Getting Started With People Counting Guide

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People counting technology empowers businesses across industries to make better decisions. When you understand how many people visit on different days, you can optimize everything from your staffing to your energy usage. Learn whether your visitors are making purchases or just browsing. See if your latest promotions bring more people in the door. Find out which entrances get the most traffic, and get many more valuable insights.

If you’re new to people counting, you may have many questions about the benefits and uses of people counters, alongside the options available. We’ve put together this people counter resource guide to help you get started.

Determine Your People Counting Needs

You might use people counters for many purposes. They offer actionable data for many industries. Depending on your goals, you may need different hardware or software included in your people counting system. To narrow down your options and figure out how to choose a people counter, ask yourself these questions:

1. Do I Need to Optimize Staffing?

An overview of your usual traffic density can help you plan your staff schedules more effectively. Knowing when your daily rushes and slow times fall and the days or months when you get the most customers can help you schedule the correct number of employees for every shift. As you watch your average visitor count grow over time, you’ll know when it’s time to hire new team members. A people counting system with real-time or hourly data offers the best solution.

2. Do I Need to Optimize Space Utilization?

Some businesses use their people counters to determine how many people visit each day. Others need to know which rooms or areas get lots of traffic and which ones aren’t attracting enough visitors. Facilities managers may want to track heavily-used rooms to plan maintenance activities, conserve energy or maximize space usage. Here, you may need linked visitor counters to track occupancy at various buildings across your property or to compare traffic at separate entrances and rooms within a single building.

This data can tell workplaces and universities whether they have the room to hire more team members or admit more students. It also reveals whether a facility needs more of a particular type of space, such as an extra meeting room.

Real-time occupancy data is also becoming increasingly crucial for space utilization. Across industries, COVID-19 regulations have limited building occupancy. Depending on your industry and your state’s most-recent guidelines, you may need to restrict capacity to anywhere from 20%-50%. Individual rooms may also have stricter occupancy limits. For example, offices may need to limit meeting rooms to 10 or fewer employees at a time. Retailers, workplaces, and public spaces need real-time data to know whether it is safe to allow people into a building or room.

Real-time data can also enhance facilities management. It can link to an HVAC and Building Management System, saving energy by heating and cooling parts of the building based on whether they’re occupied. It can also integrate with a room booking system. This information tells employees in real-time if the space they need is free and whether or not the current occupants reserved it.

If this real-time occupancy data is important for your facility, you’ll need a Time of Flight people counter, like the Vector 4D sensor, and real-time occupancy monitoring software.

3. What Marketing Metrics Do I Want to Look At?

Businesses that count their customers need to look at a few different metrics. Retail stores in particular use people counters to measure their conversion rates. Looking at your total visitors compared to your total transactions lets you understand your store’s conversion rates. Other businesses want to track foot traffic to gauge marketing success. Are specific promotions getting more people in the door? Think about the marketing metrics you’re most interested in as you evaluate software interfaces and reporting capabilities.

4. Do I Need Data Daily, Hourly or in Real Time?

Some businesses are best off with a simple daily count. If you’re not too concerned with your daily peaks and off-times, straightforward hardware should cover your needs. If you need hourly totals, a more accurate directional or overhead counter is essential. Monitoring current occupancy requires software for real-time tracking.

5. What Degree of Accuracy Do I Need?

Most businesses prefer the precision and accuracy of overhead people counters. These counters provide more accurate counts by distinguishing between people and shopping carts. Wide entrances, where many people pass through at once, require an overhead setup so visitors can’t go undetected. Sophisticated systems can even distinguish between children and adult visitors.

6. Do I Have the Capacity for Wired or Wireless Solutions?

A wired people counting system relies on a standard 110V power outlet. Many businesses prefer a wired option, so they don’t have to worry about replacing the batteries. However, a plug-in people counter costs a bit more. A more affordable wireless solution can use a battery or Power over Ethernet.

Choosing the Right People Counter for Your Industry

Every industry has slightly different needs from its people counting systems. Everything from the layout to the doorway width used in particular businesses can affect people counter hardware selection.

1. Retailers

Grocery stores, retail chains and independent shops can use people counters to analyze their daily traffic. Using a traffic counter gives you unique insights. It can give you a conversion rate, letting you know how many visitors make it to the checkout. Retailers can also use people counters to understand their rushes and slow periods or to manage occupancy.

Top people counter solutions for retailers include:

  • The SafeCount and SafeEntry Occupancy Monitoring system
  • Gazelle Series People Counter
  • Spectrum Series 3D People Counter
  • Eclipse Video Sensor
  • Z-900 Unidirectional
  • OmniCounter

2. Shopping Centers

Shopping centers need to track building-wide traffic for real-estate insights. They can charge higher rent and attract new tenants if they have data showing that the mall as a whole or a particular entrance sees many visitors each day. Shopping centers have many entrances, which are usually wider than a standard doorway. They need overhead people counting solutions such as:

  • The SafeCount and SafeEntry Occupancy Monitoring system
  • Eclipse Video Sensor
  • Gazelle Series Thermal People Counter
  • Spectrum Series 3D People Counter

3. Libraries

Libraries provide a vital public service, offering books, internet access, technology and programming to their communities. Since they are publicly funded, they need to understand how the community uses their services. A library can use people counter data to understand circulation, support funding requests or track attendance at events.

For libraries, we recommend hardware such as:

  • Z-900 Unidirectional
  • OmniCounter
  • Gazelle Series Thermal People Counter
  • Spectrum Series 3D People Counter
  • Eclipse Video Sensor

4. Casinos

Since casinos don’t ticket their visitors, people counters are the most reliable way to understand their traffic patterns. Casinos can use people counters to optimize staffing and security personnel and see which areas of the resort attract the most visitors.

Casinos generally have wide doorways and dim lighting conditions. Their traffic counters must prioritize accuracy. Our Casino customers prefer hardware such as:

  • Gazelle Series Thermal People Counter
  • Spectrum Series 3D People Counter

5. Museums

Many museums don’t require tickets or offer free entry to students. People counters help museums understand who is walking through their doors. They can also install them throughout their exhibit entries to get a picture of which rooms have the biggest draw.

Museums can benefit from many types of people counting hardware, including:

  • Gazelle Series Thermal People Counter
  • Spectrum Series 3D People Counter
  • Eclipse Video Sensor
  • Z-900 Unidirectional
  • OmniCounter

6. University Campuses

College campuses have many amenities and buildings with unique traffic patterns. Besides classrooms, they also feature dorms and dining halls, event venues, meeting spaces, laboratories and more. Each building sees different usage. Busy times ebb and flow throughout the day. With people counting data, university facilities managers see when and where students and visitors congregate to manage their buildings better. They can help universities plan their spaces to be most accessible to their users and track attendance at events.

Depending on their needs, universities can use people counters such as:

  • Z-900 Unidirectional
  • Gazelle Series Thermal People Counter
  • Eclipse Video Sensor
  • Spectrum Series 3D People Counter
  • OmniCounter

7. Offices and Commercial Buildings

Commercial spaces can use people counters to aid space utilization. They can find the best layouts and place amenities where people will use them. They can identify when they need more space and better manage maintenance operations by linking their people counting data to HVAC controls. Real-time occupancy trackers can also help offices follow social distancing protocols.

