The customer experience that you provide in your store is the bedrock of your success as a retailer. People counting solutions can provide valuable insights that reveal opportunities to improve customer service, optimize staffing, and boost your sales.
Customer service is one of the top factors people consider when they decide whether or not to visit your store. The RightNow Customer Experience Impact Report notes that “89% of consumers have stopped doing business with a company after experiencing poor customer service.” A second statistic, from Parature, says that “it takes 12 positive customer experiences to make up for one negative experience.”
Across America the traditional mall experience is morphing. Major U.S. mall owner’s like Simon Property Group, Westfield America, and GGP, faced with flagging mall traffic and unused space, are thinking outside of the box to attract shoppers and non-traditional tenants. The attempt to reinvigorate and revive the mall is resulting in a shopping, eating and entertainment mall model for the modern retail era.
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5 Ways to Boost Shopping Mall Foot Traffic
If you are looking for ways to boost your mall traffic and get shoppers through your doors, here are five creative ideas that can give your mall foot traffic a renewed boost.
Turn your mall into an entertainment hub
You need an incentive to attract customers into your mall and to spend time there. Consumers want more than a place to eat and shop—they want experiences. To increase mall traffic, dedicate spaces and hold events that offer forms of entertainment. Turn customer apathy into excitement with a variety of venues that entice them to visit your mall and stay longer.
Hold community events
Your current, unused mall space has the advantage of being large enough to serve as an event venue. This opens up opportunities to invite community groups and non-profit organizations to hold events year round and increase foot traffic.
Wi-Fi hot spots
Create a Wi-Fi café or multiple hot spots that promote a quiet haven for the growing work-from-home workforce or constantly connected mall visitor. You could offer snacks and drink choices that can be purchased while they check their email or reply to messages.
Rent space to unconventional tenants
Mall traffic can be increased dramatically by offering empty spaces to non-traditional types of tenants that offer entertainment options rather than retail shopping. How about a laser tag, indoor skate park or trampoline venue for the kids? Fitness centers, consignment shops, and specialty shops can also increase foot traffic.
If entertainment options don’t necessarily work for your property, you may want to consider a mixed-use scenario to increase mall traffic. Many mall complexes around the country have adapted their empty areas to incorporate hotels or apartments, offices or play space. Target the people using those facilities by making them aware of the convenience of shopping nearby.
Measure mall foot traffic
Having a people counting solution in place before initiating these traffic-boosting strategies is important to measure the effectiveness of your efforts. Strategically place people counters in entrance points, parking garages, and entrances to specific venues spaces to track where your visitors are going. Over time, the data collected will help give you an idea of successful mall traffic trends and also areas that need improvement.
Keep in mind that your investment in these solutions will provide a return long-term with increased traffic and an upswing in revenues. The data you collect will help you adapt your vision of mall spaces and choose the most profitable options for your business.
Buy Online, Pickup In-Store (BOPSIS)
One smart way to get shoppers through your doors is to offer customer-friendly services such as “Buy Online, Pickup In-Store” (BOPIS). This smart strategy is the best of both worlds in a sense; it gives shoppers the convenience of purchasing online and the speed of retrieving their purchases at no additional charge and more quickly than waiting for a package in the mail.
What’s more, BOPIS is a retail customer experience that drives additional sales beyond the products your customer purchased online. A Forrester report revealed that 46 percent of shoppers are enticed to spend above and beyond the original BOPIS purchase if they receive a personalized discount or deal when retrieving their purchases in store.
How to Increase Sales with People Counters
One of the biggest challenges for small to medium-sized retail business (SMB) owners is attracting customers to your store. To increase sales, you need to get people in the door, keep them coming back, and inspire them to tell their friends about the great shopping experiences you provide. Tools such as a people counting solution will help you work toward these goals and determine the success of your efforts as well.
Understand Your Business. Consider the things that make you stand out from your competition. Formalize your unique value proposition (UVP) into a statement you can share with your management team and employees. Examine your processes (such as hours of operation, staffing, products, and marketing) as they relate to your UVP and make an honest assessment of your strengths and the areas where you could improve. Looking at these things from your customers’ perspective will help you figure out how to improve the customer experiences you provide.
Know Your Target Audience. Trying to attract “the general public” is too vague and ineffective. Create a detailed profile of your typical customer so you can craft marketing messages that will appeal to those demographics. Compile and update a database of customer information, including addresses, order histories, and loyalty rewards. This data can help you shape personalized email invitations to attract customers. Foot traffic statistics from your people counter will provide insights into peak times for typical buyers and the areas of the store that draw the most attention, to complete your customer profile.
Set Yourself Apart with Outstanding Service. One thing that will always attract customers is exceptional service. People counting solutions can help you deliver great experiences. For example, with foot traffic data, you can ensure adequate staffing during the busiest times of the day, week, month, or year, to avoid lengthy checkout lines. You can also tell which parts of the store are visited most, so you can adequately staff them with associates to assist shoppers with queries or make upselling suggestions. Great service from knowledgeable and attentive employees can lead to customer loyalty.
Keep in Contact. In today’s retail environment, shoppers expect to interact with retailers in stores and online through social media, texts, and email. Make sure your customer engagement strategy includes appealing to them on all channels. Send emails and texts to thank loyal shoppers and offer coupons or information about upcoming sales or other in-store events such as new product demos. Never underestimate the power of social media. Engage with customers who reach out to you or mention you on social media.
Offer Promotions. A common strategy to attract customers is to offer promotions both in stores and online. These could include not only special deals such as “buy one, get one free” but also codes that people can share with friends to earn rewards. To tell whether an in-store campaign is successful, check your people counter to see if foot traffic increases during and after the promotional period.
Start increasing sales at your mall today with a Traf-Sys people counting device. Request a free quote!
Understanding Shopper Counting Can Improve Customer Experience
Giving your shoppers a high-quality and highly enjoyable shopping experience is the key to ensuring that they visit your business again. Shopper counting and understanding how foot traffic moves and flows through your store can help you drastically improve your customers’ experience.
Display Promotions: Using people counters in separate sections of your store allows you to count how many people visit each area per day and, on a larger scale, per week, per month, and per year. This data can very easily help you to identify peak times of the year, month, week, and day for each section of your store.
Create Timed Promotions for Peak Visitor Times: You will also be able to identify which times of the year, month, week, and day your promotions would be the most successful. With your shopper counting data in mind, plan out your promotions ahead of time.
Increase Staffing During Peak Times: It’s easy to predict these peak times and schedule more efficiently when you understand shopper counting. With people counters installed, you will be able to determine the peak times during the week and day during which may need to schedule a few more staff members.
Get Your Retail Traffic Counter From Traf-Sys
Retail traffic counters help keep eyes on nearly every aspect of your retail store. Gathering these analytics can help you make the changes for a better, faster and more pleasant customer experience at your business.
Contact Traf-Sys or request a quote to inquire about our services and how we can measure your mall traffic for a brighter and more successful future.
As retailers and other businesses plan for long-term success, they often want to track their visitor traffic. These companies’ evolving needs require them to understand their traffic patterns on a deeper level. Some are exploring occupancy tracking for the first time. Others are wondering if they’ve outgrown their manual counting system.
If your business is ready to start counting visitors for the first time or is considering an upgrade, Traf-Sys can help. We offer people counting solutions to fit many commercial environments. Let’s compare manual and automatic people counters, and help you decide which is right for your business.
The Rise of People Counters
Automatic people counters have been around for years. At Traf-Sys, we’ve been installing them for all sorts of businesses for more than a decade. They’ve long been a fantastic tool to measure daily traffic patterns and conversion rates. The technology has matured over the years, and more businesses have invested in them. Recent trends have helped the technology improve rapidly, and retailer adoption has likewise grown.
The coronavirus pandemic jump-started a massive trend in businesses adopting automatic people counters. Retailers suddenly discovered the need to count people in real time. Stay-at-home orders shifted consumer shopping behavior dramatically, and stores could no longer rely on their usual patterns. Shoppers fearing a long-term lockdown flocked to grocery stores in droves. As customers rushed to stock up on essentials, stores needed a reliable way to keep everyone safe. After all, these crowds were exactly what they needed to avoid.
First, stores solved this problem with 6-foot markers and one-way aisles. Safety regulations and social distancing guidelines soon called for capacity limits. In Maine, for example, buildings can only admit five visitors per 1,000 feet of publicly accessible space as of June 2020. In California, retailers must keep their facilities at 50% capacity as of July. Many states have set similar capacity rules. When capacity guidelines aren’t available, many stores have instituted their own occupancy limits to keep their staff and customers safe.
At first, many stores monitored occupancy using pen and paper. When it became clear that these regulations would become the new normal for the foreseeable future, many stores realized how impractical this method was. They had to have at least one employee standing at the door to tally visitors during all store hours. Even with paper in hand, it’s easy for someone to lose count. Not to mention, it’s one less employee available to keep up with the store’s rigid new sanitation needs.
Time-of-flight overhead people counters made it possible for stores to handle their occupancy counting automatically. Paired with the right software, an overhead door counter device can track capacity in real time. Convenient interfaces can tell employees and customers how many people are in the store and how many more can enter. As soon as this technology became available early on in the pandemic, it exploded onto the retail scene.
Here at Traf-Sys, we offer our clients the SafeEntry occupant monitoring systems. As retailers continue to recognize capacity limits as a long-term reality, we’ve seen more and more businesses adopting this cutting-edge technology. Live capacity monitoring has undoubtedly seen an enormous uptick in attention recently. And it’s more than just a fad. This technology has both immediate and long-term benefits that will continue to serve businesses long after the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us.
If people counters are new territory for your business, you’ll be glad to know that they can benefit your business in multiple ways. Here are just some of the benefits of people counting systems:
1. Improves Safety
The most immediate need for many businesses is following safety regulations. If your state has capacity rules for retailers, you need a way to count who enters and exits your building. An accurate system lets you serve the most customers possible while remaining safe and compliant.
The SafeEntry capacity monitoring systems have many features that make it easier to maintain safe building occupancy to meet different retailer’s safety requirements and budgets. The SafeEntry system lets employees input manual data on smartphones, tablets, or computers and tally the building’s current occupancy instantly. As the next step up, the system uses the latest overhead counting technology, the Vector 4D sensor, to track occupancy in real time.
Some of the safety features of these systems include:
Real-time data and alerts: The SafeEntry system update in real-time. The system can also alert you when your store is nearing or at capacity.
Customizable occupancy limits: With the changing regulations and phased reopening plans, your capacity limits may change. Our occupancy tracking software lets you set and change your thresholds as needed.
Filtering for staff and children: Some states count children in their occupancy rules, while other states do not. The Vector 4D sensor can approximate heights and count children separately from adults. Special, anonymous lanyards allow you to include or exclude staff members within your occupancy counts.
