Sensing Dynamic Retail Environments

Authors: Susie Philp*, University of Liverpool, Les Dolega, University of Liverpool, Mark Green, University of Liverpool, Alex Singleton, University of Liverpool
Topics: Spatial Analysis & Modeling, Urban Geography
Keywords: UK, retail, footfall, vitality, vacancy
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Congressional A, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The retail industry in the UK is constantly evolving. The rise of online retail and convenience culture has created a new paradigm of retail experience and consumer expectations. Adapting high street retail to these changes can involve complex and high-stake decision making, though imperative to the sustainability of the UK retail sector. Additionally, the value of a strong high street is more than economic, contributing to a hub of local culture, community and skills, increasing the quality of life. Therefore, investing in newer, smarter and reliable methods to keep high streets thriving is vital to UK sustainability. Understanding how consumers spatially and temporally navigate their retail environment is the foundation to improving retail experience, and high street resilience as a whole. Advancements in sensing technologies have made these patterns of consumer flows increasingly visible and accessible. Throughout my PhD studies, I aim to use analysis of this data to give a detailed insight into the variation of consumer flows and trends in retail centres, and the factors that influence them. Currently, I am clustering micro-locations on their similarity of footfall-driving characteristics, such as proximity to transport hubs. The resulting clusters show similar footfall signatures, which could be used to infer footfall for UK retail environments where it is unknown. These insights could allow stakeholders to understand how consumers experience their retail environment, and how to make this experience more positive and create a resilient and sustainable high street.

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