Depending on the needs and level of detail required, office buildings and other commercial properties can use people counting systems such as:

  • Eclipse Video Sensor
  • Spectrum Series 3D People Counter
  • Gazelle Series Thermal People Counter
  • Z-900 Unidirectional
  • OmniCounter

8. Hospitals

Hospitals see lots of visitors every day. People counting systems can help healthcare facilities understand their visitor patterns and what influences them. They can also better understand how people navigate the facilities and place amenities where they’re most needed.

Hospital facilities managers can choose from people counters such as:

  • Spectrum Series 3D People Counter
  • Gazelle Series Thermal People Counter
  • Eclipse Video Sensor
  • Z-900 Unidirectional
  • OmniCounter

9. Banks

When people visit the bank or ATM, they want to get in and out as soon as possible. Banks need to move lines quickly and have enough staff to handle their expected busy periods. They can also use people counters to compare performance across branches and measure marketing effectiveness. Real-time occupancy tracking can help banks follow COVID-19 restrictions and identify areas where people congregate so they can adjust layouts as needed.

For these purposes, we recommend banks and financial institutions use a people counter such as:

  • Gazelle Series Thermal People Counter’
  • Eclipse Video Sensor
  • Spectrum Series 3D People Counter
  • OmniCounter
  • Z-900 Unidirectional

Types of People Counters Available

People counting sensors break down into overhead and horizontal devices. Each type offers unique advantages and several hardware models to choose from. This people counter guide breaks down the two options available.

1. Overhead People Counting Devices

Overhead people counters mount to the ceiling in front of the entrance. In general, overhead counters are more reliable because they can distinguish moving objects as separate entities. Some are sophisticated enough to discount shopping carts and identify children. The available models include:

  • Eclipse Video Sensor: Video sensors are excellent at accommodating temperature changes and most retail lighting conditions. Video sensors also offer broader coverage, which is ideal for double-wide entrances. The Eclipse Video Sensor offers decent reliability for an affordable price. Each unit includes a single lens.
  • Spectrum Series 3D People Counter Video Sensors: Spectrum video sensors use two lenses. They have excellent depth perception, similar to human vision. The extra lens gives these units incredible accuracy. Within the Spectrum series, choose from the standard indoor model, the outdoor model and the high-mount model that can reach up to 29.5 feet.
  • Gazelle Series Thermal Imaging People Counters: Thermal sensors detect body heat and don’t require light. This feature makes them ideal for low-light environments. The Gazelle DualView combines a thermal imager and video sensor, automatically verifying its own counts. The Gazelle IP is a standalone thermal sensor. It can be used in sensitive environments where video recording is not an option, like public restrooms.

2. Horizontal People Counting Devices

Horizontal people counters project a laser beam across your entryway. Whenever someone passes through, they break the beam, registering that someone has entered or exited. They’re more affordable than overhead sensors but less accurate. If two people pass through the beam at once, only one may get counted. Still, they offer sufficient accuracy for many applications and businesses that need a low-cost solution.

Horizontal people counters come in several models, each offering distinct advantages. They include:

  • Z-900 Unidirectional: The Z-900 can cover up to 20 feet of entryway. It can count traffic without any additional software, transmitting its data up to 500 feet. Since it only uses one beam, it cannot tell what direction someone is walking. To total your traffic, take the Z-900’s daily number and divide it in two.
  • OmniCounter: The OmniCounter uses two beams to count traffic. It senses whether someone is coming or going by which beam breaks first. By measuring directional traffic, it can give you accurate counts throughout the day. It can cover a doorway up to 16 feet wide.
  • Z-WiFi: The Z-WiFi connects to your WiFi to offer a wireless counting solution. Like the Z-900, its beam can reach up to 20 feet.

What’s the Next Step?

Whether you’ve decided that a people counter is right for you or are still on the fence, we have plenty of resources to help you make an informed decision. Here are a few steps you can take:

1. Learn More With Our eBook Library

People counters can serve many purposes to many functions of your business. Your marketing department may use them to track how their campaigns and promotions influence foot traffic, and your facilities managers can use them to save energy throughout your building and allocate resources appropriately. Your managers can use them to schedule more staff on busy days or during peak hours, and your security team can use them to place security personnel where they’re needed most.

So many roles and departments can benefit from a people counter. Learning how it can benefit many departments can help you justify the investment and get everyone on board with the new technology. Besides the many uses for people counters for your business, they serve unique purposes for various industries. Check out our people counting eBook library to learn more about the general business and industry-specific benefits of visitor counters.

2. Weigh Your Hardware Options

At Traf-Sys, we offer many hardware options to cater to many different business needs, entry layouts and counting conditions. Explore our product pages to get an in-depth look at what each sensor provides.

3. Consider Your Software Requirements

Some people counters require no software to give you raw visitor data. To get the most out of your data, we recommend pairing your hardware with the VisiCount software. It provides deeper analysis and custom reporting. Compare two periods or the traffic patterns at separate entrances. Link it with other data like sales and staffing to get more marketing and scheduling insights.

If you need real-time occupancy tracking, consider the SafeEntry and SafeCount occupancy monitoring system. This software integrates with your people counters to give you real-time data on your current occupancy. You can set custom thresholds and see how many people it’s safe to admit at any given time.

4. Answer Your Remaining Questions

Still have questions about people counting systems? Visit our frequently asked questions page. There, we answer questions related to battery life, the different types and uses of people counters, and how they work.

What Sets Traf-Sys Apart

Traf-Sys has installed people counting systems for more than 17,000 locations. Our software and support have helped businesses from retail shopping centers, commercial buildings and universities to museums, casinos and libraries understand their visitors by the numbers.

We set ourselves apart with benefits such as the following:

1. Support You Can Count On

Our customer care team and level of support are top-notch. Our support specialists average 10 years or more of experience. We believe careful installation is the key to long-lasting operation and accuracy. That’s why our installation team tailors each job to the environment and your goals. We aim our sensors for maximum coverage and can complete installation with minimal disruptions to your business.

We’re based in Pennsylvania, but we have a network of experienced support technicians around the country. We pride ourselves on resolving most support issues on the same business day you contact us.

2. Custom Solutions

Every building and industry has different needs. Different doorway widths and numbers of entrances require a thoughtful approach. When installing new technologies, buildings with historical significance and other sensitive environments need special considerations. Meanwhile, different industries use their people counting systems for various purposes. Some industries need data to plan their facilities and staffing schedules. Others need to track marketing campaign success.

We specialize in highly custom installations. We can count the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City among our satisfied clients with challenging people counting environments. We’ve also installed people counters for independently owned Harley Davidson dealerships around the country. For this job, we designed a system that accommodates each dealership’s unique layout, architecture and IT system.

