Use People Counting Technology to Improve Restroom Facilities

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Maintaining public, office and other types of restroom facilities at your business is a task that is often taken for granted. Many businesses have no janitorial staff specifically assigned to keep the restrooms clean and instead rely on customers to notify them when the bathrooms run out of toilet paper or when there is a problem with one of the fixtures. While this may seem like an effective way to keep labor costs down, poorly maintained restrooms can be a turn off to customers. 

One way to effectively monitor the status of the restrooms at your business is to install people counters that track the number of individuals who go in and out of the bathrooms throughout the day. After a certain number of people have passed through a restroom, a member of your team can head in to freshen it up, restocking supplies, cleaning fixtures and making repairs.

People counting technology also allows you to monitor the number of occupants in a public restroom at any time. Public restroom capacity limits allow for social distancing and minimize the risk of disease transmission. Installing occupancy counters in restrooms eliminates the need for your company to hire an individual to serve as a bathroom monitor. 

The Influence of Restrooms on Sales and Customer Satisfaction

Recent studies on the relationship between public restroom cleanliness and shoppers’ responses reveal that:

  • More than 60% of shoppers make a conscious choice to visit businesses that they find have better maintained and cleaner restrooms.
  • More than half of shoppers report that they’re very unlikely to visit a business again after they’ve had a bad bathroom experience — such as dirty conditions, clogged toilets and a lack of supplies.
  • Almost 70% of adult shoppers report having had a recent unpleasant experience in a public restroom — like finding no toilet paper and/or partition doors that won’t latch.

With statistics like these, it’s no wonder that businesses need a cost-effective way to keep up with restroom maintenance. Hiring more cleaning staff isn’t always an affordable or effective solution when large venues can have multiple restrooms with varying levels of usage.

Plus, for smaller independent businesses, the loss of even one patron can have a negative effect on their bottom line — especially when you consider the impact even one negative review online can have on other potential customers. The solution is to have fast, accurate access to reliable people counting data, so you and your staff are automatically informed when restroom usage reaches a benchmark that indicates cleaning and maintenance are in order.

When you accurately measure bathroom facility usage, you’re better able to allocate maintenance staff to act quickly and proactively — instead of running around looking for restroom cleaning help after an incident has occurred.

Keeping track of who is coming into and going out of your establishment’s restrooms also allows you to monitor the number of people in the facility. When an occupancy counter signals that the room is full, customers can be directed to another nearby facility or asked to line up outside of the room until the occupancy sensor says that it is safe to enter.

For well over a decade, Traf-Sys Inc. has been helping retailers, malls, casinos and other businesses determine how to save on bathroom cleaning costs without sacrificing the overall quality of their restroom facilities by better tracking their restroom foot traffic. 

Benefits of Restroom People Counters

People counters can help you offer a better bathroom experience to your customers. Here are some of the benefits of using occupancy sensors in public bathrooms:

Restroom People Counters Help You Know When to Restock

People counting technology will generate reports of how many people have gone in and out of the restroom. After a predetermined number of people have gone into and come out of a restroom, it is time to check to see if the bathroom needs to be stocked with toilet paper, soap, and paper towels. This can be especially helpful for large venues such as amusement parks and event centers where multiple bathroom facilities are spread across a large area with limited cleaning staff on hand.

Restroom People Counters Tell You When It’s Time to Clean

Setting benchmarks with people counting technology can also help you set up a cleaning schedule for your establishment’s restrooms. For example, after 100 people have entered and exited a specific restroom, it might be time to send in a staff member to empty the trashcans and clean the fixtures. The goal is to have someone freshen up the restroom and empty the trashcans before the room starts to look dirty or before the trashcans reach capacity. The more people using the facilities, the more likely the bathroom needs cleaning and servicing.

You are better able to manage and assign tasks to your cleaning staff when you use restroom people counters. Now, instead of having staff clean restrooms on a set schedule no matter how frequently the facility gets used, you can focus the efforts of your cleaning staff on the facilities that receive the greatest amount of foot traffic.

You are also more likely to discover acts of vandalism before customers do when you monitor the number of people who go in and out. You can then attempt to ameliorate the situation before customers see it and narrow the window of time to determine when it occurred. You can then check security footage outside of the bathroom to narrow down possible suspects. If the vandalism is done with ink or paint, it will be easier to scrub off when it is fresh rather than allowing it to dry.

Restroom People Counters Help You Be Proactive About Problems

Using people counting technology to set maintenance benchmarks also allows you to keep the sinks, commodes, and hand dryers working properly.

Restrooms with poorly-functioning hardware can give customers the impression that the business is doing poorly because it cannot afford to replace or repair their bathrooms. As soon as the target number is reached, you will know to do a maintenance check in the bathrooms. These routine maintenance checks help you be proactive about fixing issues, such as a clogged toilet or a sink sensor that isn’t responding.

