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Foot traffic is the lifeblood of brick-and-mortar retail stores -- especially when shoppers stick around and buy stuff. And some companies are getting really good at keeping customers in their establishments.

Foot traffic is the retail industry’s lifeblood, and digital technology will keep it pumping.

“Three quarters of shoppers spend 15 minutes or more in the store ... and 20 percent spend 30 minutes or more,” The Wall Street Journal stated last week about an increasingly successful retail chain. “Sales for its most recent quarter rose nearly 24 percent to $1.07 billion, [and the company] credited an 11 percent increase in store traffic.”

SAP Digital Consumer Insight just made it easier to analyze traffic in brick-and-mortar stores, which can be crucial to improving business. This cloud-based technology helps organizations of any size learn more about the people who frequent specific locations, from how many people are passing through to specific demographic data.

Driving Foot Traffic with Data

“We provide meaningful information that’s easily consumable by either a marketing organization or small business owner,” said suresh.ramakrishnan, vice president of SAP Digital, during a demonstration at SAPPHIRE NOW (see the video below). “So you get a good idea of the people who are around that location.”

This information can help users improve their advertising and proximity marketing, find the perfect place to open a new shop, and more. This data-as-a-service is based on numbers that SAP first obtains from mobile network providers, and then processes, aggregates and anonymizes.

The result is a comprehensive view of hourly foot traffic trends in the queried location, offering insights, such as:

  • Hourly numbers: When do crowds ebb and flow? Can you make the most of both?
  • Age: Are you reaching our desired demographic?
  • Gender: Are you also reaching a surprise demographic?
  • Mobile Devices: What types of handsets and operating systems are people using? This could be useful for running mobile campaigns.
  • Home Zip Codes: Where do your patrons live? And how far have they traveled to get here? This can help you target campaigns in the right places, which might not be where your store is.

“You can decide what kind of product mix you want to create to attract the people who are not in your store, but who are around the vicinity -- or what kind of marketing campaign you should be running,” Ramakrishnan said. “In fact, if you run a marketing campaign, you can run the report before and after, and you can find out if your campaign has actually been effective.”

At SAPPHIRE NOW, Suresh Ramakrishnan demonstrated how SAP Digital Consumer Insight can help organizations of any size get a clear, accurate picture of the people who frequent their locations -- or prospective locations.

Building A Community

Users can also compare foot traffic and other information from two locations, which can be useful when looking up two of your own stores -- or seeing how your store stacks up to that of a competitor. These insights can be crucial to organizations deciding which customer experience to create and cultivate for their customers.

“Brands that have been able to translate shopping into experiences are the ones that are thriving,” Business Insider stated on Monday. “Some brands have innately built community and experiences into their strategies.”

Toward that end, Ramakrishnan’s demonstration found insights that could be useful to SAP’s HanaHaus workplace/coffee shop in Palo Alto, Calif. when compared to another coffee shop in Cupertino, Calif. For example, the shop downtown has more foot traffic, but the one closer to a community college has more young adults.

Keep that Lifeblood Flowing

Learning more about customers from their foot traffic is part of the retail industry’s digital transformation. Retail is already leading the way in fields such as customer experience, the Internet of Things and more.

“If [one] retailer’s top executives have their way, pretty soon [its] stores will boast state-of-the-art features like undocked, mobile cash registers, holograms that show the latest runway collections, and robots that can take full inventory overnight at a 35,000-square-foot store,” Fortune stated Wednesday. “In the not-too-distant future, it hopes shoppers will think of it as a chain that features some of the coolest customer-facing tech.”

And as foot traffic continues to be retail’s lifeblood, digital technology will be what keeps it pumping.

Follow Derek on Twitter: @DKlobucher

More From SAP Business Trends:

How to Put Customers at the Center with Digital Transformation

How to Connect Everything with Best-In-Class Technology, #SAPPHIRENOW

VIDEO: How to Keep Everyone on the Cutting Edge of High-Tech, #SAPPHIRENOW