3. Experience and Knowledge

With nearly 20 years of service, our company is a trusted people counting system provider. We have the experience and knowledge to complete your project well. Throughout our company’s history, we’ve continued introducing new technologies that solve today’s challenges.

4. Easy-to-Use Software

Our software is flexible and easy to integrate into your existing systems. Because it’s web-based, you never need to update it. Pull custom reports, look at an overview of your locations or dive into the details at a single site with ease. We offer two software solutions to solve your company’s needs. First, VisiCount analyzes your visitor data, turning raw numbers into visual graphs and custom reports.

If you need real-time occupancy tracking, consider our SafeEntry and SafeCount occupant monitoring software. This tool lets you set custom occupancy thresholds while displaying real-time data for your employees or customers to see. It can also push real-time alerts for in-the-moment decision-making.

5. Advice to Get the Most Out of Your People Counting System

If you’re new to people counting, it helps to have an expert in your corner. With 20 years in the business and clients spanning many industries, we can help you make sense of your data. First, we can help you determine what system you need. Once your installation is complete, we can advise you on how to put your data into action. Start using your people counting data to improve revenue and profits while reducing costs.

Contact Traf-Sys Today

If you have any more questions or are ready to move forward with a people counting system for your business, contact the Traf-Sys team today. We’re happy to tell you more about our products, offer advice and suggestions and provide you with a free quote.

Space Utilization

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Every organization places great value on its working space. The area or environment dedicated to operating a facility comes with a significant cost, including the real estate value, the operating expenses and the effectiveness of people working in that space.

It’s difficult to achieve maximum efficiency and produce a proper return on investment without utilizing space to its fullest advantage. Whether it’s retail space, casino space, library space, museum space or university campus space, the facility’s area needs to maximize its space utilization. This is best done by measuring key performance indicators (KPIs) like the number of people using the allowable space.

These KPI measurements are commonly called metrics. They provide realistic data that can be analyzed and used to identify where space is ineffectively utilized. Space utilization metrics can also show what’s really working inside a workspace, which can add significant value to a facility’s operation.

Today’s technology allows facility managers to calculate their space utilization rate easily. Understanding factors like traffic trends and person-to-space occupancy ratios allow managers to improve business performance, secure funding and optimize labor by making better-informed decisions. One of the best technologies available for space utilization calculation and achieving maximum cost-effectiveness is a people counting system.

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What Is Space Utilization?

Simply put, space utilization is measuring how and whether allowable space is being used. It’s commonly expressed as a function of occupancy rate and frequency rate. The occupancy looks at how full the space is compared to its capacity, and the frequency rate measures the amount of time the space is used compared to its availability.

Space utilization rates are assessed by the actual use of a facility’s space experiences and the predicted use expected from a particular space. Private office space utilization is no different from public space use when it comes to examining metrics and calculating peak use and low-occupancy times. Whether it’s a corporate boardroom or a library reading area, effective managers must know how their space is truly utilized.

Space utilization is as much about managing people as it is about measuring space. Every facility has its high and low occupancy periods. The trick for managers is knowing how to measure those metrics accurately and move them into a matrix where meaningful data presents a true picture of how their space is used.

Calculating Space Utilization

Another way of viewing space utilization is by dividing a facility’s occupancy by its capacity. For instance, if a facility has the capacity to handle 300 employees but only has 200 on staff, the space utilization ratio is 3:2 or 67 percent utilized. That ratio indicates a lot of unused space, which is expensive real estate.

There is no magic or optimal formula for calculating peak space utilization because each facility has its own specific requirements for the people-to-place formula. For instance, a museum may require extra floor-to-visitor space because of exhibit requirements, while a casino environment will tolerate a much more packed feeling.

A retail outlet, such as a shopping mall location, depends on drop-in traffic. Retail managers have to analyze foot traffic flow trends and compare them with times and promotions so as to maximize their shop space. Education facilities like campuses and universities also have to measure occupancies to schedule staff to meet service needs.

To accurately monitor traffic and understand ultimate space utilization, it’s necessary to measure key factors that balance the people-and-place equation. One true indicator of traffic measurement is a people counting system. These are hardware and software components that provide accurate information on who’s coming, staying and going. People counting systems give a great picture of space utilization metrics.

Space Utilization Metrics

Metrics are an all-encompassing term for measurement units. There’s no precise metric list because there are so many variables in calculating which parts of a facility are being utilized efficiently and which are being under-utilized. Developing metrics is a matter of examining what key performance factors occur within a particular space.

Another way to look at space utilization metrics is by viewing them as data collection points. Getting meaningful data requires an accurate measurement of what people are doing within a particular place. Some common metrics applicable to calculating space use are:

  • Overall square footage: The first metric to establish is a facility’s size. In most American sites, like offices and retail outlets, this measurement is normally calculated by the square footage of floor area, rather than the cubic footage, which is a common warehouse metric. The total square footage is then defined by specific usage areas like meeting rooms and dedicated spots for displays.
  • Overall staff occupancy: An equally important metric for analyzing space utilization is identifying staff numbers and their functions. It’s a rare for a facility to employ all staff members at the same time, so allowance has to be made for high and low employee presence. Many facilities utilize the same space for multiple staff members, such as desk-sharing and common work stations.
  • Overall visitor trafficFor businesses open to the public, visitor traffic is a key performance issue. Monitoring visitor traffic provides a crucial metric that indicates the additional person-load impacting a workspace. It’s important that visitors have ample space to feel welcome and not repelled by crowded conditions.
  • Average peak usage: Both staff and visitors will have peak space-use periods. Some businesses experience periodic rushes, while others have a moderate traffic flow. Monitoring the average peak use in a facility is an important part of calculating the best use of available space.
  • Average peak frequency: Peak use times can vary in frequency. For example, a retail outlet can have an up-and-down scale of visits during the day while a learning institute will have longer fluctuations according to the season. It’s important to establish accurate metrics of how frequent peak capacities occur.
  • Ratio of visits to staff: This is a very important metric that affects staff scheduling. To manage customer interests, there have to be sufficient staff members present to handle their needs. Monitoring metrics like overall traffic and peak periods give managers a significant advantage to make sure resources match the demand, while allowing the space for them to interact.
  • Specific usage areas: Some facility areas are utilized more frequently than others. Both employees and customers move fluidly from one area to another, however, they tend to gravitate to certain spots more than others. Monitoring people’s movements within a facility gives managers a solid metric for what space is a highly utilized region and what’s not.

One of the best data-gathering tools for establishing space utilization metrics is a people counting system. Monitoring people through technology gives real-time data about accurate movements within a facility. People monitoring identifies peak usage in all areas like meeting spaces, individual workspaces and common spaces within any facility. Installing a people counting system will truly benefit space utilization management.

7 Benefits of Space Utilization Metrics

Facility space is one of the top costs of operating any business. To be cost-effective and deliver the best return on investment, facility operators have to manage their space as best as possible.

