Omnichannel Marketing: Increase Your Brick-and-Mortar Customer Count

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“Omni-channel” has become an omnipresent buzzword in retailing. Its meaning may seem obvious, but as with many big, broad concepts, its applications – how retailers create an omnichannel experience for their customers – can vary dramatically from case to case.

1. What is omnichannel marketing?

Omnichannel marketing refers to the complete range of messaging, marketing, and promotional activities that are coordinated across the multiple communication platforms available today. It encompasses Web activity, mobile sites and apps, call center/telephone contacts, as well as more traditional mass media and direct mail vehicles. And last but certainly not least, it includes the in-store customer experience. After all, stores are still where the vast majority (90%, according to A.T. Kearney’s 2014 Omnichannel Shopping Preferences Study) of sales transactions occur.

Given the brick-and-mortar store’s continuing importance to retailers’ bottom line, it makes sense to understand as much as possible about the omnichannel customer’s experience there. The advanced analytics used in conjunction with today’s sophisticated traffic counting technologies can be invaluable tools for improving the effectiveness of a retailer’s omnichannel marketing efforts.

2. Utilize actionable analytics to determine customers’ in-store habits.

For retailers taking their initial steps into omnichannel activities, they should first use their traffic counting solutions to establish baseline data on store activity, so they will have solid information for future comparisons. Continuous customer counts can reveal when stores are busiest, allowing retailers to align their staffing levels with peak times. Deeper analysis of traffic patterns within a store can reveal whether different departments are over- or under-staffed, by comparing traffic data with point-of-sale transactions for various items.

3. Measure the customer experience based on data gathered.

Retailers can also measure the impact of various promotional activities by charting shopper traffic in the vicinity of promoted items. For example, if an item is strongly promoted on a retailer’s website, or it receives a large amount of digital traffic from users in a specific geographic area, brick-and-mortar stores in the region should reasonably expect an influx of foot traffic from shoppers interested in seeing, touching, or trying on the item in person.

Customer counting solutions that reveal traffic numbers heavier or lighter in specific areas can determine whether a retailer has successfully used online activity to motivate customer visits to a store. Retailers should do all they can to encourage both online and store traffic: survey after survey reveals that shoppers using two (or more) of a retailer’s channels spend more than those using only a single shopping channel.

One danger of today’s omnichannel environment is the “showrooming” phenomenon: customers who examine an item in the physical store but then choose to purchase it on their own mobile device, or via their PC or laptop when they return home. Again, customer counting data that reveals high traffic, particularly in areas featuring heavily promoted items, but without a corresponding rise in store sales of the item, can indicate customers are completing their transactions via another channel – or with a competitor.

4. Create omnichannel marketing goals based on gathered data.

Using customer counting solutions to quantify omnichannel marketing efforts requires gathering data from both existing and new sources, and carefully analyzing this information in new ways. Retailers should first set clear, easily measurable goals, and then build from there. For example, using a website to promote 20% off all sales during a limited time period at a specific store will provide a baseline measure of the motivating impact of online messaging.

Armed with such data, retailers can continuously refine their omnichannel marketing efforts to determine what combination is most effective at boosting store traffic and, even more important, increasing sales conversion rates – whether at the store itself or via their digital channels.

Gather Actionable Analytics with Customer Counters

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When it comes to the success of any business, the more informed decision maker is the winner. With customer counters, you’ll have access to analytics that will equip you with the foundational information you need to set your business apart. Your toughest questions are answered with the simple implementation of customer counters.

Are you drawing them in?

It’s easy to look up your sales for the past month in your POS system. But how do you know how many people passed up your store for another? And are more people coming in to your store this month than last? Your point of sale can’t tell you anything beyond the number of people who made purchases. Understanding why people didn’t make a purchase is just as important.

That knowledge can be hard to grasp without customer counters. These simple devices can be placed in the entrance of your store. If you know the approximate foot traffic of your location, you can compare how many people walked past your storefront and how many entered. If you’re being passed up, maybe it’s time to update your window display to include more inviting signage and products. You’ll be able to see how effective the change really is when you compare it to your baseline window conversion rate.

How long are they staying?

Now that you’ve gotten them in the door, you’ll need to know how long they’re staying. This metric will let you know if your store has an inviting atmosphere. If customers are entering and quickly leaving, there are several considerations to make. Are your employees welcoming customers? Is your store confusing and hard to navigate? Customer counters can be the clue you need to solve low sales. As you implement changes, you’ll be able to see how the time visitors spend in the store changes.