Clogged or dysfunctional bathroom fixtures could lead to overflows, which can cause problems such as floor damage, product damage, business closure and poor customer service. Taking steps to prevent or repair issues immediately can save you a considerable amount of hassle and headache.

Occupancy Counters Help You Limit Restroom Capacity

An occupancy counter lets you set occupancy limits for a restroom, so people inside the facility can easily maintain social distancing. You install the occupancy sensor at the entrance to each restroom, and it anonymously counts people as they go in and out. A screen installed by the entrance of the facility will tell customers who are waiting to enter how many people are in the restroom at the moment and the maximum number allowed. If the number of people in the bathroom is less than the maximum allowed, the customer will be told that it is “safe to enter.” If the number of people in the room is equal to the maximum capacity, the customer will be asked to wait until another person has left the facility.

Following your state’s rules for public restroom capacity limits helps to protect your customers, employees and others who might need to use your company’s facilities. It also sends a message to people that you take safety concerns and considerations seriously. Demonstrating that your business cares about the safety and well-being of others can help you win new customers and retain existing ones. 

Better Restrooms With Better Data From Traf-Sys Inc.

Clean and safe restrooms are a business must-have if you want to boost your bottom line and keep customers coming back to shop, dine or otherwise engage with your company’s services. Traf-Sys’ SafeEntry Occupancy Counting software makes it easy to monitor the number of people in a restroom at any time, so your company can promote safe social distancing. Our people counting software also allows you to track the comings and goings of individuals in and out of restrooms, so you can provide cleaning and maintenance as needed. 

SafeEntry is easy to install and will work with your existing hardware, such as a tablet or smartphone. You can install the program at the entrances of restrooms as well as at the entrance and exits of your establishment, ensuring that you never exceed occupancy limits. 

Traf-Sys wants to help you keep your customers safe. To learn more about our people counters and occupancy counters, download our product catalog. You can also contact us for more information or to get answers to questions you might have.

Measuring Retail Store Traffic: How People Counting Works

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Collecting Customer Traffic Data For Your Store

Sophisticated customer relationship management tools have become prevalent in the industry, allowing the retailer to track virtually every “touch” of the customer’s experience with your store. But what do you know about customers who have not yet visited your kiosk? Or what about those that have given a salesperson their contact information? Do you know how much retail store traffic you have received, or how many potential customers have visited your retail locations last month? Last week? Two hours ago?

In order to answer these important questions, many businesses are employing electronic systems to count customer traffic and using this information in context of other business metrics. Some of the more comprehensive counting systems can also tie in with a company’s server network and show traffic by hour, location and individual entrances.

Ready to get a people counting device and start collecting traffic data? Contact Traf-Sys today and get a free quote to get your system installed! 

What Traffic Data Can Provide Decision Makers

Many retailers are now using traffic information to look at the distribution of traffic by hour, day of the week, store location, seasonal periods, promotion periods, total chain, etc. Retailers can also look at the conversion ratio of their store which is the total sales transactions divided by total traffic. Different retail segments can have vastly different conversion ratios. For some businesses, 30 percent conversion rate is considered fantastic while for others this figure would be dismal! Retail stores will also be able to measure traffic based on current promotions and advertising. You will be able to determine if your conversions went up, down or remained the same during the promotion.

With traffic counting, retailers will be able to optimize their staffing. Retailers traditionally staff their stores according to historical and forecasted sales. Unfortunately, this does not account for potential opportunities that may have visited the store but did not buy. Traffic information can inform you of these factors.

Traffic counting will allow retailers to deploy initiatives that increase the likelihood of conversion and analyze what staffing strategies are best for each store or store group.

While the business applications for in-store traffic data is nearly limitless, here are just a few more ways retailers can do more with the data collected: 

  • Identify Prime Real Estate: Once installed, some retailers conduct what is known as A/B testing with our people counting systems. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Prevent Theft: Retail traffic counters aid in determining the ideal shopper-to-associate staffing ratio, which is beneficial not only to providing customer service but also to keeping an eye on individuals in your store who may have unsavory intentions. Retail thieves often strike during busy times when staff may be occupied with assisting shoppers. 

The Technology Behind Traffic Counting Systems

Common retail traffic counting systems use sensors at the entrance areas to count the number of visitors to the store. Infrared technology is used to register customers coming in or going out of the store by counting each time a beam is broken. Some of the more sophisticated systems can even determine a customer’s actual direction of travel; whether they are coming in or going out. These systems are usually based on thermal imaging, which is body heat detection or video processing technology. Sensors can be mounted horizontally at the entrance, or overhead above the customers’ path.

