The process of converting shoppers into buyers is practically the definition of a “business basic.” For retailers, measuring (and hopefully increasing) their sales conversion rates is dependent on access to consistent, reliable store people counting data.
Basic people counting solutions, such as those installed only at a store’s entrances, can provide the raw numbers for calculating a store’s overall conversion rate. It’s simply the percentage of shoppers in the store who actually purchase an item at the point-of-sale. But to truly understand what moves the lever for sales conversions, more detailed people counting data – generated by overhead people counters as well as those placed in key locations throughout the store – is required.
Creating effective promotions and displays, and placing them in optimal locations within your store, is a proven technique for improving conversion. People counting data can help these efforts in two ways. One is by mapping how customers currently shop your store. Knowing where the high- and low-traffic areas are, is essential to placing promotions so that they generate maximum impact.
Retailers can use A/B testing to compare factors such as display design and placement. (A/B testing is simply an experiment with two variables, “A” and “B”.) In a store setting, a retailer might test Display Style A for three days, then test Display Style B for three days. Comparisons of people counting data and sales will reveal which display attracts customers and, more importantly, results in purchases. Because it’s important to control for any outside factors that could affect an A/B test’s outcome, each test period should cover the same three days of the week (e.g. two successive Friday-to-Sunday periods).
People counting data can also boost sales conversions by pinpointing customer service issues. If a store’s foot traffic is heavy but sales are slipping, the problem might be that not enough associates are on hand to help customers find the items they need at peak times. Or shoppers may be finding the items they seek, but leaving in frustration without completing their purchases because they can’t find a manned POS station.
Diagnosing and remedying these customer service situations is critical to maintaining solid conversion rates. People counting data that charts peak times of day and days of the week, as well as year-over-year historical data that records the impact of holidays and special events, provides retailers with invaluable insights about how many (and what kind) of associates to schedule. With this information, retailers can maximize conversions while still keeping a tight rein on labor costs.
Improved understanding of when customers visit a store can also help retailers time their promotions more precisely. If certain holidays bring people into a store, use this as an opportunity to promote items you want to expose to a larger audience. If store crowds swell at lunch time, after work, or on the weekends, plan time-limited promotions that take advantage of each store’s customer traffic profile.
Finally, continue to use people counting data to measure conversion rates’ swells and dips over time. Keeping close tabs on this vital sign is imperative to the health of any retail establishment.