Empowering Gaming Destinations with People Counting Technology

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  2. 2014
  3. August

people counting technologyWhile casino-goers hope for a winning streak at any of the hundreds of gaming facilities in the US, it’s not all fun and games internally. Casinos have been hit hard by the recent recession and they’ve been slow to recover as people are visiting less, taking fewer risks and playing it safe by cashing in sooner.

The dwindling cash flow means casinos have to be smart about where they focus their resources, but it’s not easy. Most casinos are open around the clock, so there are enormous staffing needs, food and beverage considerations, continuous marketing campaigns and the expense of printed materials.

In order to maintain a high level of visibility, many casinos employ people counting technology. Knowing how many people are visiting is important, but the statistics this technology provides can be invaluable when working with a 24/7 operation. People counters can tell you which games and tables are top draws and which attractions are always full, which can help casinos understand what strategies are working, where they should invest more energy into promotions and where they should be seeking opportunities for expansion.

Not convinced yet? Let’s take a closer look at how people counting technology can help casinos stay in the black—literally.

Gauge interest in gaming: Using people counting technology, casinos know the number of overall visitors and have the option to break it down into daily, monthly and yearly visitors. People counting can also help casinos maximize interest and revenue. Mapping traffic flow can ensure casinos have the best floor layout and an effective and profitable mix of slots and games. This system can also generate statistics on how many people are visiting gaming areas and attractions to assist with staffing needs.

Assess attractions: People counting technology at resorts that offer attractions like restaurants, shows and spas can give casino owners insight into where people are dining and other popular venues at the resort. The numbers don’t lie, so owners can fairly assess which areas are meeting expectations and which ones need more attention. By identifying low-performing attractions or venues, casino ownership can refocus their marketing and public relations teams on the areas that need to attract more traffic. People counting can also identify high-performing games and attractions so the appropriate resources are allocated to them to ensure they run smoothly.

Compare performance: Casino chains with multiple locations can compare the performance of its different outposts. People counting can identify which locations are drawing more foot traffic, determine which marketing campaigns actually generated the desired response by pinpointing a spike in visitors, gaming activity or other purchases and analyze revenue patterns and maximize profits.

Allocate resources effectively: Being open 24/7 means expenses that never end. There is no downtime, so knowing which areas of the casino are the busiest during certain shifts helps ensure they are sufficiently staffed. People counting will tell you which days and times are the busiest, so casino owners know which areas need more resources and which ones are overstaffed. Knowing where and when to allocate security staff, maintenance workers, servers and gaming personnel means less waste and better planning for peak shifts.

People Counting Software: Four Key Performance Indicators Retailers Should Pay Attention To

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  2. 2014
  3. August

people counting softwareA steady decline in foot traffic over a given period will result in decreased sales in about 13 months. It’s important to know how many people are coming into your store and why they are choosing to shop there as opposed to another similar business. People counting software and its related performance indicators can help shine a light on how many people are walking through the doors, what they are looking for and why they chose your store or location over another.

Here are four key performance indicators you should incorporate into your business/people counting metrics:

The effectiveness of promotions at generating store traffic

Promotions, customer loyalty programs and coupons can all go a long way to maintaining your customer base, but it’s important to be able to gauge what’s resonating with your target audience and what’s missing the mark. One published report said that a promotion that resulted in a 7 percent increase in total sales can be considered successful.  If the promotion reports a boost in foot traffic alone, it’s time to reevaluate that effort because it’s not yielding additional sales. By using people counting software to calculate how much foot traffic and sales increase during a promotional period, business owners can optimize their advertising and marketing budgets to focus on the initiatives that have a proven track record of success.

Conversion rate

As we said in the previous example, getting people in the door is great, but it doesn’t pay the bills. Many people who come through the doors are “just looking,” and leave without making a purchase. The traffic counts from your people counting software, combined with the sales data, can be used as a conversion rate. A conversion rate is a comparison of how many people came into the store and made a purchase against how many left empty-handed.