Counts can be generated using the system and sent to a database. Depending on the system that the company is using, counts can be segmented virtually in real-time or divided into time increments such as five minutes, half-hour, hour, etc. Some software systems will allow reports to be generated by time period, store site, entrances, and segmentation groupings.

Use People Counting Data To Increase Profits

Now that you know how the technology works and what the reports from traffic counting will show you, let’s talk about what counting can do for your profits. Since revenue and repeat customers is what keeps you in business, this step is very important.

Once a company begins counting traffic, they will immediately discover new ways to analyze and optimize their business. For example, the retailer will often start with benchmarking its current conversion rates and track future conversion as the company implements best practices to improve on conversion. Even the smallest percent increase can be a significant difference for a company. By utilizing traffic counting systems, companies can also determine if they are understaffed during peak traffic times or if they are losing sales or paying too much for labor during inopportune times.

Traffic counting systems can also inform a company if certain advertising efforts are warranted or not. Combining traffic information with sales and transaction data, assessments can be made to show how to make different areas of your business such as marketing, staffing levels and support more effective.

With a relatively small investment and a little bit of time, retailers can positively impact their profits by analyzing visitor traffic.

Want to learn more about traffic counting? Contact our team of experts or request a quote. 

How Casinos Can Conserve Money with People Counters

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The growth in the gaming industry has meant growing competition across the board. Casinos need to take advantage of technologies, such as people counters, to help them analyze traffic and business performance and make informed decisions about the improvements they need to make to stay competitive.

And competition is growing. According to the American Gaming Association’s report, State of the States 2018: The AGA Survey of the Commercial Casino Industry, although commercial gaming surpassed $40 billion for the first time in 2017, and 11 out of 24 gaming states reporting record annual revenues, tribal gaming facilities (not included in the $40 billion from commercial casinos) brought in a record $32.4 billion in 2017, a 3.9% increase from the previous year.

In addition, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a 1992 federal law banning the expansion of sports betting, paving the way for states and sovereign tribal governments to introduce new forms of sports betting. Several states, including New York, Maryland, and Massachusetts, are opening new commercial gaming facilities, and Pennsylvania enacted a major gambling reform bill that will allow satellite casinos, internet gaming operations, and video gaming terminals at locations other than commercial casinos, such as truck stops.

With these challenge-creating trends for casinos, people-counting systems can provide the insights they need to optimize their operations with data on the amount of traffic specific casino attractions or areas receive.

Here are four ways people counters can be beneficial to casinos.

1. Get feedback on casino conversion rates

With people counters, gaming establishments can measure traffic at high-profile events to make sure they’re getting the right amount of bang for their buck. They can also get feedback on new attractions.

People counters can answer questions such as: How many people who come in are making purchases? And are they purchasing memberships, dinners, hotel rooms, or spa packages? By generating reports from your people-counting software and monitoring these numbers, you can adapt your business strategy to optimize revenue.

People counters can also help casinos assess their revenue sources besides gambling, including food and beverage sales and other attractions such as shows or shops. People counters enable you to track which dining areas are the most popular and how many people are ordering drinks at the tables. Get data on which show times are the most heavily attended or what times of day people are using the pool. This information can help with staffing decisions, budget allocations, and promotional choices.

2. Compare casino locations

Casino chains like Harrah’s and Bally’s can compare performance at one site to their other locations to find avenues for improvement. By generating traffic reports from people counters, locations can gauge the effectiveness of an attraction based on how well it performs at another location in their chain.

Comparative data allows casinos to benchmark performance of specific revenue streams and standardize successful processes throughout the chain. In general, using a people counter can answer questions like: How are they selling and promoting their attractions, and how is it working? How much traffic are they receiving, and how are they accommodating it? Are we performing as well as they are? These questions can be answered by comparing peak traffic hours and peak transaction hours across unique locations. You can make conclusions by analyzing how they change and overlap. For example, by finding out how many people are dining at each location, you can identify underperforming restaurants. Then promote those dining areas using a method that’s working more successfully at other locations.

People counters allow you to compare:

  1. Traffic: Generate visitor reports across locations and regions, even down to specific games or attractions at each location. The comparisons will reveal which areas are not measuring up and need improvement.
  2. Promotions: Once you know the most successful areas with the highest number of visitors, you can take a closer look at their marketing strategies. How (and where) did they advertise, and what other steps did they take to draw people in? Are they offering dinner specials, or merchandise discounts, or $20 in blackjack chips when guests book a hotel room?
  3. Performance: What are the people counter statistics for the locations with the highest revenue? This information can help determine the best ratio of staff to visitors, for example, and provide additional ways to analyze revenue patterns.