Where do they linger?

Placing customer counters throughout your store will let you know where customers tend to gather. This area is your sales sweet spot. Promotions and displays that are placed in key locations around the store can encourage visitors to make a purchase.

You’ll also be able to improve your store’s overall layout with the information from in-store customer counters. If customers never make it the full length of your store, you may want to consider putting the bestselling items towards the back, drawing them through the entire store. This provides them with the opportunity to see all of your products—which they might not have seen before.

How many of them are buying?

Again, the information your POS system provides will only get you so far. In order to harness the information in your sales conversion rate, you’ll need to know how many people entered your store total—whether they made a purchase or not.

If sales are low, but traffic is high, you can start to pinpoint the issue. For example, you might not have enough employees on staff to provide adequate customer service for all of your patrons. Customer counters can help you predict staffing needs, letting you better meet the demands of your customers.

What does it all mean?

The biggest benefit of a customer counter is that it provides you with a baseline. This information is critical to ensuring that your promotions, marketing, customer service and even store layout are facilitating an increase in sales. Take the guess work out of business decisions with customer counters.

Four Ways Overhead People Counting Sensors Deliver a Solid ROI

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Businessman Notepad Word ROI ConceptPeople counting solutions using overhead sensors, whether thermal, video-based, or a combination of the two technologies, offer a wealth of highly detailed data about your business’ day-to-day operations. For example, these sensors’ ability to distinguish between adults and children is just one way overhead sensors quickly deliver a solid return on investment.

This ROI can be measured in improvements to four key performance metrics: accurate conversion measurements; objective, repeatable tests of promotions and marketing strategies; customer traffic flow analysis; and optimized staffing levels.

Accurate Conversion Rate Measurements: Conversion rates – the percentage of all customers entering a store who actually purchase a product – are one of the most basic “vital signs” of a retailer’s health. Overhead people counting sensors, which record not just the total number of people within a store at any given time but also where they go and how long they stay, bring valuable nuance to conversion rate measurements. For example, a general rule of thumb in retail is that the longer a customer stays in the store, the more he or she is likely to buy. If your traffic data indicates customers are browsing for long periods without buying, it may indicate problems with staffing levels, the products themselves, or with how they are merchandised. If overhead people counting sensors record crowded stores without a corresponding rise in sales, it may indicate that not enough cashiers are manning point-of-sale stations at peak periods.

Testing Promotions and Marketing Strategies: The ability to measure footfall at specific points within a store makes overhead people counting sensors an essential tool for testing the effectiveness of in-store displays, promoted merchandise, and interactive technologies such as digital signage and kiosks. Retailers can use A/B testing to compare elements such as display design and placement, measuring footfall and conversion rates for display style “A” for one week, then seeing how these stack up against display style “B” the following week. Results from these tests in a pilot store can then be used to optimize promotions in other locations.

Customer Traffic Flow Analysis: Overhead people counting sensors offer objective, scientifically accurate data about traffic flow. Retailers can ensure that their store designs are having the impact they want (i.e. encouraging sales), or alert them when the opposite is occurring. For example, if a large percentage of shoppers never venture into certain areas of the store, it may make sense to move popular items further from the store’s entrance. Such a change will expose more shoppers to a fuller range of the retailer’s offerings, boosting opportunities for sales to existing customers.

Optimizing Staffing Levels: The detailed data provided by overhead people counting sensors helps retailers determine peak traffic periods both for the entire store as well as for individual departments, allowing them to fine-tune staffing levels. Retailers want enough associates on the sales floor and manning POS stations to ensure customers get the help they need and can check out easily, but not so many that associates are standing around without tasks to perform. Heavy customer traffic in a particular department that isn’t accompanied by a corresponding rise in sales may be an indication that more associates – or those with better training – are needed there in order to bring conversion rates up to a profitable level.

Overhead people counting sensors’ value stems from the detailed data they provide, which can sharpen insights into operational issues, marketing effectiveness, and ways to improve a store’s profitability potential.

Why Use Wireless People Counting Sensors?

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wireless people counting sensorsInstalling wireless people counting sensors can make capturing traffic data easier and can help you better understand your business. Wireless people counting sensors are a simple solution for a variety of business types, from retailers and restaurants to museums and libraries to casinos and more.