There are many ways that prudent managers benefit from wisely utilizing their space. By developing realistic metrics and applying data generated through people counting, every facility has the opportunity to increase performance and use their allowable space to its advantage. Here are seven benefits gained from space utilization metrics:

  1. Maximizing space use: Knowing the rate of people-flow through a facility is a crucial metric to establish. By having accurate counts of low and high usage periods, a facility manager knows what space is highly utilized and what can be considered a waste of space. Developing metrics from counting people builds a solid foundation for assessing and achieving maximum space use.
  2. Minimizing space costs: Wasted space can really impact a facility’s operating costs. Analyzing metrics developed from people counting gives a true picture of how space is used to its best efficiency. Eliminating unused space significantly saves operating costs and adds to profitability.
  3. Improving employee relations: It’s well-known that employees function best when they have sufficient space to work. However, some suggest that they can’t prosper in excessive space either, as it doesn’t contribute to a satisfying work environment. Clearly defined space metrics will result in building a workplace with optimum space utilization for best employee performance.
  4. Enhancing customer experience: Customers might not be able to recognize maximum space utilization, but they can certainly experience it. They intrinsically know when a private business or public facility is well managed, and they feel the effects of a well laid-out space. Metrics gained from people counting technology can have a positive impact on increasing customer experiences when properly implemented.
  5. Promoting agile environments: There’s an increasing trend to design optimum workspaces that promote agile environments, meaning a working space that seamlessly integrates with multiple activities. One of the principles around agile designs is having unassigned seating where workers have the freedom to use what space serves them best for their assignment.
  6. Conserving energy expenses: It stands to reason that maximized spaces make the best use of energy resources. This goes beyond conserving utility expenses and involves human energy that’s needlessly expended through inefficient environments. A people counting system provides excellent metrics for knowing how to improve space utilization and conserve energy expenses.
  7. Optimizing internal services: Communication between workers and outward to their management team is optimized by having efficient services integrated with excellent use of space. People counting is a support tool for establishing internal service efficiency, and is one more benefit a facility gains through space utilization metrics.

Every company that employs space utilization metrics and implements positive changes can expect a positive impact. Investing in technology support like people counting systems shows up as more than an improved bottom line. The return on investment also comes through as customer satisfaction, employee efficiency and organizational safety.

Technology That Can Improve Space Utilization

People counting systems are fascinating technological tools. They work on a straightforward principle of monitoring human movements in and out of a facility. Technology-based counters also track people as they move about the place.

People counters serve two main purposes. The first is acting as a customer relationship management tool. The second is acting as an internal data-gathering device that builds metrics to monitor employee patterns. In both roles, people counting systems provide excellent benefits that help make the best use of space in every application.

As with all technology, people counting systems continue to evolve. These systems are now highly sensitive compared to early models that simply clicked as people passed by. Many of today’s people counters are complex integrations of hardware and software. Here is a brief view of current people counting technology:

  • Density counting uses depth data and computer vision, mixed with machine learning, to anonymously track human movement.
  • Optical sensors are smart cameras that use real-time images to detect movement and identify people.
  • Break-beams are active infrared monitors that emit and receive light-wave interruption signals.
  • Thermal imagers detect body heat and register people’s moves on a software platform that builds metric patterns.
  • Wi-Fi trackers follow cell and smartphone signals to recognize individuals and know if they’ve seen them before.
  • Seat sensors detect human presence at work stations, on transportation systems and even in movie theaters.
  • Ultrasonic sensors use sound waves that bounce off people as they pass, and then use the information to supply movement metrics.

Investing in people counting systems is a must for progressive facility managers who want to make the most of their space utilization. There is a wide range of components used for counting people, and they vary in sophistication. These are the common components found in most people counter systems:

  • Overhead beam counters detect movement from above.
  • Horizontal beam counters identify sideways motion.
  • Uni-directional counters follow one-way traffic.
  • Bi-directional counters track two-way motion.
  • Wired counters use hard-wired components.
  • Wireless counters rely on wi-fi or radio signal communication.

Integrated software is an important technological support to integrated people counting systems. Compatible software takes data sent from counting sensors and transmits it into meaningful metrics. Information generated in software reports lets a management team clearly view what human activity takes place inside their premises. From this valuable content, managers make serious decisions about utilizing space.

Traf-Sys People Counting Systems Help Utilize Space

Traf-Sys provided top technological solutions where facilities want to maximize their use of space. Traf-Sys people counting systems provide component and software support for traffic monitoring challenges that mine raw data and turn it into meaningful metrics. From this information, business owners and operators have an excellent base on which to plan their optimal space use.

Over 17,000 locations depend on Traf-Sys people counters to inform them of patterns that affect business decisions and bottom lines. These include facilities like universities, retail stores, shopping malls, casinos, libraries and museums. Each one has benefitted by profiling their human movements, and they’ve made better use of their space from it as well as improving their bottom line.

Learn more about how people counter systems can improve your space utilization by contacting Traf-Sys today. Call us at 1-888-815-6568 or contact us online.

How To Measure Foot Traffic

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Many types of businesses, including for- and non-profits, rely on people patronizing them. Without adfoot equate pedestrian traffic near your business, you may not hit the numbers you need. But getting people into the door is not the only reason you will want to evaluate foot traffic data.

Identifying pedestrian cycles gives you the information you need to optimize your operations. Whatever your sector, you will find a use for measuring traffic in the area. If you want a people counting software and hardware solution for your business, learn the best way to set it up for assessing the habits of those walking in your building.

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Why Collecting Foot Traffic Data Matters Across Industries

While most associate people counting with retail, this information is vital in multiple fields, including:

  • Non-Profits: Non-profit institutes can gather information about their popularity to best schedule staff and volunteers, making the most of these limited resources.
  • Warehouses: Identifying the most commonly used routes through doors of a warehouse can help you rearrange the design to prevent traffic jams that can slow the process of moving products.
  • Libraries: Instead of hiring a person to count patrons, having an automated system gives you more accurate data about people entering the library.
  • Malls: Foot traffic into a mall drastically impacts the profits of businesses inside. Identifying foot traffic trends can help improve security and advertising.
  • Retailers: You can gauge your marketing success by counting how many patrons enter your stores.
  • Restaurants: Identify trends in times and patrons and see whether they relate to special occasions, deals or other events. Foot traffic data can help you make server schedules, plan promotions and find ways to increase profits.
  • Urban Planning: Creating walkable neighborhoods requires urban planners to find out where people walk. Planners must know how to count pedestrians to decide how to lay out city areas.
  • Utility Managers: Determining times of peak occupancy at various points during the week and year can help you set more accurate HVAC schedules to maximize efficiency and comfort.
  • Casinos: Casino managers can change the layout of their gaming areas by inserting games or ATMs where people congregate. Also, staffing and security personnel schedules can adapt to more popular times.

Ready to get a people counter for your business? Ge a free quote today!

How to Measure Pedestrian Traffic

How you measure pedestrian traffic depends on what you will do with the data. Setting up hardware and software for the counting process automates things so you can save your workers’ time while gathering necessary information about foot traffic. Following these steps ensures you have a setup that will accurately count people.

