Retail Counting Systems: Understanding Technology Options before You Purchase

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Retail counting systems collect invaluable information for your establishment. If you are a business owner looking to install a retail counting system within your store, you have several options to choose from. However, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of each option against your business’s needs.

Keep your facility in mind as you scroll down through the various options. Do you have wide entrances? Do you have high-density traffic flowing through your store? What types of doors do you have at your entrances? Swinging? Spinning? All of this is going to make a difference when you decide which retail counting system is optimal for you.

1. Horizontal Wired/Wireless Retail Counting Systems

There are a variety of horizontal wired and wireless retail counting systems available. A horizontal retail counting system is installed in your store’s entrances and casts a horizontal infrared beam across the doorway.

Pros for these Horizontal Retail Counting Systems:

  • They are quick and easy to install
  • They are less pricey than their overhead retail counting system counterparts
  • Wireless options have a lithium battery that can last up to two years

Cons for the Horizontal Retail Counting Systems:

  • Limited directional counts
  • If you have wide entrances and a high density of people moving through them, these horizontal beams lose a great deal of accuracy
  • May potentially become blocked by people standing in entrances or entrance displays
  • Cannot distinguish between customers who are entering and customers who are leaving

Horizontal retail counting systems are ideal for small businesses with narrow doorways and low traffic density. They are an affordable option that will allow business owners to make better informed business decisions.

2. Overhead Retail Counting Systems

If you are looking for a little more functionality in your retail counting system, consider overhead sensors. Overhead retail counting systems are mounted on the ceiling of your facility anywhere you please. You can use them to determine how many people are coming through your entrances and when.

Pros for the Overhead Retail Counting Systems:

Thermal Overhead Sensors:

  • These sensors gather multi-directional information
  • They are not affected by ambient lighting
  • They can count in complete darkness
  • Over 98% accuracy rate
  • Able to cover wide entrances
  • Wireless ranges can be extended with repeaters

Video-Based Overhead Sensors:

  • Able to handle wide areas with multiple units
  • Upgradeable software
  • Supports remote video capture for accuracy
  • Data is safely stored in the event of a power outage
  • Adjusts to changes in lighting, and temperature
  • Filters carts, children, and strollers
  • Flash memory stores up to 10 days of data

Cons for Overhead Retail Counting Systems

Thermal Overhead Sensors:

  • Costlier than other systems
  • Lower field of vision than video systems
  • Affected by external weather conditions
  • Takes a good amount of training to use properly

Video-Based Overhead Sensors:

  • Costlier than infrared bream systems
  • Lower lifetime and higher power use than thermal systems
  • May require PCs that are not fully embedded
  • Complex installation
  • Counting accuracy can be affected by shadows, background, and varying levels of light

Overhead sensors are ideal for business owners who are looking to invest in a retail counting solution that will bring them a bountiful ROI. These systems will ensure that you have the counting accuracy that you need to make the best possible business decisions regarding your store layout and labor scheduling.

Whatever your business needs are, knowing your facility, your budget, and the options available to you will allow you to choose the correct retail counting system solution.

How Understanding Retail Store Traffic Flow Can Improve Conversion

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Use Store Traffic Data To Make Well-Informed Decisions

The layout of your store has an immediate effect on your shoppers – your retail store’s layout determines the way that traffic flows through your establishment. The better you understand retail store traffic, the more effective your store layout will be. Additionally, research indicates that stores that are laid out well have an increase in sales conversions.

People counters are instrumental in determining the strengths and weaknesses of your store layout. The data that people counters collect will allow you to comprehend your retail store traffic on a higher level and allow you to make better-informed informed business decisions.

How many people are entering your store?

People counters placed at your store entrances will not only tell you how many people are entering your establishment, they will also indicate which hours of the day, days of the week, and times of year that your store is busiest. This information will allow you to more efficiently schedule your employees.  Knowing which entrances are most commonly used by your shoppers will also help you to plan out your entrance displays strategically.