If you’re struggling to make business decisions about labor optimization, facility management, promotion effectiveness, and customer service, people counters can provide the foundation for making more informed decisions.  You’ll be able to measure your high and low traffic times, sales conversion rates, the effectiveness of store layout, and more.

Although there are many options available, wireless people counting sensors offer some advantages over their hardwired counterparts.

1. Avoid complicated installation

Wiring a people counting system can be a highly involved process with a lot of hidden complications. Hiring an electrician is expensive, and while they work on the installation, you will have to close your doors to customers. Complications can arise if your wiring is outdated or incompatible too, extending the process and causing you more unnecessary headaches.

Wireless people counting sensors take the stress away from the installation process. The easy-to-use sensors can be mounted in door frames or walls. The simplicity of battery operation lets you turn it on, place it anywhere, and start monitoring traffic data.

2. Various mounting options

Without power source restrictions, you’re free to place your wireless people counting sensor anywhere. These sensors offer both wall and door frame mounting capabilities, so you can place them in entrances and throughout your store.

Flexibility in mounting options will enable you to gain valuable information about what store layouts are most effective and what areas are most trafficked. Your freedom to experiment will empower you to improve the flow of customers throughout your establishment. For example, you can place high demand items near the back of the store to draw customers through all your displays. A more efficient layout can also improve customer satisfaction with improved convenience.

The mobility provided by wireless people counting sensors allows discreet placement, away from the customers view. This inconspicuous placement can also help prevent theft.

3. 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.

In the long run, installing wireless people counting sensors is an easy solution that will improve your business management while still remaining cost effective.

 

 

Four Benefits of Bidirectional People Counters

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Maximizing the returns from an investment in people counting solutions means leveraging these technologies to do much more than simply “count heads.” When used to their fullest extent, people counting systems can provide data that’s valuable both for basic business metrics such as conversion rates as well as more nuanced insights into areas ranging from staff deployments to measuring the impact of marketing programs.

A key requirement for garnering this range of business benefits is the use of bidirectional people counters, which are capable of tracking peoples’ movements in various directions. Bidirectional people counting systems (which can include both video and thermal-based sensors) reveal whether someone is entering or exiting, providing accurate customer counts at any time. Overhead sensors provide a more detailed view of traffic movement throughout a location, revealing not only how many people are in the store but also where they go, how long they stay, and what they do.

Bidirectional people counters offer benefits in four critical areas:

Measuring conversion rates accurately: Knowing the percentage of shoppers who enter a store and actually buy something is a basic retail business metric. Bidirectional people counters’ ability to detect how many people are entering and exiting at any given time allow retailers to track conversion rates in more detail, showing the impact of factors such as the time of day, how crowded the store is, and the number of sales associates and cashiers on duty.

Keeping an ongoing count of the number of people in a location: Bidirectional people counters provide the means to determine how many people are in a store from the start of the business day through to closing time. This is critical for collecting conversion rate data that can be tied to times of day or to specific events, as opposed to relatively uninformative daily or weekly averages. Measuring the fluctuations in total people counts also lets retailers determine the optimal number of customers in a given location. As a rule, more traffic is good, but too much traffic can be counterproductive: too many customers can mean crowded aisles, an insufficient number of staff to serve them, and a greater likelihood of out-of-stock situations.

Deploying staff more effectively: In larger retail locations with multiple departments, it’s critical to know not just the total number of employees needed at any given time, but where they will have the biggest impact on customer service and sales. Without bidirectional people counters’ ability to trace traffic flows and determine density patterns, this becomes a difficult task. For example, high traffic density in a department that isn’t accompanied by a corresponding rise in its products’ sales can mean there are not enough staff people to take care of customers – particularly in departments requiring high levels of customer engagement, such as cosmetics, jewelry, or home decorating.

Measuring marketing success: The detailed, minute-by-minute data about total store counts, traffic patterns, and conversion rates provided by bidirectional people counters is critical to measuring the effectiveness of both large-scale marketing programs designed to increase foot traffic, as well as individual promotions taking place within a store. Basic business metrics such as CPM (cost per thousand), the cost of reaching one thousand people or households, as well as sales per square foot, rely on accurate data in order to be useful for analysis and comparisons to previous campaigns, other stores in a chain, or to competitors’ performance.

