Store Traffic Counter Analysis
Sophisticated customer relationship management tools have become prevalent in the industry, allowing the retailer to track virtually every “touch” of the customer’s experience with your store. But what do you know about customers who have not yet visited your kiosk? Or what about those that have given a salesperson their contact information? Do you know how much retail store traffic you have received, or how many potential customers have visited your retail locations last month? Last week? Two hours ago?
In order to answer these important questions, many businesses are employing electronic systems to count customer traffic and using this information in context of other business metrics. Some of the more comprehensive counting systems can also tie in with a company’s server network and show traffic by hour, location and individual entrances.
What Traffic Data Can Provide Decision Makers
Many retailers are now using traffic flow analysis in retail management to look at the distribution of traffic by hour, day of the week, store location, seasonal periods, promotion periods, total chain, etc. Retailers can also look at the conversion ratio of their store which is the total sales transactions divided by total traffic. Different retail segments can have vastly different conversion ratios. For some businesses, 30 percent conversion rate is considered fantastic while for others this figure would be dismal! Retail stores will also be able to measure traffic based on current promotions and advertising. You will be able to determine if your conversions went up, down or remained the same during the promotion.
With traffic counting, retailers will be able to optimize their staffing. Retailers traditionally staff their stores according to historical and forecasted sales. Unfortunately, this does not account for potential opportunities that may have visited the store but did not buy. Traffic information can inform you of these factors.
Tracking traffic flow in retail allows retailers to deploy initiatives that increase the likelihood of conversion and analyze what staffing strategies are best for each store or store group.
While the business applications for in-store traffic data is nearly limitless, here are just a few more ways retailers can do more with the data collected:
- Identify Prime Real Estate: Once installed, some retailers conduct what is known as A/B testing with our people counting systems. A/B testing pits two options against one another and uses data to determine the winning candidate. You can use this process to further identify which displays perform the best and result in the most sales.
- Tweak Your Store Layout: It’s your job to guide customers through your space and to entice them to linger and ultimately to buy. The main function of the flow and design of your store is to maximize sales for each square foot of space. Real-time insight into traffic allows you to tweak and refine the layout until you have the optimal layout.
- Boost Traffic: Ideally once you know your baseline traffic numbers on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis, you want to start identifying opportunities for improvement and brainstorming ideas to boost traffic. Time contingent promotions (like door busters) drive customers into your store during off hours. Special events can be strategically scheduled during lulls as well.
- Prevent Theft: Retail traffic counters aid in determining the ideal shopper-to-associate staffing ratio, which is beneficial not only to providing customer service but also to keeping an eye on individuals in your store who may have unsavory intentions. Retail thieves often strike during busy times when staff may be occupied with assisting shoppers.
The Technology Behind Traffic Counting Systems
Common retail traffic counting systems use sensors at the entrance areas to count the number of visitors to the store. Infrared technology is used to register customers coming in or going out of the store by counting each time a beam is broken. Some of the more sophisticated systems can even determine a customer’s actual direction of travel; whether they are coming in or going out. These systems are usually based on thermal imaging, which is body heat detection or video processing technology. Sensors can be mounted horizontally at the entrance, or overhead above the customers’ path.
Counts can be generated using the system and sent to a database. Depending on the system that the company is using, counts can be segmented virtually in real-time or divided into time increments such as five minutes, half-hour, hour, etc. Some software systems will allow reports to be generated by time period, store site, entrances, and segmentation groupings.
8 Benefits of People Counting Data
People counting data is essential for any retailer, especially for smaller businesses that cannot analyze data from numerous locations. When used properly, a people counting system can provide information on more than just foot traffic. Here are eight of the top benefits of gathering people counting data:
1. Helps Your Business Plan Ahead
Placing a people counting device near the entrance will allow you to view real-time data of customer walk-ins on any given day or time of the week. With accurate consumer foot traffic data, you can make decisions such as hiring more staff, adjusting staff leave or changing your operating hours.
2. Allows You to Understand How Other Factors Impact Your Business
In addition to collecting daily data, you can utilize a people counting device to understand larger business trends. The longer you gather information, the more you will be able to see which external factors affect your daily operations. For example, with a people counting system, you can see if other events around your store cause more customers to visit your business.
3. Provides Customer Behavior Insights
Placing a people counting device at a prime location in your business can collect valuable customer insights. For example, placing a counting sensor by the street can show how many people walk past your store to guide your displays. You can also put counters throughout your store to view how many customers enter certain rooms to optimize inventory.
4. Shows Real-Time Space Usage Data
Using a people counting system can help your business better understand how people use a space throughout business hours. You can use this space usage data to inform customers which rooms are empty or determine which rooms see the most traffic during the day.
5. Improve Energy Efficiency
Understanding the traffic patterns and occupancy levels of your business space can assist in improving your energy efficiency. You may want to turn down the temperature in areas at full capacity to improve customer comfort. You can also use the data from people counting devices to optimize HVAC in unoccupied rooms. Using accurate consumer foot traffic data to adjust your cooling and heating systems will reduce energy costs and improve your business’s sustainability initiatives.
6. Enhance Air Quality
Having a healthy indoor air quality (IAQ) level can improve the health and safety of all building occupants and lower the risk of developing and spreading respiratory illness. Combining environmental data such as carbon dioxide levels with foot traffic data can help you adjust your ventilation requirements. Even a slight adjustment can limit airborne illness transmission and reduce employee illness and sick leave.
7. Boost Security Measures
People trackers and presence detectors can provide real-time updates to improve security for natural and other threats. For example, a presence detector can determine how many people are in the building during a fire. Having occupancy data on hand can also speed up help and rescue efforts.
8. Improves Social Distancing Practices
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses must place capacity limits on their spaces to comply with social distancing regulations. A people counting device can allow your business to track how many people enter or exit a room. People counting systems can also provide real-time alerts when your building reaches a capacity threshold.
Use People Counting Data To Increase Profits
Now that you know how the technology works and what the reports from traffic counting will show you, let’s talk about what counting can do for your profits. Since revenue and repeat customers keep you in business, this step is very important.
Once a company begins counting traffic, they will immediately discover new ways to analyze and optimize their business. For example, the retailer will often start with benchmarking its current conversion rates and track future conversion as the company implements best practices to improve on conversion. Even the smallest percent increase can be a significant difference for a company. By utilizing traffic counting systems, companies can also determine if they are understaffed during peak traffic times or if they are losing sales or paying too much for labor during inopportune times.
Traffic counting systems can also inform a company if certain advertising efforts are warranted or not. Combining traffic information with sales and transaction data, assessments can be made to show how to make different areas of your business such as marketing, staffing levels and support more effective.
With a relatively small investment and a little bit of time, retailers can positively impact their profits by analyzing visitor traffic.
Want to learn more about traffic counting? Contact our team of experts or request a quote.