Why do retailers need people counters in their stores?

December 1, 2021

Modern businesses are using people counters to understand the daily traffic patterns in their retail stores. It helps them understand the peak business hours and generate comprehensive reports related to overall conversion rates.  

While retail outlets use people counters to gauge performance through crucial KPIs such as the number of customers being dealt by the staff on an hourly basis, commercial property owners use people counter to show their clients the customer traffic flow around their outlets and negotiate rents. In public offices, educational institutes, and banks, people counters are used to track space utilization and resource allocation.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped the infrastructure needs of retailers who now must comply with strict SOPs and occupancy limits. Under these circumstances, people counters, which are essential in tracking and managing store visitors’ journeys, are gaining more popularity.

Role of people counters in the retail industry

How do people counters work?

A people counter can be explained as an electronic device that efficiently measures the number of people walking by a particular place. It can be an entrance or a passage. There are many different people counting solutions available in the market and they use technologies such as infrared sensors, thermal imaging, and even simple manual clickers to track footfall in retail stores.  

Benefits of people counters

The main use of all traffic counters is the collection of reliable data about in-store visitors so that brick-and-mortar businesses can use it to optimize their stores and enhance customer experience Footfall analytics generated by solutions such as Shopper Value help retail stores transform raw traffic data into actionable insights that can inform decision making and contribute towards enhancing conversion for retailers. Here are a few benefits of using people counters that retail businesses must take advantage of.  

  1. Provides actionable insights into customer behavior

People counter technologies can provide retailers with a wealth of data on customer traffic patterns. Companies can understand the peak times in their retail stores, analyze comprehensive reports based on footfall trends and optimize customer in-store journey to maximize conversion and ensure profitability.  

For example, a retail business manager may observe that traffic in a particular type of store remains low during weekday mornings but spikes by 20% at the same time during the weekends. This means that the retail manager must pay special attention to better service and staff availability in morning hours during the weekends to enhance profits  

  1. Helps businesses optimize staff scheduling

When it comes to customer experience, having well-trained staff with ample product knowledge is necessary to stand out.  It is not only the quality of service but also the availability of staff per customer which needs to be optimized by store managers.  

Customers expect to have a smooth shopping experience in stores and for that, retailers need to always ensure optimum staff levels. A people counter supported with powerful analytics will allow retail businesses to monitor customer foot traffic and optimize staff scheduling accordingly. Businesses can easily measure KPIs including visitor per staff hour and transaction per staff hour to come up with the minimum number of staff members required in the store at a certain time with respect to the expected traffic.

For example, a store owner, who detects a high visitor per staff ratio during high footfall may decide to have all his sales staff members serving the customers during peak traffic hours. During the off-peak hours, some of the staff members can be reallocated to shelving and restocking to get optimal use of their time.  

  1. Assists businesses in measuring marketing efforts

People counting plays a crucial role in measuring the success of marketing in brick-and-mortar stores. On one hand, people counting solutions allow retailers to measure whether the latest promotion/marketing campaign is drawing in enough footfall to the stores. On the other hand, the correlation between the effect on conversion and increase in-store traffic can further add insights with respect to buyers’ intent and the staff’s ability to convert potential customers. Businesses can tweak their marketing strategies by analyzing their traffic and conversions trends to zero in on the winning formula.

  1. Allows you to understand how external factors affect your business

Successful retailers know that anything from season or weather to consumer trends and economic turbulence can influence in-store traffic. According to research published on Research Gate, severe weather can hamper retail store sales by 23.1% and the main reason behind this is the decrease in foot traffic. Although these factors are not in control of any business but measuring their influence on customers can help retail stores prepare better.  

The same study highlighted that weather-themed sales for beach fashion or rain clothing can increase sales by 40.7% based on the changes in the weather. Concisely, having a good grip on the impacts of weather on your traffic and conversions can help businesses bank on specific product categories and make the most out of weather products.  

Retail leaders must take action now

Footfall analytics empowers retail stores with comprehensive data insights based on people counting trends. Increasing customer traffic and boosting sales is of foremost importance to any retail store in the market today. Retail leaders need access to the right information to make educated business growth decisions for their retail businesses. Intelligent reports based on people counting data can help them comprehend, measure, and optimize business growth opportunities that a retail business must tap into.