AI-Powered Store Traffic Forecasting for Retail Businesses

October 12, 2023

by Malysa O’Connor

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Have you ever wondered why some stores seem bustling while others appear eerily quiet? It’s no coincidence. In brick-and-mortar retail, store foot traffic is a good way to check business vitality.

Imagine if you could predict your shop’s hustle and bustle for tomorrow, next week, or even months from now. You’d know how many sales associates to schedule on Saturdays or when to ramp up inventory before an expected customer surge.

This isn’t fantasy—it’s AI-powered store traffic forecasting at work. This forecasting tool can give retailers invaluable insights into their businesses, help them save money by optimizing staffing needs, and ensure they’re never caught off guard with too little stock when demand surges. Let’s explore store traffic forecasting and how AI is changing the game.

Key Points

  • Store traffic forecasting solutions predict how many customers a store can expect at specific times and days so owners can run their businesses more efficiently.
  • Legion’s WFM software leverages footfall traffic data through integration partners to give companies precise traffic forecasts, even considering weather and special events.
  • Accurate AI-powered store traffic forecasting saves time and money for companies and ultimately helps them run as efficiently as possible.

AI-Powered Store Traffic Forecasting for Retail Businesses

Retail businesses rely on accurate demand and store traffic forecasting to effectively plan and allocate their resources. Detailed store traffic forecasting provides additional insight beyond transactions to predict the number of customers walking through their doors. They can answer questions such as how traffic converts to sales or how many walkouts they see.

AI-powered solutions like Legion WFM leverage data from our partners to provide exact predictions for future foot traffic patterns.

This enables retailers to save time and make better business decisions that drive profitability and customer satisfaction. For example, based on predicted busy or slow periods, you’ll know when to staff up or down and can incorporate that information to optimize your labor plan.

A Game-Changer for Employers and Employees

Predicting store traffic isn’t only beneficial for retailers—it’s a win-win situation that helps employees. A combination of matching available resources and demand, along with employees’ preferences, skills, and proficiency, results in optimal staffing levels—no more overstaffed quiet times or costly understaffed rushes.

Labor optimization tools automatically compute the minimum labor necessary to meet forecasted demand and account for labor not directly related to customer service, such as restocking and inventory. Employee preferences and flexible workloads, such as restocking or tracking inventory, are also automatically included without human intervention, providing a more fine-grained view of employee scheduling shift increments.

When coupled with Legion Automated Scheduling’s built-in productivity metrics, retailers can automatically schedule employees who are top performers during peak periods, increasing conversion rates, maximizing sales, and delivering a great customer experience.

Tapping Into Data with Legion’s WFM Demand Forecasting Product

So, how does Legion achieve this? By tapping into rich store traffic data.

We collect store traffic data from our partners, such as RetailNext. Then, we can analyze past trends and real-time updates to accurately anticipate your store’s needs—a perfect blend of human expertise with AI precision.

Plus, our software goes beyond raw numbers; we consider factors such as promotional events, weather conditions, and local holidays, which could affect footfall patterns.

What Store Traffic Forecasting Data Can Tell Your Company

Knowing the number of individuals entering your physical store is critical for managing a retail establishment. This data gives insight into many things, including your business’s peak hours and the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.

Store traffic forecasting isn’t just about counting heads, though. It involves predicting future footfall using historical trends and variables like seasonality, weather, or local events. It’s an invaluable tool for planning staffing levels, inventory, and sales promotions.

The Importance of Monitoring Foot Traffic

Retailers must often monitor foot traffic during promotional periods or seasonal sales peaks. But it’s also valuable when launching new products or opening new locations.

According to Shopify, having an accurate visitor count helps retailers measure conversion rates more precisely—a key performance indicator in retail.

In times of unexpected changes, think COVID-19 lockdowns, tracking customer flow can also help adapt quickly to fluctuating demand patterns.

Knowing your foot traffic is like having a crystal ball for retail businesses. It helps you predict the future, allowing better decision-making in various areas.

