How To Convert Retail Showrooming Visitors

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Over 60 percent of shoppers — roughly two out of every three — use their smartphones during their stop at the store. What began as an innocent multimedia experience has snowballed over the years into a transformed retail environment — one that’s turned shopping from retail therapy to e-therapy.

Sales staff to store owners alike wonder: What can we do to reclaim the in-store shopping experience and convert showroomers, and their mobile methods, into engaged customers? It turns out the same showrooming trend causing this quandary is also the solution.

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What Is Retail Showrooming?

Showrooming refers to a common behavior today where a consumer will visit a retail store to compare the online price of a desired good with its in-store price. After making the retail environment comparison, the showroomer then proceeds to purchase the merchandise online, often from a competitor.

It is not difficult for sales staff to notice potential showrooming consumers. They’ll likely be evaluating a product or good for a significant length of time while reading their phone. When this happens, there’s a good chance the customer is using your physical inventory to sway their shopping purchase toward an e-tailer’s lower sticker price.

For this reason — and more — many retail managers and marketing personnel have come to see showrooming as a bane, not a boon, to their business. In the ever-evolving landscape of consumer tastes and preferences, is there a better way to reframe showrooming?

Why Retailers Have Tried to Minimize Showroomers in the Past

Over the past decade, reducing showrooming has been a challenge for many conventional stores, mainly because:

1. It Slows In-Store Retail Sales

E-commerce sales reached $517 billion in 2018, up 15 percent from the previous year. These figures represent the overall momentum behind online shopping, which — in fewer than 10 years — has almost tripled its slice of total retail purchases, from 5.1 percent in 2007 to 14.3 percent in 2018.

Showrooming has affected some companies more than others. Consumer electronics store Best Buy revamped its brick-and-mortar stores when it saw significantly sliding sales lingering into the late 2000s. Best Buy now employs mini “stores-within-the-store,” with dedicated areas for specific electronic brands and experts stationed within, showcasing products and facilitating conversations with patrons.

2. It Diminishes the Retail Environment

Nearly 84 percent of customers admitted to showrooming, with over half reporting they wanted to see a product in person before buying. Many retail stores say this behavior reduces their role within the buying journey, relegating them to the margins of the consideration and decision phases.

3. It Makes Sales Staff Feel Irrelevant

Showrooming mitigates, if not eliminates, the impact and reputation of a store’s customer service. Interesting enough, many e-commerce brands — particularly in the apparel industry — have sought to built stronger brand loyalty and create more immersive customer experiences by deploying pop-up stores. Pop-ups by their nature mimic the personalized attention of retail customer service, proving human-to-human interaction still has a valuable role in today’s retail world.

How to Convert Retail Showrooming Customers Into Increased Retail Sales

Showrooming has traditionally been the nemesis of traditional, physical retailers. Those big, bad online retailers are huffing and puffing profits away, with undercut prices and the camouflage of convenience that comes with online shopping and delivery.

This attitude is not only cynical, it’s self-defeating. Retailers and their sales staff must leverage inevitable showrooming as a place to identify genuine sales opportunities, using best practices to increase retail conversion rates. Showrooming allows retailers to make foot traffic the foundation of performance analysis, answering once and for all how many opportunities you had to make a sale — then sharpening those opportunities tomorrow.

  • Educate your sales staff: Change the conversation within your store’s walls. Use Best Buy’s dedicated product experts as an example of how to rearrange and engage customers, so they get authentic retail customer experience with in-depth product interactions.
  • Make it personalized: Research shows over a third of shoppers have interest in personalized or tailored products. Mass customization of product aesthetics, features and content can be an in-store-only option to entice showroomers.
  • Humanize the trip: Stores can combine sensory experiences, personalized product offerings, expert sales staff and omnichannel assisted selling tools to create a maximum-engagement, fully humanized shopping experience customers can’t get online.
  • Price-match the extra mile: Major retailers — from Walmart and Target to Lowe’s and Nordstrom — offer generous in-store price matching policies to combat showrooming.

Continue reading for more in-depth explanations on these conversion strategies to reverse showrooming and reinvigorate the retail customer experience.

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Benefits of Showrooming Visitors

Rather than staying stubborn in their approach to showrooming, retailers can embrace the foot traffic-based engagement and conversion opportunities the trend affords.

1. They Give You Insights Into Hot Products

What merchandise or sections of the store receive the most showroomers? If the aim is to increase retail conversion rates, sales staff and management must first understand where browsers are heading, then tailor in-store incentives accordingly. Think digital signage promoting user-generated content, advertising keen cross-sell recommendations or displaying product-specific QR codes showroomers can scan to see product information and ratings instantly.

