Big data is influencing retail operations from forecasting and price optimization to how much hand soap to stock for the restrooms. Today’s people counting technology provides unprecedented real-time insight into every area of operations including foot traffic.
Foot traffic metrics have always been important to brick-and-mortar merchants but now, with the assistance of people counters, it’s easier to analyze and, more importantly, to make business decisions based on this information. While the business applications for in-store traffic data is nearly limitless, here are just a few of the ways retailers can do more with the data collected.
Identify Prime Real Estate
Let’s say you have an idea for a fantastic promotional display. Where are you going to put it? You can guess where to locate the display within your store or you can use real-time insights from foot traffic data provided by people counters to pinpoint the optimal floor placement.
Once installed, some retailers conduct what is known as A/B testing. A/B testing pits two options against one another and uses data to determine the winning candidate. You can use this process to further identify which displays perform the best and result in the most sales.
This usually looks like setting up a display in a location for a week and then moving it to another position and comparing the numbers. This will either confirm your assumptions or challenge your preconceived notions on what works. Either way, you win.
Tweak Your Store Layout
It’s your job to guide customers through your space and to entice them to linger and ultimately to buy. The main function of the flow and design of your store is to maximize sales for each square foot of space. Real-time insight into traffic allows you to tweak and refine the layout until you have the optimal layout.
You also want to keep the traffic moving and avoid bottlenecks and tight spaces. Analyze your traffic flow to see if problem areas exist. Know the patterns created by fixture positions and aisles configurations and consider whether you need to make improvements. Small adjustments can result in more revenue.
Look for Ways to Boost Traffic
Ideally once you know your baseline traffic numbers on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis, you want to start identifying opportunities for improvement and brainstorming ideas to boost traffic. Time contingent promotions (like door busters) drive customers into your store during off hours. Special events can be strategically scheduled during lulls as well.
In addition to traffic boosting initiatives, use real-time insight from people counters for scheduling purposes. Many retailers find this information is an asset to keeping labor costs in check. Knowing busy periods and slow periods keeps you from over or under staffing.
Real-Time Insights Give Real Results
More and more retailers are going beyond the simple how-many-people-walk-through-the-door count and using foot traffic data to determine the success of a promotion or as leverage for making a business case to upper management for store layout changes. Knowing your foot traffic numbers using a people counter can even result in a boost in traffic if applied to business decisions.