1. Create Goals for Measuring Foot Traffic

If you want to know how to collect foot traffic data, you need to determine your goals before creating a data-gathering strategy. What you intend to do with the information will help you choose the best hardware for counting people. Will you be:

  • Entering People: Use a self-contained door counter to find out how many people pass the door during a given time.
  • Passing Pedestrians: Employ an outdoor counting sensor if you want to measure the number of pedestrians walking through a point.
  • Find Peak Traffic: Identifying peak traffic times or average length of visits requires you to install sensors that connect to people counting software.

These goals only account for some of the ends you could achieve through using sensors and software. If you have a different purpose for your business, decide what information you want to collect and use the data type and business entry points to determine the sensors you need — outdoor, thermal, video or bidirectional.

2. Identify Entry and Exit Points For Data Collection

Where do you want to count people? While this question seems straightforward, where you install the sensor will help you choose the right model for your project. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you need to know how often workers pass between buildings?
  • Is your goal to count the number of customers entering your business?
  • Does the number of people who leave an area matter?
  • Will the time of day affect your counting goals?
  • Do people move past the monitoring point in groups or individually?

Measure the entry and exit points where you want to install the sensors. Opening height and width determine how many sensors and the type you will need. The dimensions of the entryways, as well as the type of information you want to collect, will help you choose the best sensors for your people counting needs.

3. Select Traffic Counting Sensors

Consider how many entrances and exits you need to monitor to plan the number of people counting monitoring devices you need. Look at the entrance designs. Whether you have doors or an open walkway will make a difference in the sensors you use for that location.

You have two main choices for sensor position and two options for how they count. Horizontal sensors send a beam across an opening and count how many times it breaks. These may come in wireless or wired options. Overhead designs install in the ceiling and require wired network connections. These can be unidirectional or bidirectional counters. The former only counts the number of people passing through, regardless of direction. However, the latter distinguishes whether people enter or exit.

If you have a swinging door that opens outward, you can use a horizontal counter. Swinging doors that open inward can block the detection beam across people’s legs. The door funnels people through the entryway in single file, making the horizontal sensor more accurate. Ideally, only use horizontal beam devices across doorways of 15-feet wide or narrower.

For open entrances or extra-wide entry points where people can move in groups or stand in the opening, overhead sensors will give you a more accurate count. Depending on how high the ceiling is, you should plan to install at least one overhead sensor for every 11 feet of entrance width. Make sure you can get network cables and power to the overhead door sensors if you select a wired design. If your model requires a wired connection or power supply, factor that into the installation costs and time when planning.

4. Choose How You Will Store or Transmit Data

Again, ask yourself some questions:

  • How will the sensors store the data, or will they transmit it to a server?
  • Do you want someone to read the data and reset the counter manually?
  • Would you prefer the sensors send data to your people counting software over the network or via a data controller? The latter option gives you the flexibility to automate the data collection process.

Additionally, you can buy server space, so you don’t need to use your servers to host the information collected by the sensors. Using a hosting service for your data will help you keep the data organized, especially if you have multiple sensors around your facility or numerous buildings with sensors installed. For instance, our Traf-Sys hosting service combines information storage and reporting into a single solution to free you from managing the database or updating software.

5. Install Counting Sensors

To ensure accurate counts, you must install the sensors correctly. The type of sensor will dictate where you must set up the device. Guard the spacing between sensors, especially overhead models, to avoid double counting or missing people who pass through the entrance.

Horizontal counters fit inside a doorframe. Install these so the door opening does not interfere with the readings. You want to count people only, not how many times the door opens. Select a site in the doorframe, so the door opens away from the sensor and does not cross the path of the counting beam. These counters have two parts that must sit directly across from each other for the laser to work. Most horizontal sensors work on batteries, but if you want a wired model, verify that you have an electrical outlet near the installation site first.

Overhead people counters install inside the upper portion of the doorframe or in the ceiling. These devices typically require hardwiring into the network to get power and transmit data. Read the instructions to see if you must set the height in the sensor or install the device at a particular level. Also, review from the instructions whether you need to set the counter to measure unidirectionally or bidirectionally.

6. Set Up Foot Traffic Data Collection Procedures

Collecting data from your sensors depends on the type of monitors you have installed. If you have display-only counters, you will need to have one of your workers record the number each day and reset the total.

Should you prefer to have the data delivered from the sensors to your computer, you may need to add data controllers. These devices gather data from multiple sensors and can store it until you need to send it to your computer or upload to the network.

Other sensors have direct connections to the network and will upload the data to your server or a hosted server. If you choose this option, you will need network-connected sensors and a server set up to receive the data.

7. Begin Collecting Information on Foot Traffic

To collect information from base models of sensors, you will need to schedule checks of the devices to record the data and reset the counters. Checking your sensors throughout the day will help you break down the people counting data to shorter periods for more thorough information than once daily checks. Looking at these devices, especially soon after installation, gives you peace of mind that you put them into place correctly and they provide accurate information.

Even if you have a sensor that automatically uploads its data to a server, you still should check them regularly to ensure network connection and accurate people counting.

8. Analyze Foot Traffic Data

Raw data is challenging to use. You need analytical software to make sense of the information, especially if you have your sensors consistently collecting and transmitting the data.

Software, such as VisiCount, analyzes the information from your sensors and generates easy-to-understand reports. With flexible import and export options, you can give the software the information you need to read. Look over the information in a variety of formats — tables, graphs and drill down — to spot trends. See whether the day or time affected business. You can even examine if weather played a role in a rise or fall in foot traffic.

Scaling the data gives your business room to grow because you can increase the number of branches you monitor easily. Being able to examine various departments of your business can help you make decisions about:

  • Worker schedules
  • Facility layout
  • Logistics

Reports can aggregate data from multiple locations while still allowing you to access information from a particular branch or entrance. For instance, if you have a graph showing trends across all your sites, you can drill down through the data to get details for each facility. If you want to analyze the data from a single store, you can see information from each monitored entrance.

The software creates conversions, which tie the traffic information gathered into percentages to indicate the success of your business. For retailers, this means how many people entering purchased something. In libraries, it could correlate to how many people check out books. By looking over the data in terms of your business’s operations, you get a real-world means of seeing how the number of people entering affects your company.

Incorporating data hosting gives you a secure server for storing your sensor data and generating reports. With such a system, you never need to install software on a single computer. You have access to the information from anywhere, a boon to managers who travel or run multiple facilities. You also don’t have to worry about keeping your servers or managing databases to host your sensors’ information.

9. Make Decisions

Once you’ve reviewed the data analytics, you need to use them effectively. Without making changes based on the data gathered, you will not use the sensors to their fullest potential.

The data you collect will help you make decisions about worker schedules, facility layouts, marketing success and more. Foot traffic data will be valuable when determining the success of your operations. Look at conversions and how changes in your advertising or selling methods influence the numbers.

After making changes based on the people counting information you collected, continue using the sensors and software to determine if your changes create the desired results. The information you gather and review will only help you as much as you use it to improve operations.