2. They Signal Buyers Already in the Decision Phase

While showrooming initially seems to lessen the impact of the store environment and sales staff on purchase conversions, it does indicate buyers who have moved beyond simple browsing and into actionable decision-making. When customers arrive already primed for a specific product or vendor you carry, you have the persuasive leg up. They’ve already indicated interest. All you need to do is seal the deal.

3. They Create More Personalized Consumer Touchpoints

Personalizing your customer touchpoints reframes interactions to center real people. Just remember: More often than not, these touchpoints are marathons, not sprints. Showroomers want in-depth product expertise, trustworthy customer reviews, physical product interaction, omnichannel affordances and authentic customer service. Only in-store shopping delivers all that.

4. They Generate Word-of-Mouth Advertising

Showroomers converted into in-store customers are a vital word-of-mouth evangelist — notably when they experience a price-matching strategy or unexpected discount. It’s hard to tell what people like more: getting something on sale or telling people they got something on sale.

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Strategies to Convert Showroom Visitors Into Buyers

There are numerous retail conversion ideas stores can use to increase their in-store purchase rates, strategies revitalizing sales staff interactions, boosting in-store technology and matching contemporary consumer tastes.

1. Implement a Retail Price-Matching Strategy

If a customer shows a reputable online competitor selling an identical product at a lower price, offer to meet that price. Price matching isn’t bowing down to e-commerce. After all, 75 percent of revenue per sale is better than no sale at all, especially when a patron has taken up employees’ time. Plus, some of the largest and most successful retailers have spearheaded the price-matching strategies you can employ today alongside other price-based incentives.

  • Consider additional in-store value add-ons to entice further cross- or upsells, such as extra loyalty rewards.
  • Use in-store mobile marketing that sends coupons or deals to customers as soon as they enter the store, but only during that visit.
  • Administer consistent price controls, so regardless of the channel where the customer makes their purchase, the price is the same. Apple, for example, is well-known for pioneering omnichannel identical prices for products sold in its flagship stores, on its website and at other mass retailers.

2. Highlight the Benefits of a Physical Shopping Experience

The retail environment holds strengths and capabilities online shopping can’t match.

  • Sensory story: Think the signature smell of Abercrombie and Fitch stores and the hands-on journey of creating a Build-a-Bear. Sensory experiences trigger greater brand recall and can even imbue a sense of ownership between the consumer and merchandise before they buy.
  • Sales staff expertise: Knowledgeable, friendly staff there to answer questions, check stock, describe warranties or perform product demos are invaluable to the customer journey.
  • User-generated content: Digital signage and in-store kiosks can display interactive or user-generated content, like Instagram pictures of customers with your products using a branded hashtag, Pinterest feeds of stylized merchandise or actual product reviews from your website.

3. Explain Further Time and Cost Savings

Use in-store signage to promote your price-matching policy and sales associates to further engage customers on the advantages of buying now.

  • Instant access: No waiting on delivery — the customer gets the online price and receives the desired item in one swoop.
  • Avoid shipping and return fees: Many e-commerce sites sneak these in at the end of the shopping cart journey — or make you buy more items to avoid it altogether.
  • Hassle-free returns: Everyone has a horror story of trying to send an item they bought online back to the e-retailer. With in-store purchases, return headaches go out the window with clear and intuitive return policies.
  • Security: Who cares about free shipping if someone steals your package off your front porch? The “conveniences” of e-commerce purchases disappear when a customer must make special arrangements at home or work to safely receive a package, or even worse, file tedious claims if the product gets stolen, broken or wrongly delivered.

4. Make the Phone Your Friend

Over 50 percent of consumers say they seek sales staff holding tablets or similar technology when shopping in a store. Why? In-store omnichannel technology gives both the employee and the consumer instant access to the very things showroomers are evaluating. Sales staff using devices can:

  • Compare prices, proving price neutrality or offering informed, on-the-spot price matching
  • Estimate shipping costs, showing customers what they save if they buy in-store
  • Together review actual customer reviews
  • Make product referrals
  • Add customers to loyalty programs or redeem loyalty points
  • Create customer wish lists
  • Detail product customizations and features, using multimedia as an additional resource

For example, beauty retailer Sephora harnesses smartphone technology by setting up QR and barcodes around in-store displays. Store patrons can scan those codes to read product reviews, earn loyalty points or receive store coupons.

5. Offer Retail Price Matching on Your Website

Price-matching consistency is especially crucial for multi-location retailers who get sales and promotions from corporate headquarters, not from in-store managers or associates ideating them.

Train sales associates to identify engaged but on-the-fence customers. If a patron is hesitating based fundamentally on price, ensure your team launches into its price-matching guarantee available both online and in the store. Have the sales rep pull up customer reviews submitted on your website to seal the deal.

6. Be Polite and Engaging

Warm, knowledgeable customer service is more valuable than ever to increase retail sales. As the saying goes, one pleasant visit may not turn