How a Retail Traffic Counter Can Improve Customer Service

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  2. 2014
  3. September

Customer service is one of the top factors people consider when they decide whether or not to visit your store. The RightNow Customer Experience Impact Report notes that “89% of consumers have stopped doing business with a company after experiencing poor customer service.” A second statistic, from Parature, says that “it takes 12 positive customer experiences to make up for one negative experience.”

Tough competition

There’s more competition than ever before and the stakes have never been higher—it’s predicted that by 2016, Americans will spend over $325 billion online.  Online-only retailers are growing their market share leaps and bounds because they  don’t have the overhead of operating a B&M location and can offer rock-bottom prices on products delivered right to your door. This can be hard to resist, so stores are fighting back with improved loyalty plans, digital signage and omni-channel marketing.

The customer is still always right

Despite all of these technological advances, the customer is still king and it’s the face-to-face interaction in-store that will largely determine whether or a not a shopper returns. And as shoppers look to buy more and more products online, retailers are investing more resources to ensure that every customer service interaction is a good one.

Much of customer service begins with staffing and understanding the busiest times. You don’t want to be the retailer where the checkout lines are always long and people are frustrated because there’s no one on the floor to help them.

At its most basic level, retail traffic counters can tell retailers how many people are visiting the store and how long they are staying. Retailers may also employ these counters around the store to determine what the busiest departments are, and if more staff is needed at changing rooms.

Using a retail traffic counter helps to optimize a retailer’s staffing so there are enough employees on-hand during the busiest shifts and ensures you are not wasting money by having too many people on the floor during slower times.

Lost in Aisle 5

Another common complaint you may hear is that “I can never find anything!” If you have a retail traffic counter and you use it in conjunction with your point of sale system, you can identify what the hot selling items are and place those displays front and center so people aren’t wandering around aimlessly searching for a certain product.

Retail traffic counters can also determine what areas people are visiting  around the store and assist with the planning and resetting of displays. By evaluating the way people traverse your store, you can see which pathways are the most frequented, which areas are underutilized and where there may be issues like crowding.

Retail traffic counters help keep eyes on nearly every aspect of your retail store. Gathering these analytics can help you make the changes for a better, faster and more pleasant customer experience at your business.

Do Universities Need People Counting Software?

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  2. 2014
  3. September

Public colleges and universities across the country have been seeing their budgets slashed.  Last year, nearly every state in the US spent about 28 percent less on their institutions of higher learning than they did in 2008. Arizona and New Hampshire cut their funding in half, while 11 states cut it by a third. These cuts have forced public institutions to raise their tuition and make other changes that undermine the quality of their course offerings.

Despite these reductions, public colleges and universities have seen their enrollment rise by 1.3 million students since 2008. Many of these institutions, including the “public ivies,” have reputations and rankings to maintain, so they are trying to find new ways to provide a high level of value and services for their growing enrollment.

Everywhere you look, public entities—libraries, schools, government buildings and more–are talking about cutting back. Cutbacks are inevitable, but it can be done in a way that lessens the impact.

People counting software can help universities to make the most out of their budgets by identifying underused amenities.  Why use people counting software? There are four main reasons: visibility, space, value and budget.

  1. Visibility: Students and faculty may drift in and out of student unions and libraries during the day to eat, meet with friends or study. People counting software allows universities to see how many visit there, regardless of whether they make a purchase or not, so the proper amount of resources can be allocated. An accurate count reduces waste of food, supplies, power and more.
  2. Space: Space accounts for 20 percent of an educational institution’s budget. Efforts to expand or reorganize need to be carefully evaluated, so people counting software can help conduct an audit of a building’s usage. Installing counters above doors and hallways can provide actual traffic numbers that can help determine what space is over-or under-utilized, how students and staff flow through the space, if it needs to be reorganized and where more resources should be spent.
  3. Value:  Tallying traffic counts help university buildings and organizations prove they are providing value to students and show they are a sought-after campus resource. First impressions of a university’s buildings and infrastructure are a major factor in where a student decides to attend school.  People counting software can help track a shift in student foot traffic, indicating an opinion about a change in hours, customer service or resources. In addition, when it comes time to trim the budget, people counts can help pinpoint underutilized buildings or organizations that can be considered for downsizing.
  4. Budget:  People counting software provides the most accurate data to determine the ebb and flow of each building, so managers can keep the property running at optimal efficiency. They can reduce the hours as necessary and extend them during peak times. Having this information on hand allows colleges to only spend what they need to rather than having a flood of staff on the clock at all hours.

Counting People Can Maximize Store Potential

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  2. 2014
  3. September

Counting people can tell someone a lot about a business, especially when it comes to marketing and customer service. At the very basic level, you can assume that a store with a high or steady level of foot traffic must be doing something right: its advertising draws people in, shoppers know they can find what they are looking for, or the staff is knowledgeable and friendly.

The basics

Understanding why people continue to shop at a store comes back to counting people. You can ask customers to fill out surveys, but chances are that they won’t or you’ll only hear from someone when they have a bad experience. Counting people provides a larger view of the “how and why” customers choose where they shop.

Conversion rates and why they matter

Knowing your traffic counts can help you realize your store’s potential by calculating the store’s conversion rate. The conversion rate is the number of people who come into the store and buy something vs. the people who leave empty handed. These rates can be calculated by month, day, shift or hours so you can focus your efforts on the times that need more attention to raise the rate.

Counting people gives you the data you need to determine the conversion rate. For example, if your holiday spending is down but the foot traffic is the same, can it be correlated with a decrease in the marketing budget for that time of year? If so, restoring the marketing dollars to previous levels could help boost sales numbers.

Conversion rates can also tell you if your store is a target for showroomers. If you have a spike in the number of people coming to the store but not buying anything, it’s possible that people are coming to your store to see merchandise in person and then buying it online for less. If this is the case, you’re losing business and you need to act fast. Retailers that are the victims of showrooming have been implementing a more omni-channel type of approach.  This offers consumers the opportunity to buy items online and pick up in-store, adding the ability to see if the item is in-stock before heading to there in person.

Where can I find…

Traffic counters aren’t just for entrances and exits. Counting people in different areas of the store can give you important feedback about a store’s layout. Customer counters can give retailers insight into where the busier areas or departments are, what areas are overcrowded and what places could benefit from more staff. A traffic counter at the checkout can alert management when more staff should be sent to the front end.  Traffic counters at fitting rooms can also help these areas work more effectively, provide a higher level of customer service and reduce the opportunity for theft.

Test new ideas

A retailer can use its traffic counts to determine which products or promotions are working best, as well as how products and promotions should be featured in the future.  Customer counters can also help retailers optimize their stock levels for certain parts of the year.