The use of bidirectional people counting technologies allows retailers to do more than get a basic sense of their business’ health. More granular data about how many people are in their stores, where they go and how long they stay allows companies to diagnose “trouble spots” and discover the most effective cures.

How Retail People Counters Increase Profit and Reduce Expenses

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Are you having trouble making business decisions about labor optimization, facility management, promotion effectiveness, and customer service? Implementing retail people counters can help you run your business more effectively. Here’s how.

1. Labor Optimization

Retail people counters allow stores to optimize the number of employees by allowing you to track how many shoppers enter the store during specific days or times. By analyzing these traffic trends, you’ll be able to more accurately schedule employees.

With people counting systems, slower days and times can be determined, and staff can be reduced accordingly, lowering costs.

During peak hours, you can increase staff to offer customers a better shopping experience. An appropriate shopper-to-associate ratio ensures that customers can find assistance and provides staff opportunities to upsell other items.

Retail people counters allow you to see the conversion rate for sales, enabling managers to evaluate staff members’ ability to convert visitors into sales and staff peak hours with skilled associates.

2. Facility Management

Retail people counters can also help you manage everything from your facility’s location to loss prevention to security needs. Issues in these areas can be extremely costly for businesses.

Location

Looking for a new location can be a very difficult decision. Retail people counters can ease the process by providing information on the area’s foot traffic.

Realtors and landlords can sometimes offer people counting data. If they withhold it, they could be hiding information like undesirable foot traffic. This knowledge will help you move on to a new location.

Loss Prevention

Both shoplifting and organized retail crime are some of the biggest concerns for retailers. This often occurs during peak hours when key areas like the fitting room are left unattended, making it easy for shoplifters to leave with products.

Retail people counters allow managers to staff key areas during peak hours. This can help discourage theft and improve your bottom line.

Security

Similarly, retail people counters can offer facilities a way to monitor foot-traffic versus security. Knowing the most trafficked areas can help you strategically place security guards.

3. Promotion Success Assessment

Retail people counters can also insure that your investment in promotions and displays is effective and has a high return on investment (ROI).

First, retail people counters can measure trends over time. This can then be analyzed to optimize your promotion techniques. Comparing the conversion rates for two different promotions or displays can pinpoint which one is more effective.

Once this is determined, similar solutions can be implemented. Understanding visitor patterns can help retailers target their customers with displays and promotions.

The results of the new promotions and displays can be measured and any corrections or improvements can be made. These insights will help your marketing and improve conversion rates.

4. Customer Service

One of the biggest advantages of brick-and-mortar stores is their ability to offer exceptional customer service. Retail people counters provide information about customers who have entered the store. That information can be compared to point-of-sales numbers to determine how many visitors didn’t make a purchase.

High foot traffic but low sales can indicate an issue with customer service. Analyzing the ratio of employees to customers can demonstrate staffing issues. Determining peak hours with retail people counters can enable you to staff your store appropriately.

When employees engage with customers, helping them find items and upselling, they can increase brand loyalty.

Retail people counters provide data on many business aspects. By improving areas like labor optimization, facility management, promotion success assessment, and customer service, companies can see a high return on investment for implementing people counting systems.

Four Ways Counting People Fosters Gaming Growth

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counting people at gaming destinationsMore than other hospitality enterprises, gaming destinations need the detailed data that people counting technologies can provide in order to grow in a challenging economy. These large and labyrinthine establishments, often operating 24 hours a day, encompass shops, spas, theaters, bars and restaurants, as well as hotels offering both guest rooms and meeting space. Identifying where people are at any given time of the day or night, and tying this data to how they are spending their money, gives a highly accurate picture of the current state of the business – and also provides a road map for where to invest resources to maximize future growth.

Of course, the casino itself is often the big “draw” as well as the prime revenue generator. One of the most important functions of people counting technology is in gauging gaming interest. Counting people provides big-picture data on hourly, daily, monthly, and yearly volumes of casino visitors – powerful bottom-line information for the business and its stakeholders.

On a more detailed level, real-time tracking data provides the ability to recognize and respond to traffic patterns within the casino itself. Statistics on how many guests are hitting the slot machines, blackjack and poker tables, roulette and craps games, as well as more specialized VIP or sports betting areas, give casinos time-stamped insights into which games are drawing players and which are underused. Because these patterns vary by hour, day of the week and season of the year, people counting data can provide historical context to help guide decision-making about which areas to staff, and when, in order to maximize revenue generation.