A Complete People Counting System

Regardless of your business sector, you cannot forego gathering information about foot traffic. People counting software and hardware are now vital tools for any company. However, setting one of these systems up from scratch poses multiple problems with hardware compatibility and accuracy of data collection. Don’t try to piece together your counting system by cobbling hardware and software on your own.

Get professional help for your people counting needs from Traf-Sys. Speak to one of our trained experts in people counting systems to get the ideal solution for your facility’s needs. Our team of experts can work with you to create a system that will help meet your data goals. Contact our experts for a customized approach to evaluating pedestrian traffic flow for your business.

Using People Counters to Measure Jewelry Store Traffic

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If you’re a jewelry store owner, you know how to take the guesswork out of pricing and appraising fine gemstones and pieces of jewelry. You certainly wouldn’t guess at the price of a new diamond engagement ring — with the blind hope that you might get it right. Instead, you select a price that’s in line with your product and your customers’ expectations based on the diamond’s quality and cut, as well as its setting and the going prices of your competition.

Similarly, you can’t afford to guess at what your customers are up to — especially when jewelry store people counters from Traf-Sys Inc. can give you a realistic picture of the foot traffic of your jewelry store. Currently in use in more than 17,000 locations worldwide, our people counting systems are reliable, accurate and ready to help you leverage the foot traffic metrics that can help you grow your business.

People Counters for Jewelry Stores

We have more than 12 years of experience helping retail establishments better understand the needs and habits of their foot traffic. That’s why our customer counters for jewelry stores offer a unique opportunity for jewelry retailers everywhere. After all, when profit margins are tight, wouldn’t you like to take advantage of a proven way to increase your conversion ratios?

At Traf-Sys, we offer several different people counter solutions to effectively match the needs of your store’s layout, as well as the traffic it experiences. With sensitive readers mounted in a variety of possible positions, we regularly supply the following types of systems:

  • Overhead or horizontal readers: Depending on your store’s size, layout and entrances, you can choose an overhead or horizontal type of reader mounting. Either way, the right people counter for your store can be both unobtrusive and effective, leaving your customers free to shop and giving you the foot traffic data you need.
  • Wired or wireless counters: For some jewelers, the idea of a permanent wired installation is perfect, while for others, a battery-powered people counter that requires less time and effort to install is the perfect solution. Whichever you choose, we have a model that will suit your purposes.
  • Uni-directional or bi-directional systems: Certain retail establishments are only concerned with the approximate numbers of customers they see. Other businesses want a more accurate count of how many people enter and leave their retail spaces. This is why we offer both uni-directional and bi-directional systems. Bi-directional systems are capable of differentiating between people coming into and leaving the same space.

Benefits of Jewelry Store People Counter

Along with reliable hardware and great support services from Traf-Sys, you can expect the following benefits when employing one of our people counters designed for your jewelry store:

  • Predict peak hours: With people counters, you can better predict when your peak hours will be — both during regular daily operations, as well as around holidays and busy wedding seasons.
  • Make better staffing decisions: The last thing you want is too many or not enough staff on hand. This is why, once you have a good handle on your foot traffic trends, you can make much more informed staffing decisions that ultimately support your customers — and your profitability.
  • Evaluate promotions: Now, after running a TV ad or other type of sales campaign, you can accurately measure the results and/or effects they have on your foot traffic.
  • Track and improve conversion rates: With knowledge of your foot traffic and sales made during a given time period, you can begin to calculate your conversion rate — with an eye on making changes to improve it.
  • Deter shoplifting: Your products are valuable, which is why having people counters equipped with video playback can be an added deterrent to shoplifters. Once they know they’re under surveillance, most criminals think twice before committing a crime on camera.

For more information on making the most of people counters for jewelry stores, download our new product catalog or contact us directly today.

How To Calculate Retail Conversion Rate

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If you own or manage a retail shop, then it’s essential to know your analytics. Numbers answer nearly all your questions. Should you change your store layout, or is a new layout working effectively? Do you need more or fewer staff? Do you need to order more stock? Was a recent promotion or campaign successful?

When your business doesn’t rely on metrics and analytics, you’re just taking shots in the dark, hoping for the best and relying on instinct when it comes to measuring success.

Well, it seemed busier this week, and our sales were up, so we must be doing something right. Right?

But without metrics, it’s difficult to know where you should attribute your growth or your decline.

One vital question you should be asking that can help you better understand and answer all these questions is, What is my retail conversion rate?

To answer any analytical questions you might have about your business, you must have numbers to compare to, so the sooner you start tracking your retail conversion rate, the sooner you can begin digging into your metrics and start making more informed – and numbers-backed – business decisions.

This step-by-step guide will get you started. But first, let’s discuss retail conversion rates and why they are important.

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What is Retail Conversion Rate?

Your store conversion rate is the proportion of the number of visitors to your store to the number of visitors who made a purchase. This tells you how well you’re doing at turning browsers into buyers. Your retail conversion rate gives you critical insight into what’s happening in your store. Again, without measuring data such as this, your business decisions are basically based on guesswork.

Calculating your retail conversion rate is one of the best ways to measure the success of your business. Focusing on driving foot traffic into your store and increasing the number of transactions based purely on more bodies is one simple strategy you can employ to boost sales, but more bodies won’t necessarily equate to more money. We’ll explain why in the next couple sections.

Instead, measuring your conversion rate — as opposed to looking only at transactions — paints a much more accurate picture of how well your store is doing.

Calculating retail conversion will tell you how many leads are converting into actual sales — meaning more money for your business — as well as help you analyze other factors. And if you decide to revise any strategies, such as the goods you stock, your window displays or your store layout, or if you try out a new advertising approach, your retail conversion rate will tell you if these things are helping or hindering your bottom line.

retail conversion rate formula

How to Calculate Conversion Rate for Retail Stores

So how do you go about calculating your retail conversion rate? It’s pretty simple when you have accurate foot traffic and sales numbers.

First, determine the timeframe you want to examine. Then, take the number of sales made and divide it by the number of customers who visited your store during your designated period, which will give you a decimal. To convert this decimal to a whole number, multiply it by 100. This will give you your conversion rate. Below is the conversion rate formula written out:

retail conversion rate = (number of sales / number of customers) x 100

Pretty easy, right? And the data you receive will be invaluable to your business.

Why Is It Important to Count People and Customers?

It’s tempting to make all your business decisions based simply on transaction metrics. If you’re making sales, and you can track how many sales you make and your average transaction value, many business owners will call that a day and think of that data as “good enough.”

That’s because it’s easy to calculate your transaction data. However, when you begin to count the number of people entering your store, and whether they make a purchase, you’ll get a lot more details about how you’re genuinely doing.

Let’s look at an example.

Say that your store made $6,000 in week 1. You had 150 transactions, so your average transaction value was $40. In the following week, week 2, you made $7,200 and had 160 transactions, so your average transaction value went up to $45. Seems like things improved in week 2, right?

Maybe not. Let’s use the retail conversion formula instead.

First, we need to know your store traffic so we can calculate your conversion rate. In week 1, you had 1,200 people enter your store. Of those, 150 made a purchase, so your conversion rate was 12.5 percent.

