Sensing Dynamic Retail Environments

Lead Research Organisation: University of Liverpool
Department Name: Geography and Planning


Advancements in sensing technologies used to monitor footfall dynamics have increasingly rendered visible the patterns in consumer flows within retail environments. Understanding pedestrian movement within varying spatial and temporal scales can facilitate in depth interpretation of the dynamics of an urban environment. With an industrial partner, this project aims to use footfall data from around Great Britain to create a micro-level typology of the different forms and functions within town and city centres. Spatial and temporal trends in footfall data will be identified and linked to supply and demand factors. The result of this project could grant stakeholders in retail environments across Great Britain the capabilities to make smarter decisions for themselves, and for the welfare of the town or city.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/R501062/1 30/09/2017 29/09/2021
1949056 Studentship ES/R501062/1 24/09/2017 31/12/2021 Susannah Philp
ES/P000401/1 30/09/2017 29/09/2024
1949056 Studentship ES/P000401/1 24/09/2017 31/12/2021 Susannah Philp
Description This award set out to investigate what could be learned about UK retail centres from using footfall sensor data. What has been discovered so far is that footfall data encompasses lots of different factors and influences. Therefore, it can be complicated to extract meaningful information through this data alone.
The footfall data was then combined with other data sources including information about the function and morphology of the surrounding area such as retail mix, working population and network centrality of the street. It was proven that footfall varies significantly and in quantifiable ways due to differences in these qualities. This is the first time, to our knowledge that this connection has been made quantifiably and while taking into account multiple different factors.
Exploitation Route Hopefully it will be useful for stakeholders interesting in improving the resilience of high streets and retail centres, for example, improving opening hours to match footfall results, working out how well footfall transforms into sales, and identifying a solid and cohesive vision for the future of the high street.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Government, Democracy and Justice,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections,Retail,Transport