Predicting Staff Needs

Having the right staff scheduled at the right time can be game-changing. With accurate foot traffic predictions, retailers avoid both overstaffing and understaffing situations. Overstaffed stores waste resources, while understaffed ones fail to meet customer needs efficiently.

Maintaining Proper Inventory Levels

A store that knows its visitors’ habits can optimize inventory levels. By analyzing patterns in foot traffic data, retailers can ensure they have enough stock during peak hours and reduce surplus during slow periods.

Planning Promotions/Marketing Campaigns

Foot traffic forecasting also aids promotional planning. Knowing when customers are likely to visit allows businesses to schedule their marketing campaigns effectively, driving more sales by reaching people at the right times.

Evaluating Business Performance

Finally, tracking foot traffic honestly reflects business performance. Increasing visitor count shows successful strategies; declining numbers signal a need for change.

Using Store Traffic Data

Tapping into store traffic data can give businesses an edge. This information can guide staffing decisions and inventory planning with the right tools.

Take Legion WFM’s demand forecasting tool as an example. It uses historical footfall data to predict future store visits. This lets you get your staff numbers right—not too many that labor costs rise, but enough so customers don’t face long queues or poor service.

This insight is vital during peak shopping periods like Black Friday or holiday seasons when stores often see a surge in visitors. Accurate predictions mean you’re never caught off guard and always ready to provide top-notch customer service.

Beyond managing workforce schedules, analyzing store traffic also helps with inventory management. Studies show that matching stock levels with anticipated footfall minimizes wastage while maximizing sales opportunities.

So whether it’s about ensuring your team is equipped to handle the next big sale day rush or providing enough hot-selling items on shelves for regular weekdays, leveraging foot traffic forecasts can significantly boost operational efficiency and profitability for retail businesses.

Manual Store Traffic Tracking and Forecasting

Tracking store traffic manually can be quite a task. Picture attempting to tally each individual who strolls through your store entrance while also overseeing the day-to-day activities of your business. This was how it used to be done, with employees counting heads or marking tallies on a clipboard.

Manually tracking store traffic isn’t just time-consuming, it’s prone to errors. Errors are common, especially during peak hours when customers flow in faster. This makes accurate forecasting challenging and often leads retailers down the wrong path.

The lack of precision can cause many problems for businesses, from overstaffing on slow days to understaffing during busy periods, wasting resources, and negatively impacting customer satisfaction.

Furthermore, manual tracking doesn’t provide insight into buying behavior or trends—important information needed for strategic planning in retail business. Businesses may miss out on opportunities for growth and improvement without traffic insights.

Simply put, if you’re still relying on manual methods for store traffic forecasting you’re likely leaving money on the table due to inefficiencies in labor scheduling and missed sales opportunities.

Store Traffic Forecasting Through Legion WFM

Predicting store traffic is like having a vision of your business’s future. For employees, it means more predictable schedules and fewer last-minute shift changes.

Legion’s Demand Forecasting uses artificial intelligence to leverage store traffic data and many other data sources such as additional operational data, local events, and weather, precisely predicting future demand. Legion’s workforce management platform sifts through historical patterns, identifying trends to forecast upcoming customer volume.

For example, if the software detects an increase in footfall during weekday lunch hours over several weeks, managers can use this information to adjust staffing levels accordingly. Businesses can avoid understaffing during peak times while also avoiding excess labor costs during quieter periods.

Like that found in Legion’s solution, AI-powered technology offers significant benefits over traditional manual methods that are often time-consuming and prone to human error.

Finally, the role of AI in workforce management cannot be overstated as it continues revolutionizing how we understand our customers’ behavior—making accurate predictions possible at scale. With such tools, retailers don’t just survive, they thrive.

Embrace the future of retail. Use store traffic forecasting to get a pulse on business vitality and steer toward success.


The world of workforce management has undergone a profound transformation in recent years. In today’s fast-paced business environment, organizations relentlessly pursue solutions offering seamless, real-time integration capabilities. This quest for efficiency and agility to intelligently automate workforce management has led to a significant uptick in adopting cutting-edge platforms like Legion WFM. Request a demo now to see Legion WFM in action.