3. Keep tabs on different areas in your casino

People counters can detect how many people enter certain areas. Casino owners and managers can generate reports on the amount of traffic received by their hotel rooms, concert hall, dining area, slot machines, card tables, pool area, spa or salon. They can learn which areas are lacking and brainstorm ways to attract more traffic to them. The more traffic comes in and out of each area, the more opportunities casinos have to encourage their customers to spend. They can also learn which areas are doing well and concentrate money into those areas to maximize profits.

With people counters, casinos can conduct real-time tracking of several metrics:

  • Overall visitors: The “big picture” numbers for daily, monthly, and yearly volume can be especially valuable to stakeholders and others with a vested interest in business results.
  • Visitors by period: Knowing how many patrons come in by the hour, day, week, or month enables prediction of peak demand so that staff can be scheduled accordingly.
  • Visitors by zone or game: Overall numbers can be broken down to the level of specific games or areas such as blackjack and poker tables, roulette and craps games, or slot machines. Casinos can gauge interest levels and strategically focus on the most popular games.

Analysis of visitor traffic patterns can also suggest potential improvements to the casino layout. For example, managers could put the most frequently played games toward the back of the house, in the hope that visitors will be drawn to other areas as they pass through. Or if people are often waiting to use the slot machines but not playing keno, perhaps keno should be taken out to make room for more slots.

4. Keep track of time and labor.

During which times does your establishment see the most traffic? If your dining area sees the most traffic during dinner time, then offer dinner specials to create upselling opportunities. If your spa only gets customers during the mornings and afternoons, then keep it staffed during those hours and close it at night.

You can reduce labor costs by making sure that you aren’t paying employees just to stand around when business is slow. You also want to ensure adequate staffing and security during busy periods. Casinos, hotels, and resorts often have thousands of employees – having them all working at the same time is unnecessary and wasteful. You can also analyze hourly footfall and evaluate individual employee performance in order to reallocate labor in your establishment. In doing so, determine which of your employees should be scheduled during peak times.

5. Develop money-saving solutions for your casino

People walk into casinos with dollars in their eyes, but as a casino owner, you’re looking to save money — or at least spend smartly. When it comes to people counting technology, wireless installations are attractive for many reasons, though their low cost likely stands out the most. Battery-operated wireless installations don’t compromise on people-counting accuracy or quality and enable greater flexibility in where they can be mounted including over doorways and in ceilings.

6. Improve Security & Maintenance at Your Casino

With all of the currency changing hands, security in casinos is a top priority. To ensure that security staff are deployed most effectively, use your people counting wireless installations to identify “hotspots” that consistently yield high traffic volumes. Beyond the obvious, such as the cashier’s window or the high-roller table, maybe you’ll find that some unusual or unexpected areas of your business could use additional security staffing.

The same holds true for other key staff members such as maintenance employees. As a round-the-clock business, casinos don’t have the luxury of downtime, although certain times of day may see a lull in the action. Data from your people counter wireless installation can show you the best times of the day, week, month and year to deploy maintenance staff for tasks both mundane and significant.

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.

Buy Wireless People Counting Systems From Traf-Sys

People counting technology from Traf-Sys, Inc. gives the casino industry more options for increased visibility into their operations. Real-time data collected by unobtrusive hardware can accurately gauge true interest by patrons of your games and other attractions within the facility. With the right resources in the right places, you will see a boost in revenue and popularity of your casino with proven people counter technology.

Contact a Traf-Sys representative today to learn how you can add the power of people-counting capabilities to your casino.

How to Choose the Best Library Door Counter

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Libraries are essential resources in many communities. They serve as gathering spaces, a place to take classes and learn new skills, and a refuge for students who need a quiet place to study and pursue school projects. Libraries often operate on tight budgets, however, and must find the most efficient ways to deliver the best service for patrons. That’s where people counting technology comes in — and onetech asset that can make a significant impact is a library door counter.

A library door counter tallies each patron who comes through your library doors to help you understand traffic patterns, justify funding requests, and adjust staffing needs accordingly. These counters are designed in various ways, so take a good look at your library’s architecture to determine which door counter is right for you.

Why Do Libraries Need People Counters?

Libraries make books, resources, technology, and information available to everyone, including people who might not otherwise be able to afford access. But they are perpetually in need of funding to supplement the meager revenue they generate. College libraries, for example, receive less than 3% of the money spent on higher education, despite studies that link student achievement with having use of a well-staffed and well-funded library.

Funding requests are most successful when backed by hard facts that clearly demonstrate the need. Circulation information, such as the number of books checked out in a given period, does not provide an accurate or complete picture of library usage. Many people visit the library for other reasons, such as using the computers to do research, or bringing kids in for story time in the children’s section. Counting the number of patrons is a better measure than counting books checked out.