Employee-facing interface: The employee-facing visuals tell employees how many people it is safe to admit and your current capacity. It will also provide a chart of your occupancy throughout the day. This simple interface takes the guesswork out of monitoring capacity. When occupancy is low, employees can focus their attention on other duties. They’ll receive alerts when your occupancy is approaching its limit so they can manage the situation.
Customer-facing interface: A customer-facing screen shows visitors if it’s safe to enter and how many people are inside. This lets your customers know you’re taking social distancing guidelines seriously. They can also make informed decisions about their safety when entering your store.
2. Improves Customer Service
Live occupancy data can help stores improve their service in real time. For years, historical traffic patterns have helped store managers improve shopping experiences. Live data improves this analysis and helps stores handle unexpected rushes. When capacity is high, stores can use their alerts to focus their attention where it’s needed most. When traffic suddenly shoots up, store managers know to place more people on registers and get more shopping carts clean and ready to use.
Tracking traffic data over time provides insights stores can use to improve the customer experience. For example, stores can identify their most popular entrances and optimize their layout for each entrance’s traffic flow.
3. Provides Useful Data
Besides occupancy tracking, people counters offer data that business owners can analyze to make smarter decisions. Store marketers use foot traffic data to measure conversion rates. When you compare your daily foot traffic to the number of transactions, you can pinpoint your conversion rate. This data illuminates how in-store marketing, layouts and product selection influence sales.
Foot traffic data is also helpful for facilities managers. It helps them set maintenance schedules that coincide with how often certain areas get used. Businesses can also use visitor data to schedule employees around predicted busy times.
Manual People Counting
Many retailers have relied on manual people counting methods to gather foot traffic and conversion data in the past. These manual methods have become much more challenging to manage. Retailers using manual counting methods use one of three tools:
1. Pen and Paper
Paper and pencil is the least sophisticated and least accurate way to count people. With this method, an employee stands by the door and makes tally marks as people enter the building. If you have several entrances, you need one employee at each door to tally visitors. This method is acceptable for approximating a daily visitor count. If store employees start a new tally at the start of every hour, they may be able to approximate hourly visitor counts.
It’s not easy to use this method for real-time occupancy tracking. To monitor capacity, you need to keep track of people entering alongside those exiting. Pen and paper could never keep up with a constant flow of traffic moving in and out. If traffic is less consistent, employees could do the math while the entrance is empty. If your store has many entrances, they would then have to reconcile this math with the employees stationed at the other doorways.
In any case, this method is subject to the most human error. Even if you’re just looking for daily visitor counts, humans make mistakes. They could get distracted, accidentally count someone twice, or lose track of their count while talking to a customer. They could also forget to mark someone down after counting them in their head.
2. Tally Counters
The next step up from paper and pencil, a tally counter, is a small mechanical counting device. It looks like a small odometer or a combination lock. With the click of a button, the number wheels rotate to display a count. An electronic tally counter may display a plus and minus button, making it easier to track occupancy.
As with pen and paper, it’s difficult to use a tally counter for detailed insights. To keep a current occupancy count, the user would have to turn back the dial whenever someone left the store or use a separate counter to track people leaving. To track hourly visitors, someone would have to write down their counts every hour. When employees are stationed at many entrances, they would have to reconcile the data often.
Manual store counters work best to track daily visitors. Like pen and paper, this method is subject to human error. Employees get distracted, second-guess themselves and stop to assist customers.
3. The SafeEntry System
Digitizing the tally counter is the most efficient way to take a manual count. The SafeEntry occupancy monitoring software gives stores more sophisticated data than a tally counter. It works similarly, except it’s a digital people counting app compatible with your existing phones, tablets and computers.
Employees stand at each entrance and tap separate buttons to mark people coming in and out. The software automatically calculates the combined in and out totals at each entry. This feature lets employees at every door see a synchronized occupant count and the number of people it’s safe to admit.
This system allows stores to implement more accurate manual occupancy tracking quickly. It requires no additional hardware and gives you live data as your employees count customers. Because it connects to unlimited entrances, employees can make decisions on who to admit with complete visibility. You can set occupancy thresholds and adjust them as local guidelines and store policies change.
An automated people counter tracks visitors without staff members standing at the door. Depending on the system, an automatic counting device can achieve up to 99% accuracy. Any device easily outweighs manual counting. By not having to pay someone by the hour to track your visitors, you can save a lot in the long run. Plus, with automatic counters, you can gain more detailed and valuable insights. These sophisticated systems can connect with software that graphs traffic by the day and by the hour and compares visitor counts between locations.
Automatic people counting systems generally come in horizontal or overhead counters.
Horizontal counters count visitors by projecting an infrared beam across a doorway. They count visitors by how many times the beam breaks. Some horizontal counters can even sense whether people are coming or going.
Overhead counters track the number and direction of the people passing below them. They use camera lenses, thermal imagers or infrared time-of-flight sensors to count people.
Automatic people counters offer many benefits to many industries, including:
Retail stores: To make sales, retailers need to first get people in the door. Then, they must convince visitors to make a purchase. Retail traffic counters track how many people enter the store and how that number changes over time. This can measure the effectiveness of promotions and signage. By comparing their traffic to the number of transactions, retailers can determine their conversion rate. This data indicates how effective their layout, sales staff and in-store signage are. They can also use the data to schedule staff around busy and slow times.
Shopping malls: Malls use people counters to aid real-estate negotiations with retailers. They can back up daily visitor counts with reliable data and show prospective tenants how many visitors use each entrance. They can also use this data to position security staff around their busiest entry points and times of the day.
Libraries, museums and other public facilities: Public spaces use visitor counts to support funding requests. The data lets them justify their costs based on how many visitors will benefit. Libraries can use this data to understand their circulation rate in relation to how many people visit. Traffic data also helps facilities managers optimize their supplies and staffing.
Casinos: Casinos need automatic people counters because they deal with huge crowds. They also don’t often issue receipts to track their visitors. They can use people counters to determine what buildings and areas of the facility see the most traffic and how their promotional efforts affect visitors.
Universities: Colleges need to make sure the buildings and spaces they invest in will benefit their students. They want to make sure students use them to their fullest and identify underutilized amenities to repurpose. Traffic counters let them find out how visitors use their spaces. They can pinpoint their peak traffic and compare counts between buildings and entrances.
Manual vs. Automatic People Counters
If you’re trying to decide between manual and automatic people counting systems, it’s helpful to compare the two directly. Manual and automatic people counters both offer some advantageous features. Let’s examine how the two stack up.
Manual people counting, whether by paper or a handheld tally counter, is not very accurate. Some estimates say it’s inaccurate by as much as 15%, meaning staff will count only 85% of people accurately. For such a resource-intensive process, that level of accuracy might be unacceptable.
Many factors can influence accuracy. First, it relies on individual employees. Seasoned employees may learn that no one double-checks their counts, so they don’t worry about accuracy. New employees may also make mistakes. In some cases, store managers may direct their employees to count inaccurately. A lower count makes their conversion rate look better, so some store managers have the motivation to tweak the numbers to their liking.
Meanwhile, staff members have many distractions throughout the day. A customer asking a question can break their focus, and chatting with coworkers divides their attention. During shift changes and breaks, some visitors may get missed. A worker who didn’t get enough sleep or is experiencing issues in their personal life may also lose focus. Even someone who is determined and concentrated on counting correctly can make mistakes. After all, they’re only human.
The most accurate manual counting method is the SafeEntry occupancy counting system. Since it automatically reconciles data from all entrances, there’s less chance for arithmetic errors. Still, its accuracy depends on the staff members inputting data on the app.
Manual counting can’t compare to an automatic system. Each counting device can boast accuracy between 95% and 99%. REMOVE sentence: The Vector 4D time-of-flight sensor provides an impressive 99.5% accuracy. Automatic counters are consistent. They don’t get distracted, and they don’t need adequate sleep to perform their best. They never take breaks, meaning they work continuously to give you the most accurate data.
Automatic people counters come in many different configurations. They can perform well in many people-counting environments. While employees will have difficulty counting in dense crowds, an overhead sensor can handle it easily.
Thermal sensors work well in low-light conditions, common at casinos and restaurants. Mono and stereo sensors offer excellent performance in fluctuating temperatures. They’re well suited for outdoor environments and entrances that connect to the outdoors. Horizontal sensors can provide improved accuracy over manual counting for a lower cost than overhead sensors. Many automatic sensors have the option for wired and wireless configurations. They can work whether you have a power outlet nearby or not.
Manual people counting through pen and paper or a mechanical tally counter is only well-suited to provide daily traffic counts. It’s harder to use these manual techniques to track hourly traffic or real-time occupancy. A tally counter application, such as the SafeEntry system, can count traffic in real time across many entrances and provide data for further analysis.
Automatic occupancy monitoring systems, offer much deeper reporting and analysis. For example, the Vector 4D sensor can track the heights of visitors with incredible accuracy. This measurement can help you estimate how many children and adult visitors you receive.
Outside of capacity tracking, automatic people counters have the most reporting capabilities. They can link to the VisiCount people counting software, which provides a wealth of custom reports. View graphs of your visitors throughout the day or across specific date ranges. Compare visitor counts at various locations or entrances, and drill down into the traffic data at a particular site. Weather and Special Events Reports analyze your traffic based on some of the factors that affect visitor patterns.
Comparing the costs of manual vs. automatic people counters can get kind of tricky. While there’s little upfront investment to use a manual counting system, you’re paying a constant price in the form of hourly wages. If you have many entrances or locations, manual counting can get very costly over time.
Installing an automatic people counter will require an upfront expenditure. That investment will pay for itself over time. You won’t have to pay employees to count your traffic, and you get more reliable data and reporting. The improved accuracy and sophisticated insights help you make better decisions for your business. By optimizing staffing, you’re not paying for more coverage during ordinarily slow times. By understanding your conversion rates, you can make incremental improvements over time that lead to more sales.
Should You Make the Switch to an Automatic People Counting System?
Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you decide whether to make the switch:
1. Do You Need to Meet Safety Regulations?
If you’re using people counting to manage your occupancy, consider upgrading to the SafeEntry system. This program still uses manual data entry while synchronizing data across entrances to improve accuracy.
Leveraging the automatic Vector 4D people counter gives you reliable data to reduce your staff’s counting burden. This sophisticated sensor can also provide valuable data beyond occupancy tracking for long-term success.
2. How Complicated Are Your Needs?
Typically, the more complicated your traffic counting needs, the more you stand to benefit from an upgrade. When your business sees large crowds, it’s harder for your manual people counting staff to keep up. If you have many entry points, it becomes more expensive to station employees at every doorway. In these situations, an automatic people counter will give you much higher accuracy.
