How People Counting Can Help Mobile Phone Stores

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Today, the mobile phone business is booming. People are relying exclusively on cell phones, eliminating land lines all together. More and more users are upgrading to smartphones, or upgrading their current smartphone to the newest model, and shopping for the plans that best fit their ever-growing data usage needs. As people use their phones for more and more daily activities, like social networking, music and entertainment, photography and thousands of application-specific programs, the mobile sector of retail continues to grow.

On the user side: Users are very attached to their smartphones. It’s the way they communicate with immediate friends and family; stay in touch with acquaintances; read the news; set their alarms each night before bed; plan their days, weeks and months; keep track of their bank accounts; look up maps and directions – and so on. In a smartphone user’s life, their device can play a role as big as their car or computer. Without it, they would be lost. That’s why it is important to them that they receive the best service possible when looking to repair or upgrade.

On the store side: Competition is fierce in the mobile retail sector. Each cell phone carrier strives to give their customers better service and support than the next, because one bad experience could be the reason that a user makes the switch to another carrier. Because of this competitiveness, mobile phone stores should strive to ensure that they can provide each customer who comes into the store with quick and helpful service.

Here’s how people counting can help mobile phone stores ensure the best service possible:

1. Assessing promotions
As new mobile phone models are released almost monthly, new promotions are constantly being created. How do you know which ones were worth your investment? A people counting system will allow you to assess the amount of traffic and sales obtained in the context of media money spent on the promotional campaign in question. With that information, you can determine if a promotion was a worthwhile business venture or not and whether or not to do it again. Using a people counting system to glean this information will keep you from making the same marketing mistakes more than once.

2. Optimizing staff scheduling
It’s happened to almost all of us – we’ve gone to a mobile phone store with a simple question or need, but walked in to find a crowded room and a half-hour wait time. For some users a broken phone is just as a bad as a broken bone, so speedy service can be as important as it is in the emergency room. An adequate shopper-to-associate ratio will keep lines moving and speed up service times. But how do you know how many associates are needed at a given time? Traffic history allows mobile phone store managers to forecast their busiest days and seasons – the difference in numbers between Christmas, Valentine’s Day and back-to-school – and keep an optimal shopper-to-associate ratio during peak periods. That way, employees can make sure they provide quick and helpful service and eliminate long wait times.

3. Tracking visitor-to-sales conversion over time
When the corporate office assesses your store’s performance, will it be known for its selling capabilities? When customers compare your store to your competitor’s, will they say your service is above par? Because of the competitiveness factor, mobile phone stores should account for each customer who comes into the store and, based on those numbers, improve their conversion rates – the amount of foot traffic divided by the amount of sales transactions. Working to raise your conversion rates through improved customer service and increased sales could make a difference in the way your store is perceived by both customers and corporate officials.
According to a 2013 study by Qualcomm, 34 percent of respondents said they could only go a few hours without their mobile phone. So when a customer enters your mobile phone store with a broken phone, they will most likely be very anxious to leave the store with a new or fixed device. People counting systems ensure that their experience is a quick and helpful one – and that they choose your store every time.

Traf-Sys has supplied people counting systems to well-known names in the mobile phone industry, such as Sprint, CellularOne, Viaero Wireless and Wireless Zone.

Traf-Sys People Counting Solutions Featured In Jewelry Industry’s InStore Magazine

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  2. 2013
  3. August

InStoreMag.comTraf-Sys Inc. supplies people counting solutions to major jewelry retailers such as Pandora and Alex+Ani, and was featured on this month in an article about customer counting. InStore is a print and online magazine featuring the latest news, stories and tips in the retail industry. Written by Josh Wimmer, the article discusses different models of traffic counters and the benefits they can bring to retailers.

The article suggests that people counting systems are more cost efficient than just using traditional point of sale systems, as they are less expensive and provide more informed sales insight. However, as with most technology, the more you pay the better the quality of your customer counting system.

“The least expensive counters require you to walk over and manually write down the counts,” Chris Wadsworth, Traf-Sys Inc.’s President noted in the article. “A lot of stores see value in spending a bit more for an automated system that transmits counts to their computer wirelessly.”