Some additional signs that you need a people counting system include the following: 

  1. Justifying project funding is a nightmare: As a nonprofit, with little to no revenue generation, libraries exist at the mercy of the communities they serve.  Proving that you’re a vital and well-used resource in the community boils down to a numbers game.
  2. Determining display effectiveness is impossible: With people counters positioned in zones that harbor different displays, you can monitor traffic trends overtime— and with each change of display— to see which display generated the most interest in library patrons.
  3. Your circulation desk is frequently over or under staffed: People counters will allow you to pull reports and analyze traffic trends overtime. With determined traffic trends, you will be able to identify your busy and slow periods and schedule staff accordingly.

Benefits of People Counters

Library door counters offer several benefits. First, they can help libraries make better business decisions. Budget cuts are an all-too-frequent occurrence, and they can reduce funding not only for materials but also for staffing and hours of operation. People counters provide data on which entrances and areas of the library get the heaviest use, and which times and days are the busiest. Knowing which areas experience the most traffic is helpful in deciding how to arrange resources such as exhibits, kiosks, or guest speakers. And seeing which resources are used most frequently can assist in deciding which lesser-used resources can be pruned when it’s time to tighten the belt.

Second, people counters can help libraries stay in compliance with state standards that govern such factors as labor percentages and technology usage. Library door counters provide the best detailed statistics to report so that state governments and taxpayers know how the money they provide is being spent.

Third, library door counters can help libraries make cases to administration to gain more funding. Across the country, public libraries have been enduring reductions in their operating revenue, even though circulation, program attendance, and computer use have all been on the rise. When they need to make a strong case for funding to continue providing those resources, libraries can use the data from their people counters as evidence of the demand.

Armed with traffic statistics, libraries can make appeals for additional resources and technology, such as an expanded computer lab with faster, high-capacity broadband Internet access to best meet patrons’ needs. Libraries can also petition for additional staffing and hours of operation by providing the numbers of patrons using the facility on a daily basis. The ability to clearly demonstrate necessity is the key to a successful funding proposal — and that’s what a people counter can do.

Horizontal vs. Overhead Counters

The type of doorway will influence the kind of people counter that best fits your needs. For narrow entrances, a door-mounted horizontal door counter will suffice. The horizontal door counter is the simplest of all people-counting systems. It functions by tallying every person who interrupts the infrared sensor beam by walking through the doorway. Generally speaking, only one person at a time can enter through a narrow, standard-size doorway, making the horizontal library door counter a suitable choice.

For larger entrances where multiple people can come and go at once, however, a horizontal door counter would provide an inaccurate traffic count, as two people entering and interrupting the sensor beam simultaneously would likely only be counted as one. For these wider doorways, a library door counter that’s mounted overhead would be a better option.

Overhead library door counters can use either thermal sensors — to pick up each entrant’s body heat — or video recording to count people entering the library. When deciding between the two types of overhead counters, it’s important to remember that video recording carries with it some surveillance and privacy concerns, as some of your patrons may feel entitled to have their privacy preserved.

Where to Put Your People Counters

Depending on the size of your library, you may benefit from having people counters distributed throughout your facility. For example, you might want to install people counters in the children’s reading section, the audio book area, or other spaces that experience high traffic. This will help you to determine when the highest volume of patrons visit these areas and schedule your library staff as needed.

You’ll also need to decide which type of people counter is best suited for each individual area. While your main entrance may only need a horizontal door counter, you might find overhead thermal sensors give you the best results in the children area or computer lab.

By evaluating the data provided by your library door counters, you’ll be able to understand which areas of your library need more or fewer staff members to manage and monitor patrons as well as the best placement for promotional book displays and other important materials.

How Software Can Help

Your library door counter is only as useful as the software that compiles and makes sense of all the data it collects. This user-friendly software gives you access — virtually in real time — to your traffic data via any internet-connected computer or mobile device. Use your software platform to generate reports that offer critical insights about your library traffic that can influence and inform your decision-making.

Door counters are becoming an important feature of the modern library facility. In choosing the library door counter that’s right for your institution, you’re poised to make objective, data-driven decisions on how best to serve your patrons and create the space your community needs. Contact a Traf-Sys representative today to learn how you can add people counting capabilities to your library.

How to Use Your Gift Shop as a Tool to Drive Foot Traffic

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Gift shops. You may consider them as a way to gain a little extra revenue from guests who come to “ooh” and “aah” at the fascinating exhibits in your museum, check books out of your library or to purchase university branded items from you student store but if you think like a retailer when it comes to what you stock and how you display it, you may just notice your gift shop becoming one of your most popular sources of extra revenue. Here are a few tips to get you started:

Swag

Have you considered that your gift shop could be a shopping destination on its own? You may not think that people are visiting your museum, college or library just to see the gift shop, but if you offer unique gift options that visitors find valuable, they may just make you’re their go to spot the next time they need to buy a great present for someone. Most people who visit you are already fans, so use that to your advantage and offer artistic décor and functional products that fit with your themes. For example, the Museum of Modern Art in NYC offers unique bookshelves inspired by art exhibits, and the Metropolitan Museum carries book ends modeled after the divine guardians of the Assyrian palace at Nimrud. Offering functional décor not only drives foot traffic, but it allows visitors to create their own artistic displays within their homes.