Which entrances are they using?

Remember, you’re not going to want to place all of your store promotional information at the busiest entrance of the store. Customers need a moment to adjust to your store’s atmosphere. Entrance displays should consist of reasonably priced items so customers aren’t immediately discouraged by the impression that your store may cost them an arm and a leg.

How successful are your promotions? Where should you place them?

The direction of your retail store traffic affects how successful in-store promotions are. People counters placed within each section of your establishment will show you hot and cold spots within your store.  Promotions placed in retail hot-spots tend to be more successful than those placed in spots that don’t have the same high level of traffic.

How can you use this information to improve the layout of your store and increase sales conversions?

Understanding your store’s flow of traffic will allow you to improve your store layout and ultimately your conversion rate. There are a few key things that are vital to take into consideration when thinking about your store’s layout.

  • 90% of people are right-handed, which also means they are right-footed. When people enter your store, they are more likely to turn right and work their way around your establishment in a counter-clockwise fashion.
  • Aisle width: Wide aisles encourage customers to power-walk through them to their intended destination. Narrow aisles encourage customer browsing and will increase impulse buys.
  • However, extremely narrow aisles may get clogged and will make customers exit your store. It is important to find a balance that fits your available space.  Narrow aisles could also difficult for people counters to properly count customers.
  • High traffic areas and low traffic areas: Promotions will be most successful in high traffic areas of your establishment. Consider placing high-profit items in busy areas and high demand items in low retail store traffic areas, such as at the back of your store. This will help draw customers all the way through your establishment. A greater number of sales associates available to assist customers may be required in these high traffic areas as well.

People counters will assist you in understanding retail store traffic in your establishment. Once you have a better understanding of how the retail store traffic flows through your establishment, you will be in a better position to make well-informed business decisions. These well-informed business decisions will lead to an increase in your sale conversion rates.

The Benefits of Installing Wireless People Counters

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If you’re a business owner looking to install some kind of people counting system, consider purchasing a wireless people counter. The benefits that wireless counting provide are various. Traffic retail counting solutions have been proven valuable time and time again for making well-informed business decisions regarding your store layout and key staff scheduling times. If you look into installing wirelessly, you’ll find additional benefits available to you.

1. Impractical or impossible wiring?

Consider your business’s facility. What’s your electrical wiring situation like? If you are housed in an older facility, it may be a bit of a mess. If so, the thought of installing a traffic counting system that needs to be wired into your facility may seem not only impractical, but also impossible.

Wireless people counters are ideal for facilities with complex wiring. Our wireless people counters are designed for flexibility, enabling a quick and easy installation on walls or doorframes.  Additionally, they run on a lithium battery that has a lifespan of about a year.

2. Temporary counting and pilot testing

Maybe you’ve heard a lot about what traffic counting systems can do for your business or organization and want to test it out before purchase. Or, maybe your organization needs to collect short-term program participation data and you are looking for a temporary counting solution.

In both cases, the wireless people counter option is ideal. The units are affordable, small and lightweight. They can be mounted to a wall or doorframe, and installation is quick and easy. You will be gathering your data in no time and with no hassle.

If you are pilot testing your wireless people counter, you will be making better informed business decisions by the end of your first day of testing. If you are using your wireless people counter for temporary solutions such as efficient counting of your organization’s program attendees, then there will be no need for the stressful shuffle of additional paperwork. Simply check the LCD screen at the end of your program and it will give you your program attendance data.

3. Do you have existing wired systems, but need additional counters to account for growth?

Imagine that your business is very successful. You’ve been using a wired retail traffic counting system for some time to your benefit and it’s working so well that you need to add new entrances to your existing business, or additional business locations to serve an ever growing customer base. Surely, wireless people counters are out of the question because you already have a wired system in place, right?

Wrong.  There are wireless people counters that are designed so flexibly that they can be integrated into your existing wireless system. You can begin collecting valuable data at your new entrances and locations in no time.