In week 2, you had 2,000 people enter your store. That’s a lot more foot traffic. During week 2, you made 160 sales. This equates to a conversion rate of only 8 percent. So even though your average transaction value increased, and even though you made more money in week 2 over week 1, you converted fewer sales per visitor.

Your conversion rate dropped by more than one-third.

If you had maintained that 12.5 percent conversion rate, even at the lower $40 average transaction value you had in week 1, you would have pulled in $10,000. That’s a big difference!

To accurately calculate your conversion rate, you must know how many customers enter your store. Inaccurate store traffic numbers will skew conversion results, so it’s critical to have an accurate people counting system.

Consider the helpful experts at Traf-Sys for your people counting needs. Our thermal imaging people counting systems are up to 98 percent accurate, so you know you’re getting the right numbers to calculate your conversion rate — and all other foot traffic metrics — every time.

average retail conversion rate

What Is the Average Retail Conversion Rate for a Retail Store?

Now that you know how to calculate your store conversion rate accurately, you may be wondering, What is a typical conversion rate for a shop?

These numbers can be a bit difficult to nail down as businesses are often reluctant to share this data — and fewer than 25 percent of retailers even engage in people counting — but industry average conversion rates for brick-and-mortar stores is around 20 percent.

One thing is certain — every industry is different, which makes it even more important to start measuring your own conversion rate and begin tracking it for comparisons, week-over-week, month-over-month and year-over-year.

And once you start calculating your foot traffic — using an accurate people counting system — you’ll be ahead of your competition and well on your way to making better business decisions.

factors that impact conversion rate

What Factors Impact Your Store’s Retail Conversion Rate?

As a retail shop owner, the worst thing that you can imagine is this scenario — a customer walks into your store, takes one look around and immediately walks out. That’s a lead that didn’t convert — a sale that wasn’t made. But this scenario is avoidable.

Many factors will influence your ability to convert.

  1. Strategically position your displays. The way you position your displays is important in determining conversions. Make sure you have attractive window displays since this is something that every customer will see. Most customers will likely enter your store, scan the area and move in a clockwise rotation, so make sure that you put your newest, most attractive and highest margin items to the left of your entrance. Make aisles shorter and angle displays to remove the grocery store-like monotony that comes from long aisles. And position low-priced, impulse buys near the register and checkout area.
  2. Place retail sales associates on the floor. Are your team members greeting customers and guiding them through the purchasing process? If not, then you’re missing sales opportunities. With the high amount of e-commerce that has taken over the retail industry, many customers shop in-store because they want to ask your sales associates questions and learn more about your products. So make sure your employees are available, greeting and engaging with customers, and knowledgable about the items they’re selling. Also, be sure you’re staffing according to traffic, so you have more associates available when traffic is highest.
  3. Manage your inventory. Make sure you have what people want in stock by performing spot-checks and physical audits. And though you want to be certain you have enough inventory in the stockroom, placing fewer items on the floor will give shoppers the feeling of scarcity — which makes the items feel unique to the customer and will increase their perceived value, boosting conversions.
  4. Re-evaluate your checkout line. People hate waiting, and many customers are scared off and may abandon a sale if the line is too long. Consider putting your registers in the back of the store to hide the line. Or even better, think about getting rid of registers altogether by implementing mobile checkout that allows your employees to ring up customers wherever they are on the floor.

Increasing conversion can be a matter of simply making a few tweaks. Continue tracking your conversion rates as you make changes so you can know what’s working and what isn’t.

Questions This Data Will Answer

Once you begin tracking your retail conversion rate, you can start to answer some questions based on your store traffic and revenue, which will give you new insight into your business that will help you make staffing and inventory decisions.

  1. Is there a time of the day when the conversion rate is highest?
  2. Is there a time of the day when the conversion rate is lowest?
  3. Is there a day of the week where rates are highest?
  4. Is there a day of the week where rates are lowest?
  5. Does your conversion rate change when you are understaffed?
  6. Do conversion rates increase when sales associates are encouraged to promote a specific item or promotion?

When you have reliable data and numbers to back it up, you can begin digging into these questions, and many more.

retail kpis

Other Retail Key Performance Indicators You Should Be Measuring

Once you start analyzing your data and digging into the hard-and-fast metrics that prove your company’s mettle, you’ll be hooked! You’ll want to look at all your key performance indicators (KPIs) to know how you’re doing in every aspect of your business.

Let’s dive into other important retail KPIs your store should be tracking:

  • Revenue per visitor: Revenue per visitor tracks the amount of money generated each time someone walks into your store. This is important to measure because it shows you whether efforts to increase traffic are working. A positive trend in your revenue per visitor metric proves that more people are visiting and buying, while a negative trend can indicate that though you’re receiving more traffic, you’re still not converting.

    revenue per visitor = total revenue / total number of visitors

  • Average transaction value: This metric shows you the average value generated from each transaction. This number lets you know how much customers spend on average when they come into your shop. A higher amount means that either people are buying bigger ticket items or purchasing larger quantities. You can use this number to determine if you’re pricing items appropriately.

    average transaction value = total revenue / total number of sales

  • Sales per employee: Sales per employee can help you with scheduling and incentivizing your employees. It can also help you make decisions in regards to hiring and compensation. You can also drill down even more and measure this number based on each employee to determine how each of your staff members is performing individually.

    sales per employee = net sales / number of employees

  • Year-over-year growth: How is your business doing? Are you improving every year? For the answer, you need to determine your year-over-year growth. As a business owner, you should strive for continuous development. This number helps you know if you’re getting better or worse each year.

    year-over-year growth = (current period revenue – previous period revenue) / previous period revenue x 100

  • Net profit: Net profit tells you how much you’ve earned minus the cost of goods and all other business expenses, like administrative costs, employee payroll, rent and more. This determines if you’re putting money in your pocket or if your overhead is too high to make any money. The equation is simple.

    net profit = all revenues – all expenses

  • Sell-through rate: This is the percentage of items sold compared to the total number of items available. It lets you know how your inventory is performing so you can make better purchasing decisions.

    sell-through = number of items sold / beginning inventory x 100

  • Shop rate calculation: How much should you be charging on retail items? There isn’t necessarily a hard-and-fast calculation that you can use to determine this number. Consider the market rate and be sure to cover your labor and overhead costs. A simple rule of thumb is to double the wholesale price.

    retail price = wholesale price x 2

  • Foot traffic: Foot traffic refers to the number of people who come into your store. It’s pretty straightforward! This metric can help you evaluate whether your marketing efforts are working effectively. It’s calculated by simply counting the number of people coming through your door.

    calculated using accurate people counting systems

Go ahead and embrace your inner math geek. When it comes to business, KPIs are king. The more you’re calculating, the more you know about how your business is performing, and the more you can do to enhance your performance, improve your marketing and convert more leads into customers.

traf sys retail conversion rate quote

Choose Traf-Sys Inc. for Your People Counting Needs

When you’re ready to take more control of your business metrics, contact Traf-Sys today to find out how we can help you measure traffic coming into your retail establishment.