3. What Can You Afford?
Depending on how you run your business, you’re probably better off with an automatic people counter. It’s a higher upfront investment with a better long-term return on that investment (ROI). However, some companies don’t have the budget for such an expenditure. Still, they can justify hiring more staff.
If you can’t make a more significant investment upfront, note that you’ll pay more over time to keep staff members at your entrance during business hours. Automatic people counters come in many price ranges, so you can still benefit from an automated system with a lower upfront cost.
4. How Sophisticated Does Your Data Need to Be?
Automated people counters offer much more reliable and insightful data. The more information you have, the more your business decisions will benefit. However, if your business doesn’t see a lot of traffic, you might not need highly sophisticated data to know when your peaks are and how many visitors you host each day. For hourly traffic patterns, invest in an automated system.
Get a Free Quote on Your People Counting System
At Traf-Sys, we offer people-counting solutions to fit many business needs. We have both horizontal and overhead people counting sensors for various budgets, entrance configurations and use cases. We can help any business gather insights for marketing, facilities management and staffing.
To discuss which people counting system is right for you, feel free to contact our team. We can provide you with a free quote within one business day.
People counting technology empowers businesses across industries to make better decisions. When you understand how many people visit on different days, you can optimize everything from your staffing to your energy usage. Learn whether your visitors are making purchases or just browsing. See if your latest promotions bring more people in the door. Find out which entrances get the most traffic, and get many more valuable insights.
If you’re new to people counting, you may have many questions about the benefits and uses of people counters, alongside the options available. We’ve put together this people counter resource guide to help you get started.
Determine Your People Counting Needs
You might use people counters for many purposes. They offer actionable data for many industries. Depending on your goals, you may need different hardware or software included in your people counting system. To narrow down your options and figure out how to choose a people counter, ask yourself these questions:
1. Do I Need to Optimize Staffing?
An overview of your usual traffic density can help you plan your staff schedules more effectively. Knowing when your daily rushes and slow times fall and the days or months when you get the most customers can help you schedule the correct number of employees for every shift. As you watch your average visitor count grow over time, you’ll know when it’s time to hire new team members. A people counting system with real-time or hourly data offers the best solution.
2. Do I Need to Optimize Space Utilization?
Some businesses use their people counters to determine how many people visit each day. Others need to know which rooms or areas get lots of traffic and which ones aren’t attracting enough visitors. Facilities managers may want to track heavily-used rooms to plan maintenance activities, conserve energy or maximize space usage. Here, you may need linked visitor counters to track occupancy at various buildings across your property or to compare traffic at separate entrances and rooms within a single building.
This data can tell workplaces and universities whether they have the room to hire more team members or admit more students. It also reveals whether a facility needs more of a particular type of space, such as an extra meeting room.
Real-time occupancy data is also becoming increasingly crucial for space utilization. For example, offices may need to limit meeting rooms to 10 or fewer employees at a time.
Real-time data can also enhance facilities management. It can link to an HVAC and Building Management System, saving energy by heating and cooling parts of the building based on whether they’re occupied. It can also integrate with a room booking system. This information tells employees in real-time if the space they need is free and whether or not the current occupants reserved it.
If this real-time occupancy data is important for your facility, you’ll need a Time of Flight people counter, like the Vector 4D sensor, and real-time occupancy monitoring software.
3. What Marketing Metrics Do I Want to Look At?
Businesses that count their customers need to look at a few different metrics. Retail stores in particular use people counters to measure their conversion rates. Looking at your total visitors compared to your total transactions lets you understand your store’s conversion rates. Other businesses want to track foot traffic to gauge marketing success. Are specific promotions getting more people in the door? Think about the marketing metrics you’re most interested in as you evaluate software interfaces and reporting capabilities.
4. Do I Need Data Daily, Hourly or in Real Time?
Some businesses are best off with a simple daily count. If you’re not too concerned with your daily peaks and off-times, straightforward hardware should cover your needs. If you need hourly totals, a more accurate directional or overhead counter is essential. Monitoring current occupancy requires software for real-time tracking.
5. What Degree of Accuracy Do I Need?
Most businesses prefer the precision and accuracy of overhead people counters. These counters provide more accurate counts by distinguishing between people and shopping carts. Wide entrances, where many people pass through at once, require an overhead setup so visitors can’t go undetected. Sophisticated systems can even distinguish between children and adult visitors.
6. Do I Have the Capacity for Wired or Wireless Solutions?
A wired people counting system relies on a standard 110V power outlet. Many businesses prefer a wired option, so they don’t have to worry about replacing the batteries. However, a plug-in people counter costs a bit more. A more affordable wireless solution can use a battery or Power over Ethernet.
Choosing the Right People Counter for Your Industry
Every industry has slightly different needs from its people counting systems. Everything from the layout to the doorway width used in particular businesses can affect people counter hardware selection.
Grocery stores, retail chains and independent shops can use people counters to analyze their daily traffic. Using a traffic counter gives you unique insights. It can give you a conversion rate, letting you know how many visitors make it to the checkout. Retailers can also use people counters to understand their rushes and slow periods or to manage occupancy.
Top people counter solutions for retailers include:
The SafeEntry Occupancy Monitoring system
Gazelle Series People Counter
Spectrum Series 3D People Counter
Eclipse Video Sensor
2. Shopping Centers
Shopping centers need to track building-wide traffic for real-estate insights. They can charge higher rent and attract new tenants if they have data showing that the mall as a whole or a particular entrance sees many visitors each day. Shopping centers have many entrances, which are usually wider than a standard doorway. They need overhead people counting solutions such as:
The SafeEntry Occupancy Monitoring system
Eclipse Video Sensor
Gazelle Series Thermal People Counter
Spectrum Series 3D People Counter
Libraries provide a vital public service, offering books, internet access, technology and programming to their communities. Since they are publicly funded, they need to understand how the community uses their services. A library can use people counter data to understand circulation, support funding requests or track attendance at events.
For libraries, we recommend hardware such as:
Gazelle Series Thermal People Counter
Spectrum Series 3D People Counter
Eclipse Video Sensor
Since casinos don’t ticket their visitors, people counters are the most reliable way to understand their traffic patterns. Casinos can use people counters to optimize staffing and security personnel and see which areas of the resort attract the most visitors.
Casinos generally have wide doorways and dim lighting conditions. Their traffic counters must prioritize accuracy. Our Casino customers prefer hardware such as:
Gazelle Series Thermal People Counter
Spectrum Series 3D People Counter
Many museums don’t require tickets or offer free entry to students. People counters help museums understand who is walking through their doors. They can also install them throughout their exhibit entries to get a picture of which rooms have the biggest draw.
Museums can benefit from many types of people counting hardware, including:
Gazelle Series Thermal People Counter
Spectrum Series 3D People Counter
Eclipse Video Sensor
6. University Campuses
College campuses have many amenities and buildings with unique traffic patterns. Besides classrooms, they also feature dorms and dining halls, event venues, meeting spaces, laboratories and more. Each building sees different usage. Busy times ebb and flow throughout the day. With people counting data, university facilities managers see when and where students and visitors congregate to manage their buildings better. They can help universities plan their spaces to be most accessible to their users and track attendance at events.
Depending on their needs, universities can use people counters such as:
Gazelle Series Thermal People Counter
Eclipse Video Sensor
Spectrum Series 3D People Counter
7. Offices and Commercial Buildings
Commercial spaces can use people counters to aid space utilization. They can find the best layouts and place amenities where people will use them. They can identify when they need more space and better manage maintenance operations by linking their people counting data to HVAC controls. Real-time occupancy trackers can also help offices follow social distancing protocols.
Hospital facilities managers can choose from people counters such as:
Spectrum Series 3D People Counter
Gazelle Series Thermal People Counter
Eclipse Video Sensor
When people visit the bank or ATM, they want to get in and out as soon as possible. Banks need to move lines quickly and have enough staff to handle their expected busy periods. They can also use people counters to compare performance across branches and measure marketing effectiveness. Real-time occupancy tracking can help banks identify areas where people congregate so they can adjust layouts as needed.
People counting sensors break down into overhead and horizontal devices. Each type offers unique advantages and several hardware models to choose from. This people counter guide breaks down the two options available.
1. Overhead People Counting Devices
Overhead people counters mount to the ceiling in front of the entrance. In general, overhead counters are more reliable because they can distinguish moving objects as separate entities. Some are sophisticated enough to discount shopping carts and identify children. The available models include:
Eclipse Video Sensor: Video sensors are excellent at accommodating temperature changes and most retail lighting conditions. Video sensors also offer broader coverage, which is ideal for double-wide entrances. The Eclipse Video Sensor offers decent reliability for an affordable price. Each unit includes a single lens.
Spectrum Series 3D People Counter Video Sensors: Spectrum video sensors use two lenses. They have excellent depth perception, similar to human vision. The extra lens gives these units incredible accuracy. Within the Spectrum series, choose from the standard indoor model, the outdoor model and the high-mount model that can reach up to 29.5 feet.
Gazelle Series Thermal Imaging People Counters: Thermal sensors detect body heat and don’t require light. This feature makes them ideal for low-light environments. The Gazelle DualView combines a thermal imager and video sensor, automatically verifying its own counts. The Gazelle IP is a standalone thermal sensor. It can be used in sensitive environments where video recording is not an option, like public restrooms.
2. Horizontal People Counting Devices
Horizontal people counters project a laser beam across your entryway. Whenever someone passes through, they break the beam, registering that someone has entered or exited. They’re more affordable than overhead sensors but less accurate. If two people pass through the beam at once, only one may get counted. Still, they offer sufficient accuracy for many applications and businesses that need a low-cost solution.
Horizontal people counters come in several models, each offering distinct advantages. They include:
Z-900 Unidirectional: The Z-900 can cover up to 20 feet of entryway. It can count traffic without any additional software, transmitting its data up to 500 feet. Since it only uses one beam, it cannot tell what direction someone is walking. To total your traffic, take the Z-900’s daily number and divide it in two.
OmniCounter: The OmniCounter uses two beams to count traffic. It senses whether someone is coming or going by which beam breaks first. By measuring directional traffic, it can give you accurate counts throughout the day. It can cover a doorway up to 16 feet wide.
Z-WiFi: The Z-WiFi connects to your WiFi to offer a wireless counting solution. Like the Z-900, its beam can reach up to 20 feet.
What’s the Next Step?
Whether you’ve decided that a people counter is right for you or are still on the fence, we have plenty of resources to help you make an informed decision. Here are a few steps you can take:
1. Learn More With Our eBook Library
People counters can serve many purposes to many functions of your business. Your marketing department may use them to track how their campaigns and promotions influence foot traffic, and your facilities managers can use them to save energy throughout your building and allocate resources appropriately. Your managers can use them to schedule more staff on busy days or during peak hours, and your security team can use them to place security personnel where they’re needed most.
