Using Google Maps “Popular Times” to Better Understand Store Dynamics

  • In today’s modern retail / CPG industry, there is an enormous of data available to help retailers and account teams make better decisions. Going back to when our founder, Jeff Doucette started in the industry in 1997, data was mostly top-line, big picture data. Four-weekly AC Nielsen Market Track and Home Scan data was delivered in printed binders with the requisite delay in printing and distributing these books meaning that no one was ever working with “fresh” data.

    Now we live in the age of “big-data” which now means that we have access to a wide variety of data in near real-time. From Walmart retail-link data streaming POS results to Field Agent new on-line dashboard which can take you inside almost any store across Canada through our live dashboard – decisions today can be more nimble and better informed than ever before.

    One new tool that can be added to the decision making process is the “Popular Times” function of Google Maps.

    Just enter in the store name and address of any store and below the address information you will most likely find a “Popular Times” bar chart pop up showing you when the store is most frequented by customers.

    dominon monday
    This data would be very helpful for CPG companies looking to schedule in-store events such as product demonstrations or for DSD companies to resupply the store to ensure that shelves are fully stocked for peak shopping periods (or filled up shortly afterwards).

    It is also interesting to see the variations in store traffic by day of the week and day-part. For example, below are the results from Monday and Saturday for a Walmart store:

    walmart mondaywalmart saturday

    We can also contrast the traffic flow for nearby stores:

    costco mondaycostco saturday

    How does Google come up with this information? According to its website:

    “To determine popular times, Google uses data from users who have chosen to store their location information on Google servers. Popular times are based on average popularity over the last several weeks. Not all businesses will have a popular times graph; the graph will only appear for businesses whose hours are listed on Google and about which Google has sufficient popularity data.

    On the popular times graph, popularity for any given hour is shown relative to the typical peak popularity for the business for the week.”

    While this data is just one of many potential sources, here at Field Agent we thought that it was unique as it is widely available, public and free of charge!

    Check out a few of your stores on Google today!

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