Outside the casino, counting people’s movements throughout the entire destination, and tying this data to transactions in restaurants and shops as well as attendance at entertainment events, provides a detailed picture of what’s generating revenue throughout the property. For example, comparing how many people are buying drinks while playing table games versus in a restaurant can help managers identify and achieve their business goals. When people counting data reveals that attractions are underperforming, marketing and promotions can be deployed to bring them up to par.

For companies operating multiple gaming properties, incorporating people counting data can help replicate what’s working in one destination at other sites. Comparing traffic reports can help identify which areas have the greatest upside potential, even to the level of specific games and attractions. When one destination has been successful in building traffic (and revenue), the promotions and marketing activities that have been used there can be adapted elsewhere. And by comparing traffic data to revenue generation between different properties, casinos can determine which locations are attracting the “big spenders” – and brainstorm ways to boost per-guest revenues throughout their chain.

Finally, continuously counting people’s movements on a 24/7 basis provides effective guidance about staffing and resource allocation. Labor is a major cost center for any hospitality company, but it’s particularly high for gaming destinations that often operate around the clock. In addition, because busy times and places require higher levels of security to deter theft and keep guests and staff safe, people counting data reveals the key points when and where additional security personnel are likely to be needed.

These are just a few of the ways that people counting data can not only help trim wasteful spending and improve casino operations, but also help identify promising areas that could grow with investments of money, people, or promotions – or a winning combination of all three.

How College Campuses Fish for Funding with Foot Traffic Data

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foot traffic dataColleges and universities exist to provide top notch educations and once-in-a-lifetime experiences for students. However, with the recent budget cuts in higher education, that becomes increasingly difficult to do. Over the past several years, colleges and universities have been forced to raise tuition and implement changes that undermine the quality of education and experiences offered to students and potential students. Foot traffic data is an essential ally when trying to justify funding for facilities, programs, services, and classes.

Visibility:  Knowing how many students filter through campus buildings and facilities is critical to making a pitch for any kind of funding.  You can’t really know the sheer amount of foot traffic that flows through your establishment until you’ve implemented people counting solutions and gathered the foot traffic data. This data is what provides real visibility into the day in and day out visits to campus buildings and facilities, such as student unions, computer labs, and performing arts centers.

Space: As college enrollment rates continue to increase, space has become a strained resource for many colleges and universities. In order for effective teaching and learning to take place, appropriate space must be available. To allow for this, new buildings must be built and existing buildings must be expanded upon. However, to justifying funding for these additions and renovations, colleges and universities need evidence that the facility is stretched past its maximum capacity and intent.

Collecting foot traffic data is critical in conducting facility usage audits.  These reports will show that space expansion is needed and—through the identification of foot traffic patterns—will help with the design and layout of new spaces.

Value: College and university buildings, programs, and organizations are constantly trying to illustrate to administration their value as a campus resource. This is especially true as colleges and universities continue to tighten their budget belt. Student unions, performing arts centers (PAC), and other campus gathering places that provide specific services to students are all under a microscope when it comes to funding. Cutting student union hours or decreasing the number of performances in a PAC is a real possibility when the value of the resource isn’t evident.

Implementing people counting solutions on campus, in doorways and in specific areas of buildings to collect foot traffic data will solve the “how” problem. As long as college programs and organizations are generating enough foot traffic through the building, foot traffic data will reflect that and hard numbers are difficult for administration to ignore when it comes down to continual or increased funding.

Budget: Budgeting is a vital part to any establishment or organization and colleges and universities are no different. Student unions in particular are instrumental for attracting incoming freshman.  Foot traffic data will reveal peak and slow traffic times for all campus buildings. Identifying these will help building and program managers run their facilities at optimal efficiency, reducing operation hours and personnel needs when the building isn’t as busy and increasing them during high foot traffic periods.

Casting your line and fishing for funding doesn’t have to be difficult or stressful. People counting solutions that provide accurate foot traffic data can make all the difference in the world. The bottom line is that acquiring funding means providing real, hard numbers that show value and need. Foot traffic data does just that. To learn more about how colleges and universities can utilize people counting solutions, download our free eBook now.