The Capture Rate as a Vital Indicator in Retail
Foot traffic past a retail business can be measured using people-counting technologies. This effectively represents the potential each outlet can derive from its visitors. The ratio of visitors to passers-by in a certain period of time generates the so-called “capture rate”. It shows which proportion of passers-by actually enters the store. The capture rate is also known as the “fishing rate”, “walk-in rate” or “peel-off rate”. It is an important indicator for retail locations and depends on a multitude of factors. Some of these can be influenced through operational measures by the retail outlet in question.
Important Factors Increasing the Capture Rate
Once a strategic decision has been made on a particular location, an outlet has in itself little further influence on the quantity and quality of foot traffic. However, a retail business can try to affect certain factors, thus positively influencing the visitor frequency and capture rate.
Brand awareness plays a great role in driving forward the capture rate. As a rule, well-known retail outlets attract more visitors than unknown ones. Brand awareness itself can be influenced over medium or long-term advertising measures.
If there are a lot of comparable competitors in the vicinity, the capture rate takes a hit. This is because passers-by can find their needs fulfilled by other outlets.
The wider the display windows, the more opportunity there is to attract the attention of passers-by. However, this factor can only be influenced in the strategic choice of location. To profit from the size of the windows in catching the eye of passers-by, they should not be blocked by shopping carts or other objects.
A further factor influencing the capture rate is the actual store window design. Display windows give retail spaces the option to encourage passers-by to stop and take notice. The window design should stimulate the interest in visiting the store of as many people as possible.
Design options are diverse and can change to reflect the season or special events. We cannot give an overall answer as to how often it makes sense to redesign the window displays. But changes to the fishing rate allow conclusions about the attractiveness of window designs.
The overall appearance of the exterior also has an influence on the pulling power of a retail business for passers-by. Cleanliness is essential. Crumbling stucco, dirty windows, graffiti and garbage in front of the store are not particularly inviting.
The exterior also includes neon signage, sufficient lighting in the evening and, above all, sidewalk signs. The latter gain the attention of pedestrians and encourage them to make a visit. These could be chalkboards, digital advertising boards or something more eye-catching such as a bicycle or flower box. In addition, depending on the retail establishment, some of the merchandise could be displayed outdoors to draw the attention of passers-by.
The greater the number of entrances, the better the capture rate. But the structural design of a retail space cannot often be altered. The existing entrances should be as wide as possible, clearly signed and not blocked off by other structures, in order to ensure an optimal capture rate.
Increasing visual attractiveness for shoppers is essential if you wish to achieve an above-average capture rate. Nevertheless, targeted advertising can also bring specific visitors into the store. These include general ad campaigns for specific target groups via various channels. Online visibility is important and is achieved through postings on social networks and the design of social media profiles.
Increasing the frequency of visits by existing customers also improves the capture rate. Motivating content regulars to visit again is often easier than continually attracting new customers. To individually appeal to existing customers, a customer file is necessary.
Customers’ experiences also have a direct influence on the capture rate. If retail visitors are impressed by what they find, they will be happy to return at a later date.
The friendliness and helpfulness of sales staff, breadth of the range, attractive store design, a special purchase experience or outstanding service can lead prior visitors to stop by the store again in the future. Return visitors are a powerful tool in improving the capture rate.
Gradually Improving Your Capture Rate
Increasing the capture rate is not a cure-all, especially if the sales personnel fail to turn visitors into customers. Simply luring in visitors but not satisfying their expectations or needs does not help your store's success. Operational measures to increase the capture rate will, however, drive up the conversion rate when combined with other strategic sales tools.