So many roles and departments can benefit from a people counter. Learning how it can benefit many departments can help you justify the investment and get everyone on board with the new technology. Besides the many uses for people counters for your business, they serve unique purposes for various industries. Check out our people counting eBook library to learn more about the general business and industry-specific benefits of visitor counters.
2. Weigh Your Hardware Options
At Traf-Sys, we offer many hardware options to cater to many different business needs, entry layouts and counting conditions. Explore our product pages to get an in-depth look at what each sensor provides.
Some people counters require no software to give you raw visitor data. To get the most out of your data, we recommend pairing your hardware with the VisiCount software. It provides deeper analysis and custom reporting. Compare two periods or the traffic patterns at separate entrances. Link it with other data like sales and staffing to get more marketing and scheduling insights.
If you need real-time occupancy tracking, consider the SafeEntry occupancy monitoring system. This software integrates with your people counters to give you real-time data on your current occupancy. You can set custom thresholds and see how many people it’s safe to admit at any given time.
4. Answer Your Remaining Questions
Still have questions about people counting systems? Visit our frequently asked questions page. There, we answer questions related to battery life, the different types and uses of people counters, and how they work.
What Sets Traf-Sys Apart
Traf-Sys has installed people counting systems for more than 17,000 locations. Our software and support have helped businesses from retail shopping centers, commercial buildings and universities to museums, casinos and libraries understand their visitors by the numbers.
We set ourselves apart with benefits such as the following:
1. Support You Can Count On
Our customer care team and level of support are top-notch. Our support specialists average 10 years or more of experience. We believe careful installation is the key to long-lasting operation and accuracy. That’s why our installation team tailors each job to the environment and your goals. We aim our sensors for maximum coverage and can complete installation with minimal disruptions to your business.
Every building and industry has different needs. Different doorway widths and numbers of entrances require a thoughtful approach. When installing new technologies, buildings with historical significance and other sensitive environments need special considerations. Meanwhile, different industries use their people counting systems for various purposes. Some industries need data to plan their facilities and staffing schedules. Others need to track marketing campaign success.
We specialize in highly custom installations. We can count the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City among our satisfied clients with challenging people counting environments. We’ve also installed people counters for independently owned Harley Davidson dealerships around the country. For this job, we designed a system that accommodates each dealership’s unique layout, architecture and IT system.
3. Experience and Knowledge
With nearly 20 years of service, our company is a trusted people counting system provider. We have the experience and knowledge to complete your project well. Throughout our company’s history, we’ve continued introducing new technologies that solve today’s challenges.
4. Easy-to-Use Software
Our software is flexible and easy to integrate into your existing systems. Because it’s web-based, you never need to update it. Pull custom reports, look at an overview of your locations or dive into the details at a single site with ease. We offer two software solutions to solve your company’s needs. First, VisiCount analyzes your visitor data, turning raw numbers into visual graphs and custom reports.
If you need real-time occupancy tracking, consider our SafeEntry occupant monitoring software. This tool lets you set custom occupancy thresholds while displaying real-time data for your employees or customers to see. It can also push real-time alerts for in-the-moment decision-making.
5. Advice to Get the Most Out of Your People Counting System
If you’re new to people counting, it helps to have an expert in your corner. With 20 years in the business and clients spanning many industries, we can help you make sense of your data. First, we can help you determine what system you need. Once your installation is complete, we can advise you on how to put your data into action. Start using your people counting data to improve revenue and profits while reducing costs.
Contact Traf-Sys Today
If you have any more questions or are ready to move forward with a people counting system for your business, contact the Traf-Sys team today. We’re happy to tell you more about our products, offer advice and suggestions and provide you with a free quote.
Many industries use people counters as a way to understand what their daily traffic looks like. A store uses people counters to understand their busy times and their overall conversion rate. Libraries use people counters to understand their circulation in the context of how many visitors they have. Shopping centers, malls and other commercial property owners use people counters to gauge the desirability of their properties to retailers and set rents. In public spaces, colleges and universities, people counters track space utilization to assist with funding and resource distribution.
Businesses across sectors use people counters to get reliable data about their visitors and traffic patterns. They can apply this data to serve many purposes, which makes people counters so useful and versatile.
What Is Foot Traffic?
Foot traffic is a metric many businesses use to understand how many people entered a specific location. Retailers use it to determine how many potential customers were in their store during a given time frame. Commercial landlords, especially those in shopping malls, use foot traffic to determine rent for retail locations. Retail space can command higher rent if more people pass by regularly.
Many businesses are familiar with traffic in how it relates to a website. Online, traffic is equal to the number of people who visited a website or particular page. Marketers use many tactics to drive traffic online, and the visitor count determines their success. An e-retailer looks at site traffic in relation to how many visitors placed an online order to learn how effective their website is at driving sales. Foot traffic is that same metric translated into the physical retail space.
Retailers use foot traffic to gain many useful insights. It lets them see when their peak hours are. They can also understand their conversion rate and lost sales opportunities. If a product doesn’t sell well during peak hours, it might be taking up valuable shelf space. A store can also correlate their business traffic to other events to see how they influence visitor counts. Boosting foot traffic is key to increasing sales, so understanding how visitor numbers rise and fall is critical.
How Do People Counters Measure Foot Traffic?
Online traffic is easy to measure. Most websites show their owners traffic graphs by default. To gain the same level of clarity over their visitor counts, physical businesses need to implement a people counting system.
One way to do this is to have someone count visitors with pen and paper or a handheld tally counter. The manual method is the least accurate and efficient. The staff member charged with counting visitors must be solely focused on counting people to avoid miscounts. Manual counting increases your labor expenses and limits staff productivity. If you have multiple store entrances, manual counting gets quite unwieldy. Even if staff members are incredibly focused, they’re still inclined to make errors because the task is so rote.
Electronic people counting systems boast 95%-99% accuracy and require no extra labor power to give you accurate counts. They measure business traffic and space utilization using either overhead or horizontal sensors. Overhead sensors go directly above the entrance and scan a predetermined zone in front of the door to identify pedestrians. They filter out shelves, carts, children and sometimes staff members to give you an accurate count. They also look at the direction of movement to separate those entering from those exiting. Overhead sensors might incorporate one or two video camera lenses, a thermal sensor or an infrared sensor.
Horizontal sensors work by projecting a break beam across the door frame. Whenever something passes through, it counts as a person. Anything tall enough to break the beam, including a loaded shopping cart, will be counted. Horizontal sensors can be uni-directional, meaning they count a person any time the beam breaks. In that case, you divide your final count by two to determine your actual traffic. They can also be bi-directional, where two parallel laser beams span the doorway. Whichever beam breaks first determines whether the pedestrian is entering or exiting.
People counters might give you a count by the hour or at the end of the day, depending on the system’s accuracy. Some types of overhead sensors can even track your foot traffic in real-time.
When you use automated people counters, you can access your foot traffic data via software. The software can break down your foot traffic into custom periods to compare traffic during a promotion or time of year to another. Analyze your data by the entrance to decide how to arrange your entrance displays. The software lets you import sales data to generate conversion rates and staffing data to track productivity in the context of traffic. You can also correlate traffic data to weather patterns or other external factors right from the software.
What Other Metrics Do People Counters Measure?
People counters measure more than just foot traffic. By counting the number of people visiting a business location, people counters can give you insights into:
A conversion rate is the number of transactions divided by the number of people who visit a store. Retailers used to assume most people who entered their store were buying something. When people counters become popular, the numbers told a different story. While the numbers remain hard to pin down, since not all stores track traffic accurately or at all, the industry average rests around a 20% conversion rate.
Understanding your conversion rate, rather than just your raw sales data, gives you an idea of how many sales opportunities you had. Even a 1% increase in conversions can have a tremendous impact on your bottom line. The only way to improve is to understand how your promotions, store, signage and other factors raise and decrease your conversion rates.
Average Transaction Value (ATV)
One way retailers can increase their revenue is to increase the basket size or amount of money individual shoppers spend per visit. This amount represents your ATV — your net sales divided by the number of transactions. Your point-of-sale (POS) system might generate your ATV automatically. Otherwise, you can calculate the figure manually. While you don’t need a people counter to access your ATV, you’ll benefit from aggregating foot traffic with your ATV and comparing these two metrics.
A 2011 academic study found increasing in-store traffic by just one unit increased average sales volume per hour by $9.97. Many factors can contribute to your average transaction value, and traffic is undoubtedly one of them. Understanding how traffic affects basket size in your store helps you maximize your revenue.
Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
It’s impossible to understand your customer acquisition cost without understanding your traffic and conversion rate. Any marketing you do, whether on or off the premises, determines how many people come through the door. Then, the marketing within the store, product selection and layout determine who converts. All the costs that go into marketing divided by the number of customers acquired represent your CAC.
The data used to determine your CAC can come from your marketing budget and your POS system. It’s crucial to look at this number in light of your foot traffic to identify areas to lower your CAC. If you’re spending a lot of marketing budget getting people in the door, and they aren’t converting in-store, you may need to adjust your strategy. Increasing your conversion rate may lower your CAC.
Benefits of People Counters for Businesses
Retailers, librarians, facilities managers, landlords, hoteliers and anyone with a physical business location can use people counting technology. No matter your business, you’ll benefit from knowing how many people visit you and when. Foot traffic data offers businesses across industries actionable information. Here’s why your business needs a people counter:
Better Understand Business Performance
Seeing your foot traffic and conversion rate lets you know how effectively your business is performing. If a different marketing strategy or employee-to-customer ratio impacts traffic or conversions, you know about it from your foot traffic reports.
You can also compare the performance of one location to another. Are all your sites earning traffic in equal measure as a result of your marketing? Or, are some of your stores consistently pulling in more foot traffic? When you know which stores are drawing in the most customers, you can investigate what factors are at play so you can boost performance at other locations.
Improve Customer Experience
Peak hours sometimes correlate with your shoppers’ needs. For example, a store with peak shopping hours on weekends might cater to “shoppertainment.” Shoppers on weekends may be more interested in having an enjoyable, leisurely visit. A store with peak traffic after business hours on workdays needs a different approach. It might focus on helping shoppers quickly find what they need so they can get home sooner.
When you know your peak shopping hours, you can design a customer experience for the people shopping. It also lets you optimize staffing, so your store runs smoothly during busy times, improving customer experience.
