If you’re in retail, you’ve probably heard about people counting technology. The term “people counting technology” should give you an intuitive understanding of what it is. And you’d be right. In essence, you use people counting technology to count the number of people in your store or business premises.
What Is People Counting Technology?
But people counting technology is a broad term. Essentially, it is a combination of hardware and software that counts people coming through a particular location.
Its most basic version involves humans holding a clicker and manually logging the number of people who passed. The highly advanced people counting technologies, however, involve artificial intelligence or advanced machine learning algorithms.
Using infrared beams, thermal imaging systems, Wi-Fi trackers, and 3D video counters, among other technologies, artificial intelligence counts footfall and tracks footfall patterns. Advanced AI systems, moreover, can count heads within set parameters at any given time. They can tell adults and children apart and might even tell repetitive or non-unique foot traffic.
But why do you need advanced footfall counting technology in retail?
Uses of People Counting Technology in Retail
In the words of Engineer W. Edwards Deming, “Without data, you’re just another person with an opinion.”
Data is valuable for the information it provides business owners. And people counting technologies help you obtain this valued resource. In other words, people counting offers you business intelligence that will help you make rational business decisions.
The following are some of the types of data that people counting provides.
1. Counts Footfall
People counting technologies count footfall or the number of people that go into your store. Footfall is an essential metric for retailers.
Count the Number of Potential Customers
Footfall is a simple indicator of retail success. The more traffic you get in your store, the more people you can convert into buyers and customers.
Derive Conversion Rate
Footfall is necessary to derive your store’s conversion rates. Simply put, compare the number of sales transactions in a given time to your footfall for the same period. That would be your conversion rate.
Gauge the Effectiveness of Marketing Campaigns
Your footfall, while a marketing campaign is running, should also help you gauge the effectiveness of your campaign.
You know marketing campaigns are working if they are bringing people in through the doors. Therefore, if average footfall increases while a campaign is running, you can assume that your campaign is working.
Of course, you can do a follow-up survey in-store to ensure that the increase in footfall is indeed a direct result of your campaign.
2. Tracks Footfall Patterns
Advanced people counting technologies can also track your customers’ movements in-store. They can identify the typical way your customers move in-store, how long they linger in certain areas, and how customers utilize your space.
Optimize Floor Layout to Increase Sales
If you know how customers typically move throughout your store, from entry to exit, then you can optimize your layout to improve sales.
In high-traffic areas and main customer paths, you can showcase high-profit items to improve your margins, new arrivals to improve exposure, specific products to improve such products’ movement, and best-sellersto encourage more sales.
3. Identifies the Busiest and the Least Busy Parts of Your Store
People counting systems will also let you capture an accurate picture of your store’s space utilization.
Optimize Your Floor Layout to Resolve Congestion
With the help of an AI-enabled people counting system, you can identify hotspots or congested areas in your store. Overcrowding can make customers uncomfortable, especially in light of the pandemic, and motivate them to leave and discourage them from returning for another visit.
People counting technologies can therefore help you resolve overcrowding issues. Specifically, you can reorganize your space to encourage optimal traffic flow and prevent congestions from forming.
4. Tracks Engagement With Outside-Facing Store Displays
Intelligent people counting systems also highlight customers’ engagement with store displays.
How long do your customers, on average, stay in front of your store display? Which store display attracted the most attention? People counting technology will help you answer these questions and more.
Be Creative With Your Store Display
If you can attract more people to check out your store display, then your chance of enticing them to come into your store to shop increases.
Through your people counting system, you should be able to tell which store displays led to a better than usual engagement with passing traffic. You can recreate that winning store display or analyze it to see which of its elements you can include in future store displays to increase your average store display engagement.
5. Tracks Dwell Times
People counting solutions can tell you how long your customers stay in your store on average, engaging with your brand and products.
Research shows that the longer your customers remain inside your store to browse through your products and consume your displays, the higher their spending is likely to be. Your goal, then, is to increase your customers’ dwell times.
Note that dwell times only include meaningful engagement and do not include lingering because of queues or congestion.
Improve Customer Displays and Floor Plans
Using your current dwell times as a baseline, you can experiment with your in-store displays and floor plans to see if dwell times would improve with your changes. You should feel free to experiment until you arrive at in-store displays and a floor plan that provide longer dwell times.
Improve Customer Experience
You can also increase dwell times by improving the customer experience. Make sure staff are readily available and accessible where customer drop-offs often occur. Your employees can help encourage customers to stay by resolving issues or providing assistance.
6. Tracks Peak and Off-Peak Times
Footfall counting technologies also help track your busiest and least busy days and times.
Efficient Allocation and Utilization of Staff
When you know your peak and off-peak days and hours, you can make better hiring decisions because you’ll know how many store personnel you need. You’ll also be able to allocate them appropriately throughout the store, and you’ll know when they must be absolutely on the floor working sales.
7. Identifies Queues
Your people counting system should also alert you about queues and how long your customers have been in them.
When you are alerted to queues forming, you can immediately open more cash registers or, better yet, deploy staff equipped with mobile POS systems. Your fast response will ensure you can deliver only the best customer experience, which leads to customer loyalty and retention.
People Counting is Valuable to Retail
People counting technologies provide a wealth of actionable retail insights.
They tell you how many people visit your store, when you are busiest and least busy, and which store displays effectively draw customers inside. They also tell you how your customers move through your store, where they spend most of their time, and where congestions and queues form.