If your business has bricks and mortar locations such as shops or venues, it is essential that as many customers as possible are coming through those doors.
Whether you are looking to open up a store, a trade counter, or a hospitality outlet in a new area, or you are reviewing how your existing premises are working for you, footfall is probably the most important issue you will need to address.
And whether you have competitors nearby can be a major factor when it comes to footfall (the word used to describe the number of people walking past or into your premises).
At first glance it may seem obvious that having local competitors and rival businesses nearby can have a detrimental effect on your outlet’s footfall, and ultimately on sales.
But the question of how competition affects the numbers of customers through your doors deserves much closer investigation than that.
Current, relevant data from a variety of sources will help you understand whether competitors in your area are having a positive or negative effect on footfall in your store or restaurant.
Location Intelligence Systems such as Tech4T’s Territory Runner system will help you develop a strategy that can mitigate the negative impacts of competitors and work with the potential benefits to ensure your business locations attract as many customers as possible.
The system is fully customisable for your business and can include data from your own systems as well as tailored market, demographic, customer, business and competitor statistics to help you make critical location planning decisions.
And it can shine a light on the factors you need to consider when you are deciding what impact competitors will have on your footfall.
Getting the Balance Right
When you set up a store, restaurant, or other business premises in an area that is densely populated, or attracts the type of customers you need, it’s likely that other businesses are already operating there or are thinking of moving in.
Too many businesses of the same kind in a small area can leave you fighting for customers.
But if you try to avoid competition altogether and open up further away, you could find your target customers won’t bother coming to your premises.
Data can help you define the fine line between being too close to competitors and being too far away from your customers.
Placed for Success
If a location is right for your business, it is likely that it will also be right for your competitors. But it’s not always a negative having rival businesses close by.
For one, it is likely to indicate that the location offers a range of intrinsic benefits to businesses of your kind, such as good transport links and attractive surroundings.
The area could be building a reputation as a specialist in some kind of retail or hospitality service, for example as a ‘fashion quarter’ where shoppers can choose from a wide range of styles, or as an entertainment or recreational zone where customers know that whatever food they want that evening, they will have plenty of choice and a great dining experience.
As long as individual businesses have done their research to see whether the area can support another business of the same kind, it could be the ideal place to be.
As an added bonus, established businesses will have undertaken costly marketing to bring people into the area initially, and as a result you could reap the rewards of extra footfall without much extra cost!
Find Your Niche
It may be that to survive in a market with nearby competition you need to find a niche, or elements that set your business apart from competitors and encourage customers to step into your store or restaurant.
This is why it’s so important to know the habits and tastes of your existing and prospective customers and find ways of bringing them through your doors.
Data about their lifestyles and interests can help with this – enabling you to perhaps stock a brand of jeans that no-one else sells or offer a dish that no one else serves.
You could also gain valuable insights that could inform your opening hours, how your customer services operate, or how your store or business premises looks.
The Way Ahead
Data about locations and the competition that exists there can be a driving force for development and better business practices.
It can spur you on to look at how your business can innovate and stand out from the crowd. It can also help you look at your pricing and special offers.
In addition, it can help you set up in-store promotions that grab the attention of passers-by or suggest which other retailers you could develop promotions with, for example a juice bar with a fitness studio, or a coffee bar with a fashion store.
Ensuring that the data you use is current and relevant will also help you keep updated on how your business is doing in a world where competition can be a make-or-break factor.
Tech4T’s Territory Runner System and its market and customer analysis and sales team expertise can ensure that you can always look ahead and take the competition in your stride.