Evaluate Signage and Promotional Success
Is your latest promotion driving more traffic to your location? Is your new sign drawing in passersby from around the plaza? Foot traffic data lets you know if your out-of-store promotions make an impact. Knowing your conversion rate, you’ll also see how your in-store displays affect sales in proportion to traffic. Based on how your traffic and conversions rise and fall, you can tweak your business marketing strategies to find the winning formula.
Compare Digital vs. Physical Traffic
Different types of marketing strategies for small businesses will have different effects on your customers’ behavior. For instance, some of your promotions drive traffic to your website and others to your brick-and-mortar location. Do the same factors that increase your physical traffic give you some lift online? Do you gain more online visitors when in-store traffic is low? Comparing your online and offline visitors lets you better understand your customer journey. Foot traffic shows you how your promotions influence shopping behavior across selling channels.
Understand External Factors That Affect Your Business
Anything from the weather and season to the economy and consumer trends can influence your traffic. Bad weather can impact sales by 23.1%, primarily due to the lowered foot traffic. While these factors are out of your control, knowing how they influence your traffic lets you prepare.
For instance, weather-themed sales, such as for rain clothing or beach fashion, can increase by 40.7% based on the weather. Knowing how weather affects your traffic and conversions in particular product categories helps you make the most out of weather events. You might orchestrate a last-minute sale on bathing suits or fans in anticipation of a heat wave. If snowstorms tend to make business slow, you can move your staff schedule around in anticipation. Likewise, if an annual parade in your area brings in more foot traffic, you can prepare with promotions to attract paradegoers.
Ideally, you want to schedule only as many team members as needed to cover the number of shoppers you have. If you’re understaffed, you’ll miss sales opportunities. Too few cashiers will increase lines at the register, which may turn away customers. Too few stockers may mean you run out of popular items and won’t sell as many as your customers demand. Overstaffing your store means you’ll spend more on labor than you need to.
Knowing what your traffic looks like by the day and by the hour lets you schedule staff most effectively. Once you’ve been using people counting for a year or two, you’ll start to anticipate your seasonal rushes, letting you optimize temporary staffing, too.
A people counter is an essential part of your loss prevention system if you know how to read your foot traffic reports. First, you’ll establish a baseline for how much revenue you can expect in a given period as correlated with your foot traffic. Let’s say you usually average about $500 in sales between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Sundays, with usual foot traffic of 50 people.
If you get around 60 visitors one Sunday and sales revenue stays at around $500, the cause may be shoplifting. Your traffic data also shows you if more people used a particular entrance, like the one closest to electronics. If something like this shows up on your foot traffic reports, it’s a good idea to review your security footage during that sales window.
Video-based people counters can even supplement your regular security cameras.
Evaluate Business Expansion Opportunities
When you track foot traffic at your location, you’re armed with more knowledge regarding expanding. Since many commercial landlords track foot traffic, you can compare your current traffic numbers to those cited at a potential rental location. Predict whether a new site will be as profitable as your first based on the foot traffic data.
While there are two main categories of people counters, each has a few different options. Horizontal sensors give you a choice between bi-directional and uni-directional counting. Overhead sensors all offer multi-directional data, with either thermal and image-based counting. Each of these options provides a unique set of advantages and drawbacks.
Horizontal Wired and Wireless Counting Systems
Horizontal counting systems count people based on how many breaks in the horizontal laser beam they sense. These are the most basic and inexpensive automatic people counters. They might use bi- or uni-directional data to give you a count. Since horizontal sensors go along the doorframes of each entrance, they are fast and easy to install.
The downside of horizontal counting systems is their accuracy. Since they only have a linear range, miscounts are more likely. Two people walking abreast may be counted as one. A tall child accompanying an adult shopper might be counted as another potential shopper. If your sensor makes a noise when it senses a passerby, you might get children falsely triggering the sensor for fun.
A uni-directional sensor also makes it harder to pinpoint peak shopping hours. For example, say you take counts every hour using a uni-directional sensor. Every hour, on the hour, you divide your hourly count in two. Let’s say 25 people visited your location in a given hour, and many showed up in the last half of the hour. By the time the hour is up, only five of those 25 people have left the store. A uni-directional sensor would give you a count of 30. You would divide that in two, leaving you with 15. You would wrongly estimate you had 15 visitors during the hour when your traffic was 25.
Because of their accuracy limitations, a horizontal people counter is best for doorways narrower than 10 to 15 feet maximum. They also work better for low-density entrances, making them an affordable option for small businesses. Horizontal counters come in both wired and wireless versions. If you have outlets handy near each entry, you can plug your sensors in at a standard 110-volt power outlet. All the horizontal counters can be battery-powered, giving you a year or more of operation between replacements.
Overhead Counting Systems
Overhead sensors have a bird’s eye view of your entrance area. Since they cover the zones in front of your entrances and identify people individually, they give a more detailed view of your customers. They sense directional flow, so they automatically discount people exiting the store. They can also give you an idea of where your traffic is headed, whether that’s forward, to the right or to the left. Two types of technology can power overhead counting systems — thermal and video sensors. These two technologies can even integrate, so one verifies the other’s accuracy.
No matter which type you choose, you can gain distinct benefits from an overhead sensor. They’re an excellent option for locations with wide entrances and a large physical layout. Overhead sensors are more accurate and can filter out shopping carts and children.
Thermal Overhead Sensors
Thermal overhead sensors use thermal imaging technology to detect people entering and exiting. These systems use body heat, so they can’t accidentally count a cart or another object. Since thermal cameras don’t use light, they work equally well in low-light settings like restaurants and in direct sunlight.
Another benefit of thermal overhead sensors is they have an impressive 95% accuracy. They can cover wide entrances and integrate with detectors at other doors.
One downside to thermal sensors is they are more expensive than basic horizontal counters. Compared to video cameras, they have a smaller field of vision and a lower resolution. As a result, they’re less accurate at identifying children. One other disadvantage is they can only track people in motion. A display near the entrance that causes people to stop can affect the system’s accuracy.
Video-Based Overhead Sensors
The other type of overhead sensor is a system using a camera lens. These overhead counters can provide video footage of your store traffic. The sensor and corresponding software automatically generate traffic data. You also have up to 10 days of stored footage, which you can access for more in-depth analysis. Since the technology is video-based, it can even act as a backup for your security cameras.
Video sensors come in two types — single and dual-lens cameras. The dual cameras offer binocular vision for greater depth perception, while single-lens systems are more affordable. While they are most expensive to implement, video sensors provide excellent accuracy. They can filter out carts, strollers and children from your results with precision.
How to Choose the Right People Counter for Your Business
Your business will likely benefit from all the fantastic metrics available to you with a people counter. The question is, which one is right for you? Different people counters work better in different buildings and layouts. Ask yourself four questions to narrow down your options.
How is your entrance set up? If you have an open doorway, a horizontal counter may not provide accuracy. Horizontal counters work best with sliding doors since the doors won’t block the beam. If you have swing doors, you’ll need them to swing out. Also, low-volume entrances are more conducive to horizontal sensors.
How wide is your entrance? A wide opening — anything above 15 feet — will likely require an overhead people counter. You may need several overhead sensors to span the distance. We generally recommend one sensor per 11 feet of opening. Overhead counters will also need a wired connection to the ceiling.
What time intervals do you want to use when capturing traffic? If you only need a general count of how many people visit your business a day, a uni-directional horizontal sensor is all you need. If you want to capture data by the hour or even more frequently, a bi-directional sensor will work better. Track traffic over shorter intervals using either horizontal or overhead sensors.
Do people browse near your entryway? Since thermal sensors need people to be in motion for an accurate count, it may lose accuracy if shoppers stop near the entrance. A horizontal sensor won’t get confused unless someone stops in the exact path of the laser beam. However, if you have many people browsing in the entryway, you may want to collect more data. Video-based sensors can keep an eye on shoppers who stop to browse and those who pass on through. Review the stored footage from your overhead sensor to get an idea of how many of your visitors pause to browse your display entrances.
Request Your Free Quote From Traf-Sys
Traf-Sys offers an array of people counting systems to meet the needs of any business. Our most sophisticated people counting system, SafeEntry, offers real-time people counting for occupancy monitoring. We also provide affordable horizontal people counters and data-rich overhead people counters. Our systems are between 95%-99% accurate, and we’ll assist you through the entire installation process. We can help you decide which people counter is right for you and teach you to make sense of your foot traffic data after implementation.
Ready to start collecting valuable data about your visitors? Tell us about your company and the products you’re interested in and request your free quote today.
Technology is on the menu for many restaurants looking for ways to improve their operations, enhance the customer experience and increase profits. One of the tech tools you may not have considered yet for your restaurant business is a people counting system. These systems are especially popular in the retail industry, but some restaurateurs are catching on to the fact that people counting systems also have some valuable applications in their sector.
These systems can help restaurant owners and managers monitor their occupancy levels for social distancing requirements and provide them with important metrics for managing and improving their businesses. If you’re interested in these major benefits, take a moment to learn more about people counting systems and how you can use them in your restaurant.
Read the full article or skip to a specific section:
If you’re new to the world of people counting systems, there are a few things you need to know. People counting systems can consist of only software or a combination of hardware and software. In either case, they help you monitor the number of people who visit your business. This can help with tracking in real-time to remain within capacity limits and providing data that can help you measure your restaurant’s success.
Some systems use software installed on your devices, such as a touch-screen tablet or mobile phone, to facilitate people counting. In these systems, you need employees stationed at each entry point of your restaurant. The employee will indicate on their device each time a person enters or exits the building.
Even if you have several entrances and exits, you can have multiple employees track people coming in or going out. The software will combine the input from all workers to keep an accurate count of the total number of people inside at any given time.
2. Thermal Overhead Sensors
Overhead counting systems with combined hardware and software have some advantages over software-only programs since they automate the process. Thermal overhead systems register when a person walks in your restaurant by sensing their body heat.
These systems are highly accurate, and they have multidirectional sensing. In other words, they can tell whether a person is entering or exiting your restaurant based on the direction they’re moving toward. They can even sense how people move around inside your restaurant.
3. Video-Based Overhead Sensors
Another type of overhead sensor is a video-based system. These processes use video cameras mounted on the ceiling to visually track people entering and leaving your restaurant.
This can help you monitor the number of patrons in your restaurant. These systems can also filter out children and strollers, so you can count only adults if you want. Video systems require adequate lighting to sense people’s comings and goings.
Using People Counting Systems to Monitor Restaurant Occupancy Limits
All restaurants have occupancy limits. Building inspectors set these limits according to guidelines from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). If your restaurant is divided into separate rooms, such as the main dining area and a private banquet or set of party rooms, you’ll have distinct occupancy load ratings for each of these spaces. When restaurants purchase tables and chairs and arrange their seating, they should make sure their restaurant’s seating capacity does not exceed their official capacity limits.