With their quick and easy install, flexible design, long battery life, and absolutely no need for any kind of electrical wiring, wireless people counters may be the solution for you.

4. Flexible mounting options

No matter what the entrances to your store are like, wireless people counters offer flexible mounting options. Mount them in doorframes or on the wall. Mount them in all of your entrances and in separate sections of your store.

Flexible mounting options allow you to experiment with different store layouts until you figure out which one is the best for you.  In addition to placing them in your entrances, place them throughout your store. Find out which sections are getting the most foot traffic and which are getting the least. You’ll get a better idea of what you need to do to draw traffic through your store, such as placing high demand items towards the back of your store to draw customers all the way through your displays and aisles.

5. Cost effective option

Wireless people counting sensors are reasonably priced and are a less expensive investment than wired counters. You won’t be missing out on the opportunity costs associated with closing your store to rewire, but you’ll still have access to valuable data that can help you reduce costs and improve sales.

For example, you’ll be able to create a profile of high and low traffic periods. Identifying these trends will allow you to staff your store appropriately based on customer demand. Paying employees is expensive, so having the optimal number of employees on staff helps improve your bottom line.

Understanding your staffing needs with wireless people counting sensors also improves customer service capabilities. If you recognize higher trafficked periods and have more staff available, customers will be able to find the help they need and be able to efficiently checkout.

Places to Install Wireless People Counters 

Hardwiring a new people counter into your establishment is not always a feasible option. Fortunately, there are wireless people counter options available that provide the same basic benefits as wired people counters.  What’s more, wireless people counters are energy-efficient, which keeps your electricity bill down, and they can be installed easily and almost anywhere without you having to worry about outlets or power sources being nearby. Here are three places you absolutely need a wireless people counter.

Small Libraries

Libraries often rely on funding to keep operations flowing, and this boils down to being able to prove your library is a well-utilized community resource. People counters can provide you with an accurate number of visitors per day, which can be used when presenting your case for why your library needs funding. For libraries that have a tighter budget to work with, wireless people counters are ideal because not only do they keep electricity bills low, they are vital to helping libraries make better cases for funding. Additionally, for whatever reason, the library layout just may not be conducive to a wired counting system and when this happens, a wireless counter really is the only way to go.

Visitor Centers

To accurately monitor traffic in visitor centers, multiple people counters should be used. Visitor centers often have several different key “destination” areas that people can visit. In order to determine traffic flow through your center for promotional or other reasons, it’s essential to have a people counter placed in each “destination” area to determine how many people walk through the area on a daily basis. Sometimes it’s not possible to install a wired counter in every area because, for whatever reason, it’s just not technically feasible. For this reason, wireless people counters are a must.

Additionally, visitor centers also run on funding like libraries do. Installing overhead, wired people counters could cause your visitor center to close for construction. However, accurate, bidirectional, wireless people counters can be installed quickly and easily, generating accurate numbers on how often your visitor center is used when applying for funding.

Small Niche Shops

When running a business that targets a niche audience, business is not expected to be booming. For this reason, keeping your store hours centered on times when business is highest is important when you are on a small budget. Wireless people counters will track the times of day you receive the most business, allowing you to center your store hours on these times. This will save on labor costs by preventing overstaffing when there is little or no business, as well as understaffing during hours when you are swamped.

Wireless people counters are lightweight, versatile, accurate, and ideal for environments or facilities where installing wired people counters are not an option. Additionally, they are also easy to install and can make or break an establishment that relies on outside funding. Utilizing a wireless people counter correctly answers a lot of questions about how much traffic your business is seeing and what time of day it is occurring, in turn allowing you to make better business decisions and optimize your business for success.

Learn More About Wireless People Counting Systems

In the long run, installing wireless people counting sensors is an easy solution that will improve your business management while still remaining cost effective. Contact Traf-Sys today to get a free quote for a wireless people counting system.