Counting People Can Maximize Store Potential

counting peopleCounting people can tell someone a lot about a business, especially when it comes to marketing and customer service. At the very basic level, you can assume that a store with a high or steady level of foot traffic must be doing something right: its advertising draws people in, shoppers know they can find what they are looking for, or the staff is knowledgeable and friendly.

The basics

Understanding why people continue to shop at a store comes back to counting people. You can ask customers to fill out surveys, but chances are that they won’t or you’ll only hear from someone when they have a bad experience. Counting people provides a larger view of the “how and why” customers choose where they shop.

Conversion rates and why they matter

Knowing your traffic counts can help you realize your store’s potential by calculating the store’s conversion rate. The conversion rate is the number of people who come into the store and buy something vs. the people who leave empty handed. These rates can be calculated by month, day, shift or hours so you can focus your efforts on the times that need more attention to raise the rate.

Counting people gives you the data you need to determine the conversion rate. For example, if your holiday spending is down but the foot traffic is the same, can it be correlated with a decrease in the marketing budget for that time of year? If so, restoring the marketing dollars to previous levels could help boost sales numbers.

Conversion rates can also tell you if your store is a target for showroomers. If you have a spike in the number of people coming to the store but not buying anything, it’s possible that people are coming to your store to see merchandise in person and then buying it online for less. If this is the case, you’re losing business and you need to act fast. Retailers that are the victims of showrooming have been implementing a more omni-channel type of approach.  This offers consumers the opportunity to buy items online and pick up in-store, adding the ability to see if the item is in-stock before heading to there in person.

Where can I find…

Traffic counters aren’t just for entrances and exits. Counting people in different areas of the store can give you important feedback about a store’s layout. Customer counters can give retailers insight into where the busier areas or departments are, what areas are overcrowded and what places could benefit from more staff. A traffic counter at the checkout can alert management when more staff should be sent to the front end.  Traffic counters at fitting rooms can also help these areas work more effectively, provide a higher level of customer service and reduce the opportunity for theft.

Test new ideas

A retailer can use its traffic counts to determine which products or promotions are working best, as well as how products and promotions should be featured in the future.  Customer counters can also help retailers optimize their stock levels for certain parts of the year.