Normally, once you’ve arranged your restaurant’s seating, you never have to give your occupancy limits a second thought unless you notice there are areas where too much congestion occurs and people are uncomfortable.
The Importance of Occupancy Limits
In many cases, state and local governmental bodies have imposed new restrictions on restaurants to ensure they avoid overcrowding and encourage social or physical distancing. This practice is defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as remaining 6 feet apart from people who are not in your household. This distance can provide a buffer between occupants that prevents them from passing germs, as they would be more likely to do if they were close together.
For many restaurants, promoting social distancing means adjusting their capacity limits for the time being. Even in the absence of government mandates, restaurants should still adjust their capacities and layouts as needed to follow CDC guidelines and create safe environments for their customers.
How to Measure Restaurant Occupancy Limits
Some local mandates require restaurants to limit their capacity to a certain percentage of their maximum load rating. For example, bars and restaurants in Minnesota must restrict their capacities to a maximum of 50%. If their normal capacity limit was 150 people, it would now be just 75 people. Limiting capacity according to a percentage can be a helpful way forward for restaurants looking to reduce crowding.
However, you may be able to arrive at a more precise calculation by determining the number of customers or parties you can fit in your dining room while maintaining 6 feet between tables. Normally, restaurants should allow at least 18 inches between seats that back up to each other, but this amount of space isn’t enough for physical distancing.
The CDC recommends reworking your restaurant’s layout to allow for adequate social distancing. Once you’ve created an arrangement that enables this, count the number of seats to arrive at your dining area’s new maximum capacity. Keep in mind that this number does not include waitstaff, so it is best to err on the side of allowing a bit of extra space.
You may think that spacing out tables and seats is enough to ensure you stay within your new capacity limits, but that isn’t necessarily the case. You could have people crowded in your lobby, for instance, causing you to exceed your restaurant’s safe capacity limits.
This is where people counting systems can prove extremely useful. Whether by using employees equipped with occupancy counting software or automatic people counting devices, your restaurant can accurately track the total number of people inside at any given time. This way, you can be sure you’re staying within your new maximum capacity rating and encouraging social distancing.
Accurate occupancy tracking is especially critical if you’re trying to follow mandates from your local government. Even without those mandates, though, you want to demonstrate to the public that you care about their well-being and are serious about your social distancing policies. By using a people counting system and enforcing your capacity limits, you can avoid unsafe instances of overcrowding.
Using People Counting Systems to Improve Restaurant Profitability
People counting systems are helpful for more than just monitoring capacity limits. They can also help owners and managers develop strategies to increase sales in restaurants by providing critical data. There are many metrics, also called key performance indicators (KPIs), restaurants can use to measure their profitability.
Some of these metrics involve costs and other things that do not relate to occupancy. Some KPIs, however, deal with foot traffic, conversion rates and other factors associated with the number of people who enter your restaurant and enjoy a drink or meal there. A people counting system can help you track these KPIs, which subsequently gives you enhanced insight into how your business runs and how you can improve your building layout to better serve customers.
Profitability Metrics for Restaurants
Restaurateurs should pay attention to various metrics to gain a full and objective picture of how their restaurant is doing and where they can improve their practices. When you make a change, you can use the data once again to see what effect it had. Simply relying on general impressions and hunches is a poor way to do business since these things can often be wrong. Instead, you should rely on data.
What sort of data? Restaurants should start by establishing variables like their fixed overhead costs and break-even point so they understand the baseline they need to meet to be profitable. Aside from these basic measurements, some KPIs that restaurants should consider tracking include:
Cost of goods sold (COGS): The cost of goods sold is essentially the cost of your inventory. In this case, those are the ingredients that go into making the dishes you sell. You need to know this cost so you can determine which prices to put on your menu and how much you need to sell to be profitable.
Labor cost: Another important number you need to know is how much you spend on compensating your employees. Adding your labor costs and COGS together gives you your prime cost. You also want to identify the labor cost percentage. In other words, what percentage of your total sales will pay your employees?
RevPASH: A helpful way to measure profitability in the restaurant industry is revenue per available seat hour (RevPASH). To calculate your restaurant’s RevPASH, you divide your revenue for a certain time period by the number of seat hours in that same period. This tells you how much money, on average, each seat is pulling in.
Average ticket size: This KPI is also commonly called sales per head. This metric is a measure of how much the average diner or party spends at your restaurant. You’ll typically want to note these averages separately for different times of day, such as lunch and dinner service.
Table turn time: You should also know the average amount of time a party spends eating and relaxing around a table in your restaurant. This can help you determine how many people you can host during an average day or lunch or dinner service.
Occupancy rates: It’s also helpful to know what percentage of your tables or seats are occupied with paying customers at any given time. In addition to the average table occupancy, you’ll want to note which times of day are busiest and which are slowest so you can plan and staff accordingly.
Conversion rates: One of the most important KPIs you can measure is your conversion rate, especially if your restaurant is in an area with a lot of foot traffic where people come in to check the place out or view your menu. This is the percentage of people who step through your front door who end up making a purchase.
Gross profit: Gross profit is the money left over after you’ve subtracted the cost of goods sold from your revenue. You can calculate this cost for specific periods to determine the gross profit you made during that time. Keep in mind that some of your gross profit will go to cover fixed overhead costs.
These numbers aren’t very helpful in a vacuum. Restaurants often compare their KPIs to restaurant financial benchmarks to determine the health of their businesses. For instance, understanding the norm for restaurant industry sales can help you know whether yours are on point. You can also use KPIs to compare the performance of various restaurant locations or compare your restaurant’s profitability at different seasons or year over year.
Using a People Counting System to Help You Manage Your Restaurant
Notice that some of the KPIs above require you to know how many people are visiting your restaurant. In some cases, you could use a modern point of sale (POS) system to track sales data, but this will only give you information about tickets. To know the precise number of people in your restaurant and to determine conversion rates, you need a system that accounts for every person who walks into your establishment. You can get this data with a people counting system.
Using a people counting system to measure restaurant traffic has some important benefits for tracking your restaurant’s performance and helping you strategize to improve your business. The data your system provides can help you with:
Scheduling: Your people counting system could give you valuable insight into what days of the week or times of day are busiest and which are slowest, so you can schedule staff strategically. This can help you avoid under- and overstaffing, which could then lead to reduced labor costs.
Promotions: Accurately understanding slow times can also help you determine when you may need to offer a special promotion to drive more traffic to your business. If you do create promotions, you can use your people counting system to determine how successful or unsuccessful your initiative was in driving more traffic.
Conversions: Strategies to increase sales in restaurants must start with an accurate understanding of your current conversion rates. Comparing your people counting data to your sales information will show you any gap that exists in the people who come in and people who are paying customers. These are the potential patrons who decide to leave rather than be seated or order at the counter. If you have a conversion rate that is less than ideal, it’s time to find ways to convert these skeptical walk-ins.
Traffic trends: You can also use this data to determine whether your restaurant is experiencing growth or a decline in popularity. This could change from quarter to quarter or year to year. You can also compare the traffic levels at different restaurant locations. You may find your marketing strategy needs to focus on how to increase foot traffic to your restaurant.
Footfall patterns: If you have multiple entrances, you can also use people counting systems to see which entrances your patrons use most, which could differ depending on the time of day or other factors. This can help you decide where to place host podiums or signs directing customers to seat themselves or telling them where they need to go.
Customer experience: Ultimately, tracking foot traffic numbers and patterns in your restaurant can help you deliver an improved customer experience. Whether through better staffing decisions, an adjusted layout or any other improvement you’ve made, customers can enjoy a better experience at your restaurant.
Considerations When Choosing the Right People Counting System for Your Restaurant
According to an industry report from Toast, a provider of hardware and software solutions for restaurants, 95% of restaurateurs believe restaurant technology improves their business efficiency. What holds restaurant owners back from purchasing new technology for their businesses? In many cases, it’s the overwhelming nature of all the tech options out there today. How can you know what you really need?
In addition to important tools like POS systems, digital menu screens and online ordering features, you should also seriously consider investing in a people counting system. As we’ve seen, this simple addition to your restaurant can pull in valuable data to help you manage your company more successfully. It could help you significantly as you monitor occupancy levels. The question then becomes, how can you choose the best people counting system for your restaurant?
Consider each of these questions to determine what type of system is best for your application:
What is your budget? One practical concern you’ll need to consider is your budget. If you want to invest in a people counting system, but you’re working within a tight budget, you may want to consider a software-only solution. Keep in mind, however, that this means employees have to monitor entrances. Alternatively, you could start by leasing a system and then make a purchase later when your budget allows.
Do you have an outlet near your entrance? If you’re looking at wired systems, make sure you have an electrical outlet near your entrance. If not, stick to wireless ones.
Do people tend to linger at your entrance? If you have a large entrance where people tend to linger or congregate to wait to order or wait on tables, an overhead video system is probably the best option since it can detect people’s presence even if they are standing still.
Does your entrance double as an exit? If you have people entering and exiting through the same doors, which is typical for most restaurants, then you will need multidirectional — or bidirectional — sensors that can tell whether someone is coming in or leaving. Multidirectional systems, such as thermal overhead programs, are beneficial for giving you an accurate count of how many people are inside your restaurant.
Do you have more than one entrance? If you have more than one entry point to your restaurant, you’ll need a system with multiple sensors that coordinate using the same software. This way, you can combine the data from each door to get an accurate count.
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Some restaurants are installing people counters to meet the challenges associated with the industry. However, as we’ve seen, people counting systems can deliver a whole host of benefits to restaurants by providing valuable data on traffic quantity and patterns. For these reasons, people counting systems will maintain a strong presence in restaurants well beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.
Every organization places great value on its working space. The area or environment dedicated to operating a facility comes with a significant cost, including the real estate value, the operating expenses and the effectiveness of people working in that space.
It’s difficult to achieve maximum efficiency and produce a proper return on investment without utilizing space to its fullest advantage. Whether it’s retail space, casino space, library space, museum space or university campus space, the facility’s area needs to maximize its space utilization. This is best done by measuring key performance indicators (KPIs) like the number of people using the allowable space.
These KPI measurements are commonly called metrics. They provide realistic data that can be analyzed and used to identify where space is ineffectively utilized. Space utilization metrics can also show what’s really working inside a workspace, which can add significant value to a facility’s operation.
Today’s technology allows facility managers to calculate their space utilization rate easily. Understanding factors like traffic trends and person-to-space occupancy ratios allow managers to improve business performance, secure funding and optimize labor by making better-informed decisions. One of the best technologies available for space utilization calculation and achieving maximum cost-effectiveness is a people counting system.
What Is Space Utilization?
