How Retailers Can Do More with Real-Time Insight from Foot Traffic Data

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  2. 2017
  3. June

Big data is influencing retail operations from forecasting and price optimization to how much hand soap to stock for the restrooms. Today’s people counting technology provides unprecedented real-time insight into every area of operations including foot traffic.

Foot traffic metrics have always been important to brick-and-mortar merchants but now, with the assistance of people counters, it’s easier to analyze and, more importantly, to make business decisions based on this information.  While the business applications for in-store traffic data is nearly limitless, here are just a few of the ways retailers can do more with the data collected.

Identify Prime Real Estate

Let’s say you have an idea for a fantastic promotional display. Where are you going to put it? You can guess where to locate the display within your store or you can use real-time insights from foot traffic data provided by people counters to pinpoint the optimal floor placement.

Once installed, some retailers conduct what is known as A/B testing. A/B testing pits two options against one another and uses data to determine the winning candidate. You can use this process to further identify which displays perform the best and result in the most sales.

This usually looks like setting up a display in a location for a week and then moving it to another position and comparing the numbers. This will either confirm your assumptions or challenge your preconceived notions on what works. Either way, you win.

Tweak Your Store Layout

It’s your job to guide customers through your space and to entice them to linger and ultimately to buy. The main function of the flow and design of your store is to maximize sales for each square foot of space. Real-time insight into traffic allows you to tweak and refine the layout until you have the optimal layout.

You also want to keep the traffic moving and avoid bottlenecks and tight spaces. Analyze your traffic flow to see if problem areas exist. Know the patterns created by fixture positions and aisles configurations and consider whether you need to make improvements. Small adjustments can result in more revenue.

Look for Ways to Boost Traffic

Ideally once you know your baseline traffic numbers on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis, you want to start identifying opportunities for improvement and brainstorming ideas to boost traffic. Time contingent promotions (like door busters) drive customers into your store during off hours. Special events can be strategically scheduled during lulls as well.

In addition to traffic boosting initiatives, use real-time insight from people counters for scheduling purposes. Many retailers find this information is an asset to keeping labor costs in check. Knowing busy periods and slow periods keeps you from over or under staffing.

Real-Time Insights Give Real Results

More and more retailers are going beyond the simple how-many-people-walk-through-the-door count and using foot traffic data to determine the success of a promotion or as leverage for making a business case to upper management for store layout changes. Knowing your foot traffic numbers using a people counter can even result in a boost in traffic if applied to business decisions.

3 Ways Thermal Imaging People Counters Can Improve Your Foot Traffic Insights

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  2. 2017
  3. June

Thermal imaging people counters are one of the most accurate methods available on the market for collecting foot traffic data. They’re also becoming one of the most popular methods because of their accuracy and versatility. Thermal imaging people counters use sensors to detect infrared radiation given off by people, which allows them to be undaunted by bad lighting conditions, shadows or high volumes of people to achieve a 98% accuracy rate.

The many ways that foot traffic data can benefit your business, regardless of whether you are a retailer, casino, library, or university, makes it even more important for you to have accurate counts. You can use the insights from this data in three main ways:

  1. Allowing You to Customize Zones and Sensitivity

Thermal imaging people counters are great options for buildings with exceptionally wide, awkward or irregular entranceways because you can customize the count zone to adapt to your specific entrance configuration and size. Units are mounted on the ceiling in a discreet and unobtrusive tamper-proof enclosure and allow you to position them strategically to capture your target count area.

The ability to set sensitivity levels is especially useful for counting groups of people that include children. Traditional people counters only have about a 70 percent accuracy in detecting children, while thermal imaging can increase the accuracy rate to as high as 95 percent. You can also tweak the way a thermal imaging people counter detects people according to the way they are walking into or out of the zone.

  1. Providing Accuracy Regardless of Conditions

One of the main reasons that businesses choose a thermal imaging people counter is that it performs reliably regardless of external conditions. Some solutions have diminished accuracy as lighting or weather conditions change. Thermal imaging functions the same regardless of ambient light, darkness or bright light. Also, counts aren’t affected by the presence or rain or snow and they can be used in all climates from the coldest to the most arid. Since thermal imaging people counters purely measure the heat given off by bodies passing through its field of vision, neither high traffic volumes nor background movement or shadows interfere with the sensors.

  1. Increasing the Detection Area

For buildings with wide entrances or public spaces that have a large area that needs to be monitored a thermal imaging people counter is ideal. It can give you up to a 30 percent increase in coverage area over other people counting technologies.

Other technologies have a static and finite range while thermal imaging units can often be networked to create a coverage area up to 118 feet wide. They can also be mounted on low ceilings, as low as seven feet high for the minimum, though it does decrease the width of the coverage area when mounted at that height.

Thermal Imaging People Counters Fuels Analytics
Measuring foot traffic affects many areas of your operations from budgeting to inventory and forecasting. Analyzing traffic data helps you make smarter decisions when it comes to scheduling staff, purchasing supplies, or ordering merchandise. You will only benefit from a more accurate count of the traffic you are experiencing.

If you want to take it up a notch, some businesses and non-profits opt for a thermal imaging solution combined with video detection. This makes it easier to differentiate between adults and children and offers absolute verification capability provided by a live, real-time video feed.

Even on its own though, a thermal imaging people counter can substantially improve your foot traffic insights. Its highly accurate counting technology, its ability to function even in adverse weather and lighting conditions and the increase to your counting field of vision by nearly a third make it an option many business owners and building managers turn to for measuring foot traffic at their facility.