For stores with no customers in it people counting systems would appear to be a waste of money. Why bother counting what isn’t walking in your store. Maybe you should be asking why aren’t people walking in your store. If patron counts are so low that you don’t need a device to keep track of them you need to find out what is keeping them out. There may be factors you haven’t even considered that are influencing customers and deterring them from coming in. They may even be telling you and you are not listening to them properly.
For example, I work for a store that has a decent amount of foot traffic. The store even uses a customer counting device to measure customer conversion rates. The one question I often hear from shoppers walking in at night is, “Is the store open?” That is a question but it is also a clue, the store looks closed from the outside of the building. Why does it look closed? Because the front windows are heavily tinted to cut down on the sunlight glaring into the building. The sun shines directly in and can be overpowering and in the summer it heats the building. The tint cuts down some of that impact. The down side of it is that the store appears dark if one is looking at it from the outside. If you are a customer you might not bother trying to come in and visit. It leads me to wonder how many potential shoppers do we lose simply because of this one little issue. The solution in my opinion would be to have a bright neon light on the window that says, OPEN.
Supposing company management listened to my suggestion and placed that OPEN sign so it could be viewed by customers, how would you know if it was working as you intended? That is where people counting systems are useful. Install it on your Sensormatic electronic article surveillance towers and track your foot traffic for several weeks. Afterwards put out your sign and monitor your counts at that point you will see if your solution works. If the results don’t bear out your suspicions then you use the customer counting device for other measurements. It doesn’t lose its usefulness to your store.
Another purpose for the people counting systems installed in stores is the data they can provide to make it easier to see when the peak hours for a store are. I can hear the chuckles now. “Foolish writer, I can look at my sales slips and final register read and see when my peak hours are, I don’t need to spend money on a customer counting device.” That, my friend, is not totally accurate. Yes, you can see when peak purchase hours are taking place BUT you cannot tell if that was when your peak customer foot traffic took place. How many people walked into your store and left without ever making a purchase? What are those customers telling you? “But wait Mr. Article Writer, they can’t tell me anything because they did not talk to my cashiers or make a purchase!” AHA! I have you again, they did tell you something. Those customers told you that something (or a lack of something) kept them from making a purchase in your establishment. It is up to you to figure out what it was that made them choose to leave empty-handed. Did anyone greet them when they walked in? Was assistance offered if they were looking for something specific? Did they have to wait for a salesfloor associate to open a showcase or fitting room and no one came to help? Is it possible your customers were in line at a cash register and got fed up with waiting to check out so they left? Was the appearance of the store attractive or did it look cluttered? ALL of these are thinks that can influence the decisions customers make while they are in your store. Your sales receipts won’t show this but a customer counting device can aid in seeing what isn’t happening…increased sales.
“Okay Mr. Smarty-Pants, suppose I install one of these counters, then what do I do with the information, all I know is people are leaving without buying.” Boy, you really should not be calling me all of these names! However, I am not going to take offense I am going to offer some suggestions to help you but you are going to have to read those helpful tips in Part 2. But, please when you do come don’t call me so many names I’m really sensitive you know.
People counting systems are important and we can help you with them. Call 1.866.914.2567 and let’s talk.