Simply put, space utilization is measuring how and whether allowable space is being used. It’s commonly expressed as a function of occupancy rate and frequency rate. The occupancy looks at how full the space is compared to its capacity, and the frequency rate measures the amount of time the space is used compared to its availability.
Space utilization rates are assessed by the actual use of a facility’s space experiences and the predicted use expected from a particular space. Private office space utilization is no different from public space use when it comes to examining metrics and calculating peak use and low-occupancy times. Whether it’s a corporate boardroom or a library reading area, effective managers must know how their space is truly utilized.
Space utilization is as much about managing people as it is about measuring space. Every facility has its high and low occupancy periods. The trick for managers is knowing how to measure those metrics accurately and move them into a matrix where meaningful data presents a true picture of how their space is used.
Calculating Space Utilization
Another way of viewing space utilization is by dividing a facility’s occupancy by its capacity. For instance, if a facility has the capacity to handle 300 employees but only has 200 on staff, the space utilization ratio is 3:2 or 67 percent utilized. That ratio indicates a lot of unused space, which is expensive real estate.
There is no magic or optimal formula for calculating peak space utilization because each facility has its own specific requirements for the people-to-place formula. For instance, a museum may require extra floor-to-visitor space because of exhibit requirements, while a casino environment will tolerate a much more packed feeling.
A retail outlet, such as a shopping mall location, depends on drop-in traffic. Retail managers have to analyze foot traffic flow trends and compare them with times and promotions so as to maximize their shop space. Education facilities like campuses and universities also have to measure occupancies to schedule staff to meet service needs.
To accurately monitor traffic and understand ultimate space utilization, it’s necessary to measure key factors that balance the people-and-place equation. One true indicator of traffic measurement is a people counting system. These are hardware and software components that provide accurate information on who’s coming, staying and going. People counting systems give a great picture of space utilization metrics.
Metrics are an all-encompassing term for measurement units. There’s no precise metric list because there are so many variables in calculating which parts of a facility are being utilized efficiently and which are being under-utilized. Developing metrics is a matter of examining what key performance factors occur within a particular space.
Another way to look at space utilization metrics is by viewing them as data collection points. Getting meaningful data requires an accurate measurement of what people are doing within a particular place. Some common metrics applicable to calculating space use are:
Overall square footage: The first metric to establish is a facility’s size. In most American sites, like offices and retail outlets, this measurement is normally calculated by the square footage of floor area, rather than the cubic footage, which is a common warehouse metric. The total square footage is then defined by specific usage areas like meeting rooms and dedicated spots for displays.
Overall staff occupancy: An equally important metric for analyzing space utilization is identifying staff numbers and their functions. It’s a rare for a facility to employ all staff members at the same time, so allowance has to be made for high and low employee presence. Many facilities utilize the same space for multiple staff members, such as desk-sharing and common work stations.
Overall visitor traffic: For businesses open to the public, visitor traffic is a key performance issue. Monitoring visitor traffic provides a crucial metric that indicates the additional person-load impacting a workspace. It’s important that visitors have ample space to feel welcome and not repelled by crowded conditions.
Average peak usage: Both staff and visitors will have peak space-use periods. Some businesses experience periodic rushes, while others have a moderate traffic flow. Monitoring the average peak use in a facility is an important part of calculating the best use of available space.
Average peak frequency: Peak use times can vary in frequency. For example, a retail outlet can have an up-and-down scale of visits during the day while a learning institute will have longer fluctuations according to the season. It’s important to establish accurate metrics of how frequent peak capacities occur.
Ratio of visits to staff: This is a very important metric that affects staff scheduling. To manage customer interests, there have to be sufficient staff members present to handle their needs. Monitoring metrics like overall traffic and peak periods give managers a significant advantage to make sure resources match the demand, while allowing the space for them to interact.
Specific usage areas: Some facility areas are utilized more frequently than others. Both employees and customers move fluidly from one area to another, however, they tend to gravitate to certain spots more than others. Monitoring people’s movements within a facility gives managers a solid metric for what space is a highly utilized region and what’s not.
One of the best data-gathering tools for establishing space utilization metrics is a people counting system. Monitoring people through technology gives real-time data about accurate movements within a facility. People monitoring identifies peak usage in all areas like meeting spaces, individual workspaces and common spaces within any facility. Installing a people counting system will truly benefit space utilization management.
7 Benefits of Space Utilization Metrics
Facility space is one of the top costs of operating any business. To be cost-effective and deliver the best return on investment, facility operators have to manage their space as best as possible.
There are many ways that prudent managers benefit from wisely utilizing their space. By developing realistic metrics and applying data generated through people counting, every facility has the opportunity to increase performance and use their allowable space to its advantage. Here are seven benefits gained from space utilization metrics:
Maximizing space use: Knowing the rate of people-flow through a facility is a crucial metric to establish. By having accurate counts of low and high usage periods, a facility manager knows what space is highly utilized and what can be considered a waste of space. Developing metrics from counting people builds a solid foundation for assessing and achieving maximum space use.
Minimizing space costs: Wasted space can really impact a facility’s operating costs. Analyzing metrics developed from people counting gives a true picture of how space is used to its best efficiency. Eliminating unused space significantly saves operating costs and adds to profitability.
Improving employee relations: It’s well-known that employees function best when they have sufficient space to work. However, some suggest that they can’t prosper in excessive space either, as it doesn’t contribute to a satisfying work environment. Clearly defined space metrics will result in building a workplace with optimum space utilization for best employee performance.
Enhancing customer experience: Customers might not be able to recognize maximum space utilization, but they can certainly experience it. They intrinsically know when a private business or public facility is well managed, and they feel the effects of a well laid-out space. Metrics gained from people counting technology can have a positive impact on increasing customer experiences when properly implemented.
Promoting agile environments: There’s an increasing trend to design optimum workspaces that promote agile environments, meaning a working space that seamlessly integrates with multiple activities. One of the principles around agile designs is having unassigned seating where workers have the freedom to use what space serves them best for their assignment.
Conserving energy expenses: It stands to reason that maximized spaces make the best use of energy resources. This goes beyond conserving utility expenses and involves human energy that’s needlessly expended through inefficient environments. A people counting system provides excellent metrics for knowing how to improve space utilization and conserve energy expenses.
Optimizing internal services: Communication between workers and outward to their management team is optimized by having efficient services integrated with excellent use of space. People counting is a support tool for establishing internal service efficiency, and is one more benefit a facility gains through space utilization metrics.
Every company that employs space utilization metrics and implements positive changes can expect a positive impact. Investing in technology support like people counting systems shows up as more than an improved bottom line. The return on investment also comes through as customer satisfaction, employee efficiency and organizational safety.
Technology That Can Improve Space Utilization
People counting systems are fascinating technological tools. They work on a straightforward principle of monitoring human movements in and out of a facility. Technology-based counters also track people as they move about the place.
People counters serve two main purposes. The first is acting as a customer relationship management tool. The second is acting as an internal data-gathering device that builds metrics to monitor employee patterns. In both roles, people counting systems provide excellent benefits that help make the best use of space in every application.
As with all technology, people counting systems continue to evolve. These systems are now highly sensitive compared to early models that simply clicked as people passed by. Many of today’s people counters are complex integrations of hardware and software. Here is a brief view of current people counting technology:
Density counting uses depth data and computer vision, mixed with machine learning, to anonymously track human movement.
Optical sensors are smart cameras that use real-time images to detect movement and identify people.
Break-beams are active infrared monitors that emit and receive light-wave interruption signals.
Thermal imagers detect body heat and register people’s moves on a software platform that builds metric patterns.
Wi-Fi trackers follow cell and smartphone signals to recognize individuals and know if they’ve seen them before.
Seat sensors detect human presence at work stations, on transportation systems and even in movie theaters.
Ultrasonic sensors use sound waves that bounce off people as they pass, and then use the information to supply movement metrics.
Investing in people counting systems is a must for progressive facility managers who want to make the most of their space utilization. There is a wide range of components used for counting people, and they vary in sophistication. These are the common components found in most people counter systems:
Wireless counters rely on wi-fi or radio signal communication.
Integrated software is an important technological support to integrated people counting systems. Compatible software takes data sent from counting sensors and transmits it into meaningful metrics. Information generated in software reports lets a management team clearly view what human activity takes place inside their premises. From this valuable content, managers make serious decisions about utilizing space.
Traf-Sys People Counting Systems Help Utilize Space
Traf-Sys provided top technological solutions where facilities want to maximize their use of space. Traf-Sys people counting systems provide component and software support for traffic monitoring challenges that mine raw data and turn it into meaningful metrics. From this information, business owners and operators have an excellent base on which to plan their optimal space use.
Over 17,000 locations depend on Traf-Sys people counters to inform them of patterns that affect business decisions and bottom lines. These include facilities like universities, retail stores, shopping malls, casinos, libraries and museums. Each one has benefitted by profiling their human movements, and they’ve made better use of their space from it as well as improving their bottom line.
Many types of businesses, including for- and non-profits, rely on people patronizing them. Without adfoot equate pedestrian traffic near your business, you may not hit the numbers you need. But getting people into the door is not the only reason you will want to evaluate foot traffic data.
Identifying pedestrian cycles gives you the information you need to optimize your operations. Whatever your sector, you will find a use for measuring traffic in the area. If you want a people counting software and hardware solution for your business, learn the best way to set it up for assessing the habits of those walking in your building.
Read the full guide or jump to a specific section:
Why Collecting Foot Traffic Analytics Matters Across Industries
While most associate people counting with retail, this information is vital in multiple fields, including:
Non-Profits: Non-profit institutes can gather information about their popularity to best schedule staff and volunteers, making the most of these limited resources.
Warehouses: Identifying the most commonly used routes through doors of a warehouse can help you rearrange the design to prevent traffic jams that can slow the process of moving products.
Libraries: Instead of hiring a person to count patrons, having an automated system gives you more accurate data about people entering the library.
Malls: Foot traffic into a mall drastically impacts the profits of businesses inside. Identifying foot traffic trends can help improve security and advertising.
Retailers: You can gauge your marketing success by counting how many patrons enter your stores.
Restaurants: Identify trends in times and patrons and see whether they relate to special occasions, deals or other events. Foot traffic data can help you make server schedules, plan promotions and find ways to increase profits.
Urban Planning: Creating walkable neighborhoods requires urban planners to find out where people walk. Planners must know how to count pedestrians to decide how to lay out city areas.
Utility Managers: Determining times of peak occupancy at various points during the week and year can help you set more accurate HVAC schedules to maximize efficiency and comfort.
Casinos: Casino managers can change the layout of their gaming areas by inserting games or ATMs where people congregate. Also, staffing and security personnel schedules can adapt to more popular times.
Ready to get a people counter for your business? Ge a free quote today!
