Foursquare is launching an analytics platform to help retailers understand foot traffic

While Foursquare started as a social check-in app, the company has always said there is a bigger picture — mainly related to unique ways of leveraging its database of check-ins at nearly 100 million public places.

There’s no better example than when Foursquare predicted that Chipotle same-store sales would fall 29 percent after the Mexican chain was hit with E. coli outbreaks. The actual decline announced by Chipotle ended up being a spot-on 30 percent.

As you can imagine, these analytics can be very valuable to retailers, allowing them to better understand customers’ habits as well as predict store traffic.

So today the company is announcing Foursquare Analytics, a foot-traffic dashboard for brands and retailers. The platform is available for retailers with any number of stores, no matter how small. Previously the only way for companies to access this data was through one-off deals with Foursquare.

Retailers will be able to use the dashboard to see foot-traffic data across metrics like gender, age and new versus returning customers — on a national or citywide scale. They also can compare their foot traffic against a set of competitors and their category as a whole.

The data is collected via Foursquare’s existing database of locations (which powers more than 100,000 apps, including Snapchat), as well as anonymized in-store-visit data collected from users of Swarm and Foursquare who have opted in to always-on location sharing. Foursquare then normalizes this data to make sure it accurately represents the U.S. population as a whole.

As a demonstration, Foursquare ran a case study analyzing T.J. Maxx’s recent retail success. As part of the study, they were able to determine things like what percent of foot traffic comes from high-frequency regular customers versus new ones.

Early partners include TGI Friday’s, Taco Bell, H&M and Equinox — but the platform is available now for retailers of any size.