concentrated pedestrian flows.
In any case, roads with greater pedestrian flow are not automatically the most profitable. Specifically, in Italy, it is Via Sestri in Genova that presents a better transit-CPC relationship.
- The majority of the roads that produce greater profitability are found in provincial capitals or in medium-sized cities. Are these roads a good option for large retail chains? And for small and medium-sized businesses?
This depends on the needs of the brand. It is not a question of being small or big, but it depends on the audience to which one is heading. It turns out, for example, that the streets with the highest CPC are located in Milan: the ones in the golden quadrilateral, where the most sophisticated and expensive luxury boutiques are located, such as Moschino, Dolce & Gabbana, Dior, Cavalli, Armani , Valentino… Stating that these stores can open in Genoa because the CPC is more profitable would make no sense.
On the contrary, for companies that focus on more traditional or low-cost segments, where impulse sales play an important role, the pedestrian-to-rent relationship is very important, and should be taken into consideration.
- According to the data held by TC Group Solutions, is it possible to see the evolution of pedestrian traffic during the last year in Italian streets?
Every month, from TC Group Solutions we study the evolution of pedestrian traffic in streets and shopping centers, and we publish the “Traffic Index” or Commercial Pedestrian Traffic Indicator (ITPC), which corresponds to the percentage of inter-annual variation of the daily average of the pedestrian traffic of the streets of the different cities in a month, in relation to the same month of the previous year.
- What are the factors that encourage pedestrians to choose one path over another?
A lots: the weather conditions (the sidewalk in the shade will always be the busiest during the hot hours), the “anchor” points (those shops that attract more people or tourist attractions), communications (subway stops, bus lines tourist), etc.
- TC Group Solutions sensors count passers-by on the street 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. What conclusions can be drawn from this count? What is the behavior of pedestrian traffic outside working hours? And on Sundays, and on holidays?
There are streets that at night continue to have a big influx of pedestrians, others that reduce their pedestrian traffic when the shops are closed. When calculating the CPC, we recommend taking into account the pedestrian flow only during the opening hours of the store, when it is possible to earn on it.
- Is it worthwhile, for example, to keep the windows shops illuminated during the night in some cities? If yes, which one?
From my personal point of view, it would be worthwhile just to do branding and attract potential customers on the online channel. In fact, the consumer has changed, and is increasingly impatient: if he likes a product he wants it immediately, and he will not come back to look for it during the opening hours of the store. At the same time, however, he is also omnichannel: giving him the opportunity to buy online what he sees in a physical store is the best way to make the most of pedestrian traffic, and work on the cost of renting the commercial premises.
- Does Saturday continue to be the preferred day for shopping?
Surely to take a walk. To buy, there are other days when the conversion rate is higher, even if this data could go unnoticed for those companies that do not have a people counter in their stores. Mondays and Tuesdays, for example, are generally very profitable days.
- Do you have data on how the pedestrian flow is translated into entrances to shops? And on sales?
There is another annual report, which provides global data on attraction rates (in-store revenue) and conversion rates (purchases made). This is the Big Data Report on Consumer Behavior, which we have been working on since 2015. According to the latest edition, that of 2018, the rates vary between 7-9% (RA) and 27-30 (RC), depending on from the sector and the city.
- What tools do retailers have today to learn about these data and how to use them to improve a store’s performance?
This is not a science fiction: the total purchases correspond to the number of tickets. In this way, we know the number of people who made a purchase, but not how many went away without buying anything. This is very important information because it marks the maximum potential of a point of sale. The objective is to reduce the number of visitors who go away without buying (increasing the Conversion Rate), thanks to marketing actions and campaigns, optimal staff distribution, improving customer experience, etc.
Store managers assume a conversion rate that exceeds 50%, when in reality it is between 20% and 40%.
As a result, 70% (on average) of visitors to the store leave without buying anything.
Identifying in which stores you buy less helps improve conversion and increase turnover, set more realistic goals for each store and increase profitability. It is essential to know the number of visitors entering the store, as well as those passing in front of its window, to improve communication and promotions and attract more people to the store (attraction rate).
TC Group Solutions offers the best technology on the market, customized according to the needs of each customer, and has the best Big Data software able to collect and analyze the data obtained, establish objectives, monitor KPIs and help improve store results.
- How important is Big Data analysis for a retailer?
Retail, seen as a commercial activity in the street, has seen online commerce grow out of all proportion and become a global reality. E-commerce companies are dedicated to accumulating, processing, organizing and making all possible data profitable to compete better. Undoubtedly, these are extremely important data for traditional retailers as well, and only by crossing the data from both channels will the offline retailer be able to convert the threat into an opportunity and compete with, or coexist with, the online world on the same terms.
Big Data offers a whole world of opportunities for retailers and provides added value: analyzing data allows us to reveal and anticipate certain models of consumer behavior in order to be able to act accordingly. However, the real challenge is to organize this unstructured data to get a good analysis, which guarantees the correct decision-making process in real time.
- In your opinion, what will be the main retail challenges in the coming years?
Obviously, the main challenge is omnichannel. It is counterproductive to fight against the internet or the online world. It is necessary to work without frictions, in a unique omnichannel strategy. It doesn’t matter if the sales channel is physical or online, if you are in a mall or on the street, in a Marketplace or in a department store. The product and the brand are only one, and the consumer must perceive it and live it in this way.
TC Group Solutions helps its customers to have everything under control, in a single perspective. Knowing how to evolve based on relevant data is the key to success or failure.