How does travel time impact retail and high street footfall?

If you want to find out where your visitors come from and how long they take to travel to your retail site or high street, fortunately modern digital technology has the answers. Visitor journeys and travel times are recognised as key factors influencing decisions about where retailers should locate their stores, alongside which demographic groups and postcode areas to target in order to increase foot traffic and sales.

Why does travel time matter?

The time it takes for customers to reach a destination can drastically affect the number of people who visit a retail park, leisure site and high street. According to one study, consumers typically refuse to travel more than 20 minutes to make everyday purchases, whereas other research shows that around 65% of shoppers visit local shopping centres for convenience

Now, as prices for fuel and energy rise, people are becoming less willing to make longer journeys with figures from the British Retail Consortium-Sensormatic IQ showing a sharper decline in November for UK retail footfall. Unfortunately, this has affected many retailers and businesses nationwide who struggle to offer low prices for customers, while production costs, such as wages, raw materials, energy, and transportation increase. To add insult-to-injury, over 40,000 train workers from RMT union have announced rail strikes spanning December through January, which could bring further challenges.

However, conversely some retail sites and high streets do find people visiting them from all over the UK. If, for example, your location is near a major motorway or popular tourist route, you could leverage the knowledge of how far people travel to visit your shopping destination. With visitor behaviour data, this allows businesses to effectively target potential customers in those seemingly distant locations.

Footfall analytics for optimised travel time 

Understanding how travel time impacts footfall for your location is key if you want your retail business, leisure park, or town centre to succeed. 

Demographic data combined with GIS mapping and drive time indices (DTI) available from our Place Informatics dashboard can help you determine how best to allocate resources across different regions, optimising space usage, transport, services and maximising revenue. 

Some of the ways our data can enrich your travel time analysis include:

Socio-Demographics – Data can be used to understand the socio-demographic characteristics such as age, gender, social grade, dwelling type and income level of visitors to a specific retail site or high street. This helps to better tailor your offerings in order to attract a wider range of customers with exclusive regional offers for higher conversion rates. 

Postcode origins – Gain valuable insights into the postcode origins of local, regional and national visitors. Our data shows how affluent or socially deprived every postcode area is estimated to be, to help guide targeted marketing campaigns and promotional activities accordingly to increase your customer base.

Footfall predictions  – Measure foot traffic around train stations, bus stations and car parks, including cyclist and pedestrian footfall to gain insight into your customers’ transport preferences. This data can help you create projects that encourage sustainable methods of travel such as cycling or walking in order to reduce a customer’s carbon footprint.

Drive time indices – Retailers and local councils can calculate drive time indices between different locations in order to see how long it takes people to get from A to B via various modes of transport (walking, cycling, driving) using isochrone maps. This will assist in analysing visitor experiences on public transport and in car parks by allowing you to accurately estimate customer travel patterns and peak periods throughout the day or week.

Competitor analysis – To capitalise on the local market and gain a competitive advantage, comparing customers’ travel time on your site to a competitor’s location could provide information on whether it is worth expanding into a particular area. This can also help you to revisit plans to draw in new customers who would otherwise not make the trip due to distance and cost barriers – what other hooks would entice potential customers to make the journey?

Need help?

Utilise the power of retail and high street footfall data at your fingertips with help from Place Informatics. Call 0161 706 1343 for more information or book a webinar in Calendly here:


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