With the increasing trend towards e-commerce stores and online shopping, many forecasted that brick-and-mortar retail stores were on the verge of losing their relevance.
However, with new technological advances, retail stores and shopping malls are gaining access to tools that allow them to become more competitive.
People or footfall counters are at the forefront of this revolution, as more and more physical stores are taking advantage of technology solutions to improve customer satisfaction, optimize their operations, and increase profitability.
Here are some of the benefits of counting technology for retail stores and some factors to consider before purchasing one.
What is footfall- or people-counting technology and how does it work?
People-counting technology is a system that connects people counting sensors to software, allowing stores to measure visitors’ numbers accurately.
The people-counting sensors are strategically placed in the store. These sensors measure all visitors entering and leaving the store and record the data through the software. Keep in mind that the data collected by the sensors depends on their position in the store.
For instance, if sensors are placed at the main entrance, they provide an accurate count of the number of people entering the store.
Similarly, if sensors are placed at the entrance to each specific section of the store, the system counts the number of people entering the area.
Some retailers place people-counting sensors outside their stores to collect traffic data.
The people-counting analytics allows the store owner to monitor how the store is operating, the time of day when people are coming in, the days when there are more people, etc. The system also allows the store owner to monitor the number of people entering the store.
3 Reasons Why You Need a People-Counting System
To improve in-store experience
In order to run a store optimally, it is essential to make continuous enhancements.
It is difficult to make these changes in a short time without technology. People-counting technology, for example, can improve in-store operations such as customer service, staffing, and product replenishment.
The ability to provide personalized customer service is one of the few advantages that physical stores have over online stores.
It is therefore vital to ensure that a store is well-staffed during peak traffic days and periods, and a people-counting system can provide you with such data. When there is enough staff to help customers with their purchases, lost sales opportunities are greatly reduced.
What’s more, additional checkout counters can be opened during these periods to process customers more quickly and prevent long lines, thus reducing cart abandonment.
Reduced staff can be maintained during off-peak periods to reduce labor costs.
To consolidate your in-store experience improvement efforts, you partner with RFID companies in Dubai or wherever you reside.
To prevent theft
Theft prevention is a priority for most retailers. In 2018, the National Retail Federation’s report on retail security showed that shoplifting was the leading cause of profit loss.
Counting alone does not stop those who want to steal. However, people-counting analytics could indicate if you need more employees in an area to deter shoplifters.
Consider a store with multiple entrances. The people-counting software data shows a higher than average number of people coming through the door closest to the kitchen appliance department. If the store was facing an increase in such materials’ theft, the store manager could therefore plan for more workers in this section to have a more significant combined presence.
Make sure that your people counter is scalable to meet your business’s needs, both in the short and long term.
To improve sales and marketing
With people counters, you can measure customer conversion rates and lost sales opportunities. The device data tells you how many people visited your store, and the cashier data tells you how many sales were made.
By comparing the statistics, you can figure out how many visitors actually bought something and how many sales opportunities were lost.
You can then take action to find out why some visitors abandoned their shopping cart and prevent this from occurring again in the future.
Some of the most common reasons for lost sales opportunities include long checkout lines, poor customer service, and defective product disposition.
Also, when you start a new marketing campaign using traffic counters, you can crunch the numbers and measure how many more people have visited the store after the ad was placed. You can find out how many people walked past the store without entering and how many visitors made purchases.
If a lot of people walked past the store without going in, it may mean that the marketing campaign was not very effective. It needs to be optimized, and with the help of the people-counter data, it can be modified until it is effective.
People counters also tell you the number of visitors attracted to the store per dollar spent on marketing. This will help you verify the viability of each marketing campaign.
3 Things to Consider When Choosing a People-Counting System to Use
The best people-counting devices have an operational efficiency of 96 to 98 percent. The new standards speak of a minimum of 98 percent, so aim for that level of accuracy.
Before choosing a system, ask whether it is unidirectional or bidirectional.
In bi-directional systems, sensors are placed above the entrance and can distinguish between people entering and leaving. One-way systems cannot tell whether a person is entering or leaving.
Your people-counting system must be sufficiently flexible and adaptable to different situations.
So, for example, if you want to integrate more sites, will your data be streamlined? Similarly, can the system be integrated with your point-of-sale system to allow you to track conversion rates?
Do you want to receive reports of customer traffic counters in real time? Every two hours? Or every day?
If hourly counts are necessary to optimize staffing and other store operations, then choose a system that can provide hourly reports.
You can also choose a service provider that sends you raw traffic data or one that sends you easy-to-understand reports.
Utilizing Footfall-Counting Technology in Retail
People-counting systems can be used for such a fundamental function as the collection of traffic data. In addition to that, they also make it easier to improve customer satisfaction levels and, consequently, sales. Consider using this technology in your retail establishment today.