Our people counting systems are highly accurate and provide a range of benefits for your business. People counting and traffic analysis will allow you to calculate your conversion rates as well as allow you to:

  • Evaluate the effectiveness of your advertising and promotional strategies in real time.
  • Optimize your staffing based on traffic and determine where your customers are going within your store, so you know where staff is needed most.
  • Implement effective marketing and operations strategies based on best practices for your niche.

Call us at 888-815-6568 to talk to our experts and learn more about our people counting system and request a free quote for services.

Measuring Retail Store Traffic: How People Counting Works

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Retail Store Traffic Analysis For Your Store

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.

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Ready to get a people counting device and start collecting traffic data? Contact Traf-Sys today and get a free quote to get your system installed! 

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.

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 is what keeps 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. 

How to Use Your Gift Shop as a Tool to Drive Foot Traffic

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Gift shops. You may consider them as a way to gain a little extra revenue from guests who come to “ooh” and “aah” at the fascinating exhibits in your museum, check books out of your library or to purchase university branded items from you student store but if you think like a retailer when it comes to what you stock and how you display it, you may just notice your gift shop becoming one of your most popular sources of extra revenue. Here are a few tips to get you started:

Swag

Have you considered that your gift shop could be a shopping destination on its own? You may not think that people are visiting your museum, college or library just to see the gift shop, but if you offer unique gift options that visitors find valuable, they may just make you’re their go to spot the next time they need to buy a great present for someone. Most people who visit you are already fans, so use that to your advantage and offer artistic décor and functional products that fit with your themes. For example, the Museum of Modern Art in NYC offers unique bookshelves inspired by art exhibits, and the Metropolitan Museum carries book ends modeled after the divine guardians of the Assyrian palace at Nimrud. Offering functional décor not only drives foot traffic, but it allows visitors to create their own artistic displays within their homes.

Flow

The popular and mysterious graffiti artist known as “Banksy” released a documentary titled “Exit through the Gift Shop” in 2010. While his documentary focused on the inauthenticity of one man’s street art, the title came from a common practice within museums and theme parks. It’s not hard to see why this practice is so common. Control the flow of foot traffic within your space and make the gift shop the natural final destination of your visitors. If you place your shop at the end of your tour, circulation desk or museum experience, you encourage additional purchases because the souvenirs and products you offer reinforce their visitor experience in their minds, making them likely to remember you for their next shopping trip.

Local Artists and Vendors

What better way to drive foot traffic and promote talent than to showcase and sell the work of local artists, craftsmen and small businesses in your gift shop? Featuring products locally made and sourced is a great way to invest in your own community. Many small vendors are happy to have their products featured in your gift shop as a way to showcase their products, especially small online merchants who may not have a brick and mortar presence.

eCommerce

In season 2 of the hit show “Stranger Things,” one of the characters dons a purple hoodie from the Science Museum of Minnesota, complete with a brontosaurus skeleton on the front and the words “Thunder Lizard.” Fans of the show were eager to get their hands on the shirt, and the science museum saw an increase in foot traffic because of it, but many weren’t able to make it all the way to Minnesota. Luckily, they had an eCommerce site (which subsequently crashed from all the online traffic after the episode aired). By showcasing your best-selling souvenirs online, out-of-town fans will be able to purchase them. Not only that, but you can do cross promotions on your online store with specials you are running in your physical gift shop to drive traffic to your location.

Utilize People Counters to Improve Your Gift Shop

Measuring foot traffic gives you valuable data so you can determine how many of your visitors make it to the gift shop. This provides valuable insight when making data driven business decisions. Putting people counting solutions in the entrance and in different areas around your gift shop can tell you what the natural flow of foot traffic is within your gift shop, and where your most popular displays are. Use this data to create new display areas, order inventory, and re-vamp your current souvenirs. If the data reveals that you aren’t getting as much traffic in your gift shop as you would like, you can determine what needs to be changed and measure the progress.

You are probably fantastic at creating memorable experiences for your visitors that keep them coming back, but if your gift shop isn’t putting its best foot forward, your visitors may be left with nothing to show for their trip. By thinking like a retailer and using your gift shop as a tool to drive foot traffic, you can give your visitors a way to commemorate their visit and bring in new visitors with who may have never made the trip otherwise.

If you are looking to increase your foot traffic to your museum, library or university and are ready to start gaining valuable data to aid you in your business decisions, contact us today to discuss the ways we can help.

3 Signs it’s Time to Upgrade the Way You Measure Foot Traffic

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Imagine a busy Saturday at your store, library or museum. You’ve known for a while that these afternoons always have the most foot traffic, and you’ve done what you think is necessary to prepare for the surplus. It started off as a great day with customers and patrons flowing in and out, but then an hour into your most hectic afternoon of the week, you begin to notice that your staff or volunteers are really struggling to keep up with demands, and people are getting upset at increased wait times. You remember this happening before, but you learned your lesson, and took steps to prevent it from happening again by comparing the numbers week to week and making sure you had the staff. What happened?

The problem lies in the numbers themselves. Most likely, your past counts were off, resulting in inadequate staffing. If foot traffic isn’t recorded accurately, you can only guess how many employees you’ll actually need on any given day. Everyone who runs a business effectively knows they need to accurately measure foot traffic. The benefits to this practice are numerous:

Think you might need to upgrade your current people counting methods? Here’s how you can know for sure:

  1. You are doing manual counts.

We feel your pain if you still use this outdated people counting method and have to rely on pen and paper to count people. If you’re currently in this situation, do yourself a favor and switch to an automated system to measure foot traffic. You and all of your staff have much better, more profitable ways you could be spending your time. Not only that, it’s really difficult for humans to get an accurate measure when a place is busy. Nowadays, you can even find thermal sensors that can use body heat to track customer movements around your store, so you don’t just know how many people are coming in, but which sections they’re more likely to go to.

  1. You are using horizontal cross beam sensors.

Cross beams aren’t as tired as manual counts, but they’re still less accurate and less efficient than overhead sensors. If people often arrive in groups, horizontal sensors are more likely to give you false foot traffic recordings. While they may be okay in small doorways that don’t leave room for more than one person to enter at a time, you might be better off switching to a thermal or video sensor that can give you spot-on counts no matter the size of the group coming in.

  1. Your current solution cannot distinguish between adults and children.

This is a big one if you operate a library, museum, casino, or any business where you would benefit from distinguishing between adults, children, — even service animals. Horizontal sensors and thermal sensors by themselves are unable to analyze the type of foot traffic entering your place of business; they can only measure the overall volume, and sometimes not very accurately at that. If you need to know more than a head count, a combination of a thermal and video sensor will be your best bet at categorizing patronage.

Keep your bases covered.

If your palms got sweaty just from imagining the stress of the scenario at the beginning of this post, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, this pops up all too often, making customers wonder why the owners aren’t staffing their business the way they should. Worse yet, customers generally aren’t very understanding when it happens. The best way to make sure this doesn’t happen to you in the future is to have an accurate, efficient way to measure your foot traffic with a modern people counting solution, so you can stay ahead of the game.