This is an important indicator of your business’ performance day-to-day, week-to-week and year-to-year. If sales are down, the conversion rate can tell you if it’s a result of a decline in foot traffic.  If foot traffic hasn’t changed, the conversion rate will show that traffic is no longer leading to sales. These numbers can also be compared for a multi-store chain or to measure the effectiveness of a promotional campaign.

Observe customer traffic flow and entrance use

It would take a fleet of employees to monitor all of the entrances of a larger store from open to close. Week after week, it would get quite expensive to employ people just to monitor the entrances and the variables that affect which doors people use. For example, on a rainy day, more people may use the door closest to the parking lot, while a sale in another department may draw more shoppers through the door closest to that area. People counting software is the same thing as employing teams of doormen, but it’s more cost effective, never calls in sick and is always accurate

Monitor customer visits to optimize labor planning

Stores and restaurants that are short-staffed during the busiest times have harried, frazzled staff that are prone to making mistakes. These mistakes could cost the business time, money and employee morale, so smart scheduling to ensure proper coverage is ideal. But you also want to avoid having so many people scheduled during a shift that there’s not enough work to go around. Staff is one of the biggest expenses a business has, so use it smartly. People counting software can help calculate a shopper to staff ratio to make sure no single employee is overburdened with tasks.

These four performance indicators can help owners gain a better understanding of their businesses.  In order to benefit from a people counting system, you must be looking for the right things.  Paying attention to the ebb and flow of traffic can help owners learn how and why certain promotions work while others don’t.

How to Select the Right Type of Customer Counter for Your Business

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  2. 2014
  3. August

customer counterSo you’ve decided to take the plunge into customer counting! There are many options to choose from, so take a deep breath and don’t get overwhelmed.  As the name implies, customer counters count the people who enter and exit your store. They can also be used in municipal buildings, libraries and universities.

People counting software can enhance your results by adding in variables that are expected to impact the days’ counts such as sales transactions, special events, weather conditions, extended hours and promotions. All of this data can be combined and analyzed to help business owners make decisions regarding staffing, marketing, advertising and placement of merchandise.

Ask yourself the following questions before choosing the customer counter that best fits your needs:

  • What does my store’s entrance look like?
  • How wide is the entrance?
  • Do I want daily traffic counts or shorter intervals?
  • Can shoppers browse in the entryway?
  • Is there a power source in the entrance of my store?

Horizontal Counters

Horizontal customer counters are best suited for less busy entrances. Of all the counters available, horizontal sensors are the least expensive, but they are also less accurate. The sensors are installed on both sides of a doorway, so people who cross the counter’s beam in a crowd will be blocked from the sensor’s view. For example, if ten people walk through the door, the system may only count eight people. If your entrance is a high-traffic area, a horizontal counter will need to be used in combination with some additional metrics to compensate for the margin of error.

The wider your store’s entrance is, the more space there is for crowds. More crowds means less accuracy, so the horizontal counter is only recommended for entrances up to 15 feet wide—and only if you don’t have a high-density entryway. Additionally, a horizontal counter will require the door only swing one way—out—because a door that swings in will block the beam.

Directional Counters

A directional counter will count people as they enter and leave the store. These customer counters will tell you how many people have entered the store and how long they stay. Bi-directional sensors can provide hourly customer counts and can help you gauge a customer’s intentions. Are they just passing through? Did they come with a list or are they in the mood to browse? Directional counters can not only reveal what time people are coming to the store and what days are the busiest, but also what shoppers’ habits are when they come to the store.

Overhead Counters

Overhead counters are the most accurate type of customer counter. They are usually installed in the ceiling and look down at the people walking through the entrance, so no one can be blocked from the sensor’s view. Stores with merchandise in the entryway will likely want an overhead counter that can monitor everyone who comes in and out without issue. These types of sensors often require a power source for operation. Before getting started, make sure you have power and a wireless connection available if you will be using thermal or recording options.

Customer counters can greatly increase an owner’s understanding of his/her customer base.  However, accuracy greatly depends on the type of counter selected.  Don’t ignore the setup of your store, and don’t automatically go for the cheapest or most expensive option.  With the right customer counter, you can make better staffing, marketing, and advertising decisions.