Foursquare has announced Foursquare Analytics, a platform that puts data from the company’s location-based services into a dashboard format to help brick-and-mortar retailers and restaurant chains better understand foot traffic patterns and trends at the store level.
The company already has several beta users of Foursquare Analytics across sectors, including retailers H&M and Lowe’s, luxury lifestyle brand Equinox and restaurant chains Taco Bell and TGI Fridays.
The offering leverages check-ins at more than 100 million locations and across more than thousands of apps that use Foursquare location technology. It also uses anonymized in-store-visit data collected from users of Swarm and Foursquare who have opted in to always-on location sharing.
This announcement in some ways seems like a formalization of analytical capabilities that have been inherent to Foursquare for a while, and which it has used on occasion to offer assessments of shopping traffic to retailers. Although, Foursquare indicated in its blog post that users of the platform will get a lot of new metrics as well.
Whatever Foursquare is set to deliver in terms of new metrics, data points and analysis, brick-and-mortar retailers should be very eager to see it. Many retailers are at a turning point with their physical locations, knowing they need to evolve rather quickly and dramatically if they are to survive, but unsure of exactly how to evolve. Foursquare data can help them learn more about who is visiting their stores, when, for how long, what they're doing and where they're going while they are inside the stores, how loyal customers are and from what sources retailers are leaking loss, among other details.
Even more valuable is the ability of Foursquare Analytics to compare store data to that of competitors and the broader industry, providing a precise understanding of changing store visit patterns and share of visits from a competitive set.
Aside from the beta users mentioned, Foursquare said it also used its analytics platform to run some numbers on a retailer that was not a customer or beta user — T.J. Maxx. Among other data, Foursquare Analytics showed that T.J. Maxx customers are high-frequency shoppers, with 5% of customers visiting T.J. Maxx store almost every other week, and 80% of them shopping at the retailer at least twice in the past 12 months. Last month, more than 40% of T.J. Maxx foot traffic came from those same frequent shoppers (up from ~30% a year ago).
As retailers digest that sort of data, they can learn a lot about who among their customers they most need to care about, support and communicate with. They can learn who they should target first and foremost with loyalty and promotional programs, and ultimately they can find out whose approval they need to work toward as they figure out just what their stores are supposed to become in the future.