Wadsworth recognizes that aspect of his clients’ needs. Traf-Sys traffic counters offer seamless integration with retail point of sale systems.

In addition to costs, Wadsworth also offered InStore readers advice on counter models. He explained that entrance layouts play a part in choosing the right counter for a retail store.

“What type of counter you use depends on how many entrances you have and how wide they are,” he said. “If you have a wide entrance, more than one person can walk through at a time, which throws off your count with some of the technologies.”

The article highlighted the Traf-Sys IP Thermal Sensor, explaining that it can be tailored to each retailer’s unique entrance for optimum accuracy. Wimmer mentioned that it can be combined with other sensors for wider areas. Traf-Sys also offers video, dual view, horizontal, bidirectional and unidirectional people counters in order for retailers to choose the correct hardware for their entrance.

Wimmer showcased Brian Toone of the Jewelry Design Center in Washington, who installed an infrared beam – like Traf-Sys’s IP-Connnected, Dual View and Wireless Thermal Sensor options – over the front entrance of his store. This allows him to receive deliveries through his employee-only entrance in the back of the store without interfering with his traffic count.

“It helps you plan vacation time,” Toone said of his infrared people counter. “It helps you see how effective your staffing is. It’s also nice for parties; it gives you a count. RSVPs are never very accurate.”

Why All Libraries Need People Counting Systems

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With the emergence of eBooks and eReaders, it’s important for libraries to ditch the Dark Ages and embrace the digital age. What started as just a building full of books is now a community resource center with computer labs. People counting systems have dual purpose in the digital takeover – they not only provide libraries with a technologically advanced way to keep records, but also provide them with hard facts to use in requests for additional technology.

According to a 2012 study by the American Library Association (ALA), Americans spend nearly three times as much on candy as they do on public libraries. They spend $35.81 a year for the public library—about the average cost of one hardcover book. And college libraries receive just less than three cents of every dollar spent on higher education, while school libraries spend an average of $12.06 per student on library media. In short, libraries don’t generate much revenue.

And although libraries typically have tight budgets, they must remain a reliable community resource. According to ALA , nearly 89 percent of public library outlets offer wireless Internet access. Also, research shows the highest achieving students attend schools with well-staffed and well-funded libraries. In a 2012 poll, 94 percent of respondents agreed that public libraries play an important role in giving everyone a chance to succeed because they provide free access to materials and resources.

In this study and others, there are plenty of statistics about the number of books checked out and the amount spent, but there are hardly any about the amount of people who use these facilities. With limited funding and an unknown amount of patrons, library workers are bound to have a tough time allocating their time and money. It’s difficult to figure the amount of services needed if they don’t know how many people need them.

People counting systems allow libraries to combat increasing financial pressures by providing them with information that can act as a foundation for their labor, budget, and service requests. Door counters can produce data reports of the amount of patrons who enter the library on a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis. With adequate staffing, funding and resource, a library can better support its community and bridge the digital divide.

In school and public libraries, a people counting system can streamline the following functions:

  1.  Keep in compliance – Library workers can report yearly statistics to the state as needed. They can stay within budget restrictions by maintaining labor percentages or limiting technology usage.
  2. Make cases to administration – With people counting data, libraries can share impressive numbers with elected officials or board members to prove their need for increased or decreased hours of operation and additional staffing, technology or services. They can prove that usage has increased, even if circulation is down. By installing a door counter above the computer lab, libraries can use traffic numbers to gauge their building’s technology usage. They can increase or decrease the amount of technology available based on accurate data.
  3. Make informed business decisions – Door counters allow libraries to learn which entrances are used most and which rooms and times are the busiest. With this knowledge, they can guide the placement and timing of cafes, refreshments, kiosks, exhibits, guest speakers, study groups, etc. Accurate people counts are also a way for libraries to increase their awareness of how many people are using services but not checking out material.

When libraries are able to justify requests for new or updated technology, they can prove the necessity of their facility to the community. They can show that they are still a valuable resource in an age where Kindles and tablets are common household objects. As libraries go digital, knowing the amount of people who enter and exit the building is becoming much more important than knowing the amount of books that are being checked out. People counting systems are able to provide more information, and in turn, more services.