How you measure pedestrian traffic depends on what you will do with the data. Setting up hardware and software for the counting process automates things so you can save your workers’ time while gathering necessary information about foot traffic. Following these steps ensures you have a setup that will accurately count people.
1. Create Goals for Measuring Foot Traffic
If you want to know how to collect foot traffic data, you need to determine your goals before creating a data-gathering strategy. What you intend to do with the information will help you choose the best hardware for counting people. Will you be:
Entering People: Use a self-contained door counter to find out how many people pass the door during a given time.
Passing Pedestrians: Employ an outdoor counting sensor if you want to measure the number of pedestrians walking through a point.
Find Peak Traffic: Identifying peak traffic times or average length of visits requires you to install sensors that connect to people counting software.
These goals only account for some of the ends you could achieve through using sensors and software. If you have a different purpose for your business, decide what information you want to collect and use the data type and business entry points to determine the sensors you need — outdoor, thermal, video or bidirectional.
2. Identify Entry and Exit Points For Data Collection
Where do you want to count people? While this question seems straightforward, where you install the sensor will help you choose the right model for your project. Ask yourself these questions:
Do you need to know how often workers pass between buildings?
Is your goal to count the number of customers entering your business?
Does the number of people who leave an area matter?
Will the time of day affect your counting goals?
Do people move past the monitoring point in groups or individually?
Measure the entry and exit points where you want to install the sensors. Opening height and width determine how many sensors and the type you will need. The dimensions of the entryways, as well as the type of information you want to collect, will help you choose the best sensors for your people counting needs.
3. Select Traffic Counting Sensors
Consider how many entrances and exits you need to monitor to plan the number of people counting monitoring devices you need. Look at the entrance designs. Whether you have doors or an open walkway will make a difference in the sensors you use for that location.
You have two main choices for sensor position and two options for how they count. Horizontal sensors send a beam across an opening and count how many times it breaks. These may come in wireless or wired options. Overhead designs install in the ceiling and require wired network connections. These can be unidirectional or bidirectional counters. The former only counts the number of people passing through, regardless of direction. However, the latter distinguishes whether people enter or exit.
If you have a swinging door that opens outward, you can use a horizontal counter. Swinging doors that open inward can block the detection beam across people’s legs. The door funnels people through the entryway in single file, making the horizontal sensor more accurate. Ideally, only use horizontal beam devices across doorways of 15-feet wide or narrower.
For open entrances or extra-wide entry points where people can move in groups or stand in the opening, overhead sensors will give you a more accurate count. Depending on how high the ceiling is, you should plan to install at least one overhead sensor for every 11 feet of entrance width. Make sure you can get network cables and power to the overhead door sensors if you select a wired design. If your model requires a wired connection or power supply, factor that into the installation costs and time when planning.
4. Choose How You Will Store or Transmit Data
Again, ask yourself some questions:
How will the sensors store the data, or will they transmit it to a server?
Do you want someone to read the data and reset the counter manually?
Would you prefer the sensors send data to your people counting software over the network or via a data controller? The latter option gives you the flexibility to automate the data collection process.
Additionally, you can buy server space, so you don’t need to use your servers to host the information collected by the sensors. Using a hosting service for your data will help you keep the data organized, especially if you have multiple sensors around your facility or numerous buildings with sensors installed. For instance, our Traf-Sys hosting service combines information storage and reporting into a single solution to free you from managing the database or updating software.
5. Install Counting Sensors
To ensure accurate counts, you must install the sensors correctly. The type of sensor will dictate where you must set up the device. Guard the spacing between sensors, especially overhead models, to avoid double counting or missing people who pass through the entrance.
Horizontal counters fit inside a doorframe. Install these so the door opening does not interfere with the readings. You want to count people only, not how many times the door opens. Select a site in the doorframe, so the door opens away from the sensor and does not cross the path of the counting beam. These counters have two parts that must sit directly across from each other for the laser to work. Most horizontal sensors work on batteries, but if you want a wired model, verify that you have an electrical outlet near the installation site first.
Overhead people counters install inside the upper portion of the doorframe or in the ceiling. These devices typically require hardwiring into the network to get power and transmit data. Read the instructions to see if you must set the height in the sensor or install the device at a particular level. Also, review from the instructions whether you need to set the counter to measure unidirectionally or bidirectionally.
6. Set Up Foot Traffic Data Collection Procedures
Collecting data from your sensors depends on the type of monitors you have installed. If you have display-only counters, you will need to have one of your workers record the number each day and reset the total.
Should you prefer to have the data delivered from the sensors to your computer, you may need to add data controllers. These devices gather data from multiple sensors and can store it until you need to send it to your computer or upload to the network.
Other sensors have direct connections to the network and will upload the data to your server or a hosted server. If you choose this option, you will need network-connected sensors and a server set up to receive the data.
7. Begin Collecting Information on Foot Traffic
To collect information from base models of sensors, you will need to schedule checks of the devices to record the data and reset the counters. Checking your sensors throughout the day will help you break down the people counting data to shorter periods for more thorough information than once daily checks. Looking at these devices, especially soon after installation, gives you peace of mind that you put them into place correctly and they provide accurate information.
Even if you have a sensor that automatically uploads its data to a server, you still should check them regularly to ensure network connection and accurate people counting.
8. Analyze Foot Traffic Data
Raw data is challenging to use. You need analytical software to make sense of the information, especially if you have your sensors consistently collecting and transmitting the data.
Software, such as VisiCount, analyzes the information from your sensors and generates easy-to-understand reports. With flexible import and export options, you can give the software the information you need to read. Look over the information in a variety of formats — tables, graphs and drill down — to spot trends. See whether the day or time affected business. You can even examine if weather played a role in a rise or fall in foot traffic.
Scaling the data gives your business room to grow because you can increase the number of branches you monitor easily. Being able to examine various departments of your business can help you make decisions about:
Reports can aggregate data from multiple locations while still allowing you to access information from a particular branch or entrance. For instance, if you have a graph showing trends across all your sites, you can drill down through the data to get details for each facility. If you want to analyze the data from a single store, you can see information from each monitored entrance.
The software creates conversions, which tie the traffic information gathered into percentages to indicate the success of your business. For retailers, this means how many people entering purchased something. In libraries, it could correlate to how many people check out books. By looking over the data in terms of your business’s operations, you get a real-world means of seeing how the number of people entering affects your company.
Incorporating data hosting gives you a secure server for storing your sensor data and generating reports. With such a system, you never need to install software on a single computer. You have access to the information from anywhere, a boon to managers who travel or run multiple facilities. You also don’t have to worry about keeping your servers or managing databases to host your sensors’ information.
9. Make Decisions
Once you’ve reviewed the data analytics, you need to use them effectively. Without making changes based on the data gathered, you will not use the sensors to their fullest potential.
The data you collect will help you make decisions about worker schedules, facility layouts, marketing success and more. Foot traffic data will be valuable when determining the success of your operations. Look at conversions and how changes in your advertising or selling methods influence the numbers.
After making changes based on the people counting information you collected, continue using the sensors and software to determine if your changes create the desired results. The information you gather and review will only help you as much as you use it to improve operations.
A Complete People Counting System
Regardless of your business sector, you cannot forego gathering information about foot traffic. People counting software and hardware are now vital tools for any company. However, setting one of these systems up from scratch poses multiple problems with hardware compatibility and accuracy of data collection. Don’t try to piece together your counting system by cobbling hardware and software on your own.
Get professional help for your people counting needs from Traf-Sys. Speak to one of our trained experts in people counting systems to get the ideal solution for your facility’s needs. Our team of experts can work with you to create a system that will help meet your data goals. Contact our experts for a customized approach to evaluating pedestrian traffic flow for your business.
If you’re a jewelry store owner, you know how to take the guesswork out of pricing and appraising fine gemstones and pieces of jewelry. You certainly wouldn’t guess at the price of a new diamond engagement ring — with the blind hope that you might get it right. Instead, you select a price that’s in line with your product and your customers’ expectations based on the diamond’s quality and cut, as well as its setting and the going prices of your competition.
Similarly, you can’t afford to guess at what your customers are up to — especially when jewelry store people counters from Traf-Sys Inc. can give you a realistic picture of the foot traffic of your jewelry store. Currently in use in more than 17,000 locations worldwide, our people counting systems are reliable, accurate and ready to help you leverage the foot traffic metrics that can help you grow your business.
People Counters for Jewelry Stores
We have more than 12 years of experience helping retail establishments better understand the needs and habits of their foot traffic. That’s why our customer counters for jewelry stores offer a unique opportunity for jewelry retailers everywhere. After all, when profit margins are tight, wouldn’t you like to take advantage of a proven way to increase your conversion ratios?
At Traf-Sys, we offer several different people counter solutions to effectively match the needs of your store’s layout, as well as the traffic it experiences. With sensitive readers mounted in a variety of possible positions, we regularly supply the following types of systems:
Overhead or horizontal readers: Depending on your store’s size, layout and entrances, you can choose an overhead or horizontal type of reader mounting. Either way, the right people counter for your store can be both unobtrusive and effective, leaving your customers free to shop and giving you the foot traffic data you need.
Wired or wireless counters: For some jewelers, the idea of a permanent wired installation is perfect, while for others, a battery-powered people counter that requires less time and effort to install is the perfect solution. Whichever you choose, we have a model that will suit your purposes.
Uni-directional or bi-directional systems: Certain retail establishments are only concerned with the approximate numbers of customers they see. Other businesses want a more accurate count of how many people enter and leave their retail spaces. This is why we offer both uni-directional and bi-directional systems. Bi-directional systems are capable of differentiating between people coming into and leaving the same space.
Benefits of Jewelry Store People Counter
Along with reliable hardware and great support services from Traf-Sys, you can expect the following benefits when employing one of our people counters designed for your jewelry store:
Predict peak hours: With people counters, you can better predict when your peak hours will be — both during regular daily operations, as well as around holidays and busy wedding seasons.
Make better staffing decisions: The last thing you want is too many or not enough staff on hand. This is why, once you have a good handle on your foot traffic trends, you can make much more informed staffing decisions that ultimately support your customers — and your profitability.
Evaluate promotions: Now, after running a TV ad or other type of sales campaign, you can accurately measure the results and/or effects they have on your foot traffic.
Track and improve conversion rates: With knowledge of your foot traffic and sales made during a given time period, you can begin to calculate your conversion rate — with an eye on making changes to improve it.
Deter shoplifting: Your products are valuable, which is why having people counters equipped with video playback can be an added deterrent to shoplifters. Once they know they’re under surveillance, most criminals think twice before committing a crime on camera.
For more information on making the most of people counters for jewelry stores, download our new product catalog or contact us directly today.