Flow

The popular and mysterious graffiti artist known as “Banksy” released a documentary titled “Exit through the Gift Shop” in 2010. While his documentary focused on the inauthenticity of one man’s street art, the title came from a common practice within museums and theme parks. It’s not hard to see why this practice is so common. Control the flow of foot traffic within your space and make the gift shop the natural final destination of your visitors. If you place your shop at the end of your tour, circulation desk or museum experience, you encourage additional purchases because the souvenirs and products you offer reinforce their visitor experience in their minds, making them likely to remember you for their next shopping trip.

Local Artists and Vendors

What better way to drive foot traffic and promote talent than to showcase and sell the work of local artists, craftsmen and small businesses in your gift shop? Featuring products locally made and sourced is a great way to invest in your own community. Many small vendors are happy to have their products featured in your gift shop as a way to showcase their products, especially small online merchants who may not have a brick and mortar presence.

eCommerce

In season 2 of the hit show “Stranger Things,” one of the characters dons a purple hoodie from the Science Museum of Minnesota, complete with a brontosaurus skeleton on the front and the words “Thunder Lizard.” Fans of the show were eager to get their hands on the shirt, and the science museum saw an increase in foot traffic because of it, but many weren’t able to make it all the way to Minnesota. Luckily, they had an eCommerce site (which subsequently crashed from all the online traffic after the episode aired). By showcasing your best-selling souvenirs online, out-of-town fans will be able to purchase them. Not only that, but you can do cross promotions on your online store with specials you are running in your physical gift shop to drive traffic to your location.

Utilize People Counters to Improve Your Gift Shop

Measuring foot traffic gives you valuable data so you can determine how many of your visitors make it to the gift shop. This provides valuable insight when making data driven business decisions. Putting people counting solutions in the entrance and in different areas around your gift shop can tell you what the natural flow of foot traffic is within your gift shop, and where your most popular displays are. Use this data to create new display areas, order inventory, and re-vamp your current souvenirs. If the data reveals that you aren’t getting as much traffic in your gift shop as you would like, you can determine what needs to be changed and measure the progress.

You are probably fantastic at creating memorable experiences for your visitors that keep them coming back, but if your gift shop isn’t putting its best foot forward, your visitors may be left with nothing to show for their trip. By thinking like a retailer and using your gift shop as a tool to drive foot traffic, you can give your visitors a way to commemorate their visit and bring in new visitors with who may have never made the trip otherwise.

If you are looking to increase your foot traffic to your museum, library or university and are ready to start gaining valuable data to aid you in your business decisions, contact us today to discuss the ways we can help.

Clicks and Bricks: 3 Reasons Omnichannel is Important in the Retail World

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We’ve all read the headlines. Millennials are killing industries left and right. Currently on the chopping block: brick-and-mortar stores. Regardless of whether you believe the hype or you feel like these stories are just sensational pieces made to move papers, it is worth considering what current shopping behaviors are relevant now. Online is becoming more and more popular, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the death of brick-and-mortar stores. Smart retailers are using an omnichannel approach to their stores, and are able to leverage their online sites to gain foot traffic at their physical locations.

What is omnichannel? In short, it boils down to meeting your customers where they are, both online and offline. Utilizing an approach like this means that you have to know who your customers are and where they are doing their shopping before you can successfully gain visibility. But why is this important? Let’s get into the main points.

  1. It makes it easy to please.

Shoppers want convenience. In a world of instant gratification and in-your-face ads from every store, if you aren’t as available and efficient as your competition, you are likely to be left out. According to bigcommerce.com, almost 100% of Americans have shopped online before, and 80% have done so just in the last month. It’s no secret that an online channel is important, especially with millennials and Gen-Xers. However, in-store shoppers account for about half of all purchases, and are still popular with older generations and those who don’t want to wait for shipping, so an omnichannel approach is the best way to reach your audience using their preferred shopping methods.

  1. It drives in-store traffic.

As great as it is, online shopping isn’t always the preferable way to get products for some shoppers.  Some consumers don’t want to pay shipping costs or risk having a package stolen or a missed delivery if they don’t have a secure drop-off location.  And having to wait for standard ground shipping can cause a customer to abandon their online cart before checkout. With omnichannel retail, buy-online/pickup-in-store (BOPIS) is a favorable option many shoppers prefer. Customers can purchase an item online and pick it up at their convenience, often times with the speed of expedited shipping sans costs.  This drives foot traffic to your store, which you can then measure with your people-counting solution. By combining the convenience of online shopping with the security and affordability of shopping in-store, you create a win/win situation in the eyes of the customer.

