3 Reasons Why People Counting is Essential for Student Unions

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People counting is not only ideal for institutions that generate revenue, but also for those who don’t. Non-profit organizations and state-funded programs need accurate data about the number of visitors they garner in order to request resources.

Student unions are generally the hub of activity for a college campus. Throughout the day, crowds of students and faculty members come between classes. With a flow of visitors that is constantly fluctuating, it isn’t easy to keep track of how many there are. Without knowing how many visitors there are, it is impossible to know how many resources are needed to accommodate them. Keeping track of trafficking ensures that the facility is operating at optimal efficiency.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, college enrollment increased 37 percent in the United States. Much of this increase was in full-time enrollment, with the number of full-time students rising 45 percent. Increases in enrollment inevitably lead to increased trafficking in campus buildings.

Being in-tune with the building’s trafficking is helpful for these reasons:

1. Measure which areas are used most.

  • Knowing the most-traveled doors and hallways in the building may come in handy when placing informational fliers, kiosks or help desks for new students.
  • Also, knowing which areas of the student union receive the most trafficking tells the school where to concentrate its money. It may be the fitness center; it may be the cafeteria. Whichever the area, if it is heavily-traveled then it is likely to return the money that was spent in it.
  • For example: If free concerts were held at a student union, it would be helpful for the programming board to know which acts the students liked or didn’t like. That way, they won’t waste their time booking entertainers that don’t entertain their students. And if they wanted to bring in more expensive entertainers, they would have a better idea of which acts would bring the most money.

2. Optimize employee placement for peak and non-peak times.

  • Managers can calculate building hours and personnel needs based on actual data reports from the people counting hardware, rather than making estimations. With a sensor installed, the building may never be over- or understaffed again.
  • Because of school budgets, it is important for student unions to use their money wisely. Many student centers can’t afford to pay several employees on the same shift, and even if they can, they shouldn’t have to. People counting allows student unions to optimize their labor.
  • People counting can be used to estimate the proper amount of employees for peak and non-peak times on an average day – and on the not-so-average days, too. When hosting well-attended events – sometimes several at once – the building may need more staffing. People counting helps you predict and prepare for special occasions.

3. Justify requests for additional resources.

  • Non-profit organizations can estimate their staffing and funding needs based on the data, and then use the data to justify their requests for staffing or state funding. Providing data that proves an increase in traffic in a student union justifies the need for more funding for computers, printers, weight machines, chairs, plates or anything else the building offers. It can also justify the need for additional employees to serve more food, give more tours, etc.
  • With an increased amount of students using a fixed amount of resources, a school’s budget is bound to tighten. However, if people counting hardware is installed in the student union, the sensors will pick up on the increase in trafficking. This data ensures that student union resources don’t get the axe when it comes time to make budget cuts.

Student centers and unions at Boise State University, Eastern Michigan University, Florida State University, Louisiana State University, Ohio State University, University of Arizona, University of Utah and University of Wisconsin currently use people counting hardware in their buildings. And your school could be next.

While reading and analyzing data reports sounds like a lot of work, it isn’t. You do not have to manually generate the reports; you can have them sent to you every week or month. The initial amount of money and time spent buying and using the hardware is well worth the eventual benefits.

People Counting Systems: The Secret to Raising Retail Conversion Rates

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Simply tracking your store’s sales isn’t enough. Retail managers and store-owners also need to know how many customers are leaving the store without making purchases.

Counting customers can help determine the relationship between the number of visitors and the number of purchases in a store – or the conversion rates – and, ultimately, how to strengthen that relationship.

Low conversion rates could suggest that visitors aren’t happy with the product or the pricing, among other problems. That’s where counting comes in. People counting hardware allows retail managers and store-owners to get to know their customers – what they like and dislike.

The data obtained answers questions like:
– Which days of the week have the most trafficking?
– Which days have the least?
– Was there an increase in trafficking during a sale or promotion period?

And with these answers, managers can see what is and isn’t working in their stores and adapt accordingly. The equipment can work wonders in three ways:

  1. You won’t find yourself over- or understaffed. Knowing your store’s busy and slow days will help you optimize labor while scheduling. For example, on the days that the store usually sees the least amount of visitors, employees can maintain productivity by cleaning, performing maintenance tasks, or unloading a new shipment of products. You won’t have to put maintenance tasks on a back burner during your busy days.
  2. You can discover the best ways reach your customers. Measuring your customers’ response to advertisements with retail counting hardware will tell you which medium of communication is most effective. For example, customers without a newspaper subscription aren’t likely to respond to an ad in the local paper. Knowing how to reach them will make your promotions translate to traffic.
  3. You will never make the same mistakes twice. Having an understanding of what your customers prefer will keep you from taking risks in your business ventures. Say goodbye to poor returns on investments. You can integrate traffic data obtained from people counting hardware into your overall marketing and advertising plans and measure traffic to support project funding.

Trafficking sensors comes in several forms – overhead, horizontal, wireless, bi- and uni-directional, and thermal. They can detect customers from all angles, no matter the size or scope of a store. Many models are web-compatible, making it easy to view and store the data.

People counting hardware is an invaluable tool that not only saves money by minimizing store costs, but makes money by maximizing profits.

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Why Should I Measure Foot Traffic? (And Other Frequently Asked Questions)

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  3. June

Today, customers have more choices about where to shop—both in-store and online–than ever before, so business owners need to have better insight when it comes to planning a new location, advertising campaign, staff scheduling and security.

It used to be enough to ask people, “how did you hear about us?” to gauge the effectiveness of a promotion or a new store opening. But as shoppers’ habits evolve, and word-of-mouth recommendations, showrooming and other variables come into play, it’s clear that asking people that golden question just isn’t going to cut it anymore. Knowing where, when and why customers are shopping can go a long way to helping business owners and managers make smarter choices about how they allocate their resources.

Not convinced? Have some questions? The Traf-Sys team is prepared to help. Below, please find some of the most frequently asked questions about people counters and why they are a smart addition to any business.

Q: Why should I measure foot traffic?

A: Counting visitors is invaluable for any business. Retailers can use their transactions as a baseline to see how many opportunities could be converted into sales. Libraries, museums, government or not-for-profit entities can use the counting statistics to manage their facilities and support funding requests and expansion plans.

Q: Will an automated system count my employees, and other non-customers? Does this affect how I look at my traffic statistics?

A: Yes. These non-customers will be built into the counting statistics, so your numbers will contain an error rate. This is why it is important to focus on the baseline in the numbers and the change in the statistics over time. Usually the error rate is a small percentage of the total, it is constant and affects all businesses.

Q: Do I need to divide my traffic statistics by two to get an accurate count of how many people came into my facility?

A: If you are using directional sensors, then they will correctly register you as an IN or OUT count. With these smart sensors, no dividing by two is necessary!

If you are using a uni-directional sensor, which does not know the direction of the person when it records a count, then you can set up the VisiCount software to automatically divide the counts by two.

Q: I have done a test where we manually counted for an hour, but our results are different from the VisiCount reports. Why are the results different?

A: It’s not a good idea to directly compare system counts to manual counts, because there will always be some delay in the system from when a sensor records a count to when it is published in the VisiCount software. As a result, late counts in a current hour may appear in the next hour on the reports. Also, if the system time is not on the same clock as the manual tester, a few seconds difference can mean two different explanations of when counts occurred.

Instead, try a live data test. Watch the counts in real time to ensure the system is correctly counting people coming in or going out.

Contact Traf-Sys Support for instructions.