  1. Data, data, and more data.

When it comes to making business decisions, never go in blindly. Instead, you should always rely on hard numbers to inform you and fuel those decisions, so you can be sure that you’re doing what’s best for your business. Combining omnichannel data from online shopping, social interactions, and in-store purchase histories gives you a holistic, large-scale view of shoppers, so that you know what to stock for inventory, and how to create the best targeted marketing campaigns. Utilizing this data alongside data from your people counting solutions can provide you with all of the information you need to make successful, knowledgeable decisions that better your business.

Omnichannel is becoming omnipresent. Position yourself for success by making sure you offer all the shopping channels your customers demand. Then, contact us to discuss your people counting solution options and see how our technology can compliment your omnichannel solution.

How College Campuses Benefit From People Counters

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  2. Articles posted by Chris Wadsworth

Colleges 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.

Once hailed as “the great equalizer,” higher education is now under more scrutiny than ever. Promoting the value of a college degree remains the most difficult university challenge faced by higher education establishments. It’s no surprise, when rising tuition costs and fewer high-paying job opportunities are a growing concern.

Every area of the budget must be tightened up to combat the increased cost and reduced funding. Universities know that accurate data is crucial to overcoming budgeting challenges, and student and visitor traffic trends are no exception.  There are three key challenges that can be met by utilizing this data harnessed by a people counting technology solution.

1. Managing Operating Costs.

It’s always a struggle when you’re asked to do more with less. If you aren’t looking at foot traffic patterns, you may be missing a critical area where you could be saving. Facility management can be expensive, and you may be spending money keeping facilities open during hours they aren’t likely to be used. If your budget has been slashed and gutted in every area possible, yet you’re still being asked to further reduce expenses, you’re not alone. Many schools are facing this same university challenge. People counting data can help pin point areas of waste, so that the staff and equipment needed for a student union, library, or recreational center can fit into to allotted budget.

2. Finding Funding.

Non-profit universities especially rely on funding and donations to stay afloat, but without presenting comprehensive data in grant proposals and funding requests, how can you successfully secure the funds you need?  Providing the facts and figures is a crucial step to justifying any request for funding.  If you want to expand and grow programs and facilities on campus, you must first show how these are currently being utilized. Finding funding for projects like these can be a tough university challenge to overcome, but hard data is difficult to ignore.

3. Showing Value.

With arts, clubs, and athletics on the chopping block, it is vital that proof be given for which programs are valuable to students. People counting sensors gauge the success of events and programs to determine the popularity of each, so that decision makers understand the tastes and interests of their students. If proving your school’s worth both as a learning and a cultural center has become a major university challenge for you, foot traffic data can be used as hard evidence to support your claim.

4. A Path to Success

Running a university and ensuring its success will never be easy. As an administrator, you have to work extra hard under immense pressure to make sure your students are learning and thriving, and that the university itself continues to secure the funding it needs while remaining affordable enough for prospective new students. With an ever-diminishing budget and a surge in tuition rates it is increasingly difficult to make changes that don’t negatively impact the quality of the education and experiences you offer. Campus foot traffic data will play a large part in helping you meet your university’s challenges head-on.

If you are ready to start counting people that traffic your college or university to aid your budgeting and funding requests, contact us today to discuss the unique challenges faced by higher education and how we can help.

Benefits of People Counting Systems for Student Unions 

Student unions are generally the hub of activity for a college campus. Throughout the day, crowds of students and faculty members come between classes. With a flow of visitors that is constantly fluctuating, it isn’t easy to keep track of how many there are. Without knowing how many visitors there are, it is impossible to know how many resources are needed to accommodate them. Keeping track of trafficking ensures that the facility is operating at optimal efficiency.

Being in-tune with the building’s trafficking is helpful for these reasons:

Measure which areas are used most.

Knowing the most-traveled doors and hallways in the building may come in handy when placing informational fliers, kiosks or help desks for new students. Also, knowing which areas of the student union receive the most trafficking tells the school where to concentrate its money. It may be the fitness center; it may be the cafeteria. Whichever the area, if it is heavily-traveled then it is likely to return the money that was spent in it.

Optimize employee placement for peak and non-peak times.

Managers can calculate building hours and personnel needs based on actual data reports from the people counting hardware, rather than making estimations. With a sensor installed, the building may never be over- or understaffed again.

Because of school budgets, it is important for student unions to use their money wisely. Many student centers can’t afford to pay several employees on the same shift, and even if they can, they shouldn’t have to. People counting allows student unions to optimize their labor.

People counting can be used to estimate the proper amount of employees for peak and non-peak times on an average day – and on the not-so-average days, too. When hosting well-attended events – sometimes several at once – the building may need more staffing. People counting helps you predict and prepare for special occasions.

Justify requests for additional resources.

With an increased amount of students using a fixed amount of resources, a school’s budget is bound to tighten. However, if people counting hardware is installed in the student union, the sensors will pick up on the increase in trafficking. This data ensures that student union resources don’t get the axe when it comes time to make budget cuts.

Retailers and Universities Merging 

Today, more high school graduates are starting to choose alternate paths rather than going to college. In fact, NBC News recently pointed out that college enrollments are declining. To counter these issues, college universities are joining forces with retailers to bring in additional revenue.

One community college in California, Ohlone College, has decided to launch an initiative to raise additional revenue for the school using its unused property. According to the Contra Costa Times, the school is considering leasing 15 acres of surplus land to a local developer for 90 years.  The developer would build apartments on the land that would provide a new revenue stream for the university.

The idea to build new housing on university land was born out of necessity, and as more institutions find themselves in a similar situation, we may see more of these types of projects in the future. Clearly, it’s a new way to fund the institution and maintain the retail and restaurants that serve the student body. Preserving the community surrounding a university is critical, as vibrant social centers are what help to draw new students and give the university its character, even as the pool of high school graduates shrinks.

Universities and their facility management teams can see how successful their alternative revenue streams—whether it’s new housing or another initiative—are by tracking and counting people they attract over time.  If the new housing is providing fresh revenue for the university, traffic in the neighborhood will increase.

Many colleges already employ people counting sensors and technology in their student unions, libraries and bookstores. Similarly, university-owned and privately owned retailers and businesses can use people counting to see the tangible results the new housing is having on their bottom line. 

Traffic counting technology should also be employed in gathering places, like university libraries, student unions and dining halls. By tracking peak hours and shifts, universities can ensure they have each location appropriately staffed and that they are not overbuying food products for dining halls or other items needed for their day-to-day operations.

3 Signs it’s Time to Upgrade the Way You Measure Foot Traffic

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Imagine a busy Saturday at your store, library or museum. You’ve known for a while that these afternoons always have the most foot traffic, and you’ve done what you think is necessary to prepare for the surplus. It started off as a great day with customers and patrons flowing in and out, but then an hour into your most hectic afternoon of the week, you begin to notice that your staff or volunteers are really struggling to keep up with demands, and people are getting upset at increased wait times. You remember this happening before, but you learned your lesson, and took steps to prevent it from happening again by comparing the numbers week to week and making sure you had the staff. What happened?

The problem lies in the numbers themselves. Most likely, your past counts were off, resulting in inadequate staffing. If foot traffic isn’t recorded accurately, you can only guess how many employees you’ll actually need on any given day. Everyone who runs a business effectively knows they need to accurately measure foot traffic. The benefits to this practice are numerous:

Think you might need to upgrade your current people counting methods? Here’s how you can know for sure:

  1. You are doing manual counts.

We feel your pain if you still use this outdated people counting method and have to rely on pen and paper to count people. If you’re currently in this situation, do yourself a favor and switch to an automated system to measure foot traffic. You and all of your staff have much better, more profitable ways you could be spending your time. Not only that, it’s really difficult for humans to get an accurate measure when a place is busy. Nowadays, you can even find thermal sensors that can use body heat to track customer movements around your store, so you don’t just know how many people are coming in, but which sections they’re more likely to go to.

  1. You are using horizontal cross beam sensors.

Cross beams aren’t as tired as manual counts, but they’re still less accurate and less efficient than overhead sensors. If people often arrive in groups, horizontal sensors are more likely to give you false foot traffic recordings. While they may be okay in small doorways that don’t leave room for more than one person to enter at a time, you might be better off switching to a thermal or video sensor that can give you spot-on counts no matter the size of the group coming in.

  1. Your current solution cannot distinguish between adults and children.

This is a big one if you operate a library, museum, casino, or any business where you would benefit from distinguishing between adults, children, — even service animals. Horizontal sensors and thermal sensors by themselves are unable to analyze the type of foot traffic entering your place of business; they can only measure the overall volume, and sometimes not very accurately at that. If you need to know more than a head count, a combination of a thermal and video sensor will be your best bet at categorizing patronage.

Keep your bases covered.

If your palms got sweaty just from imagining the stress of the scenario at the beginning of this post, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, this pops up all too often, making customers wonder why the owners aren’t staffing their business the way they should. Worse yet, customers generally aren’t very understanding when it happens. The best way to make sure this doesn’t happen to you in the future is to have an accurate, efficient way to measure your foot traffic with a modern people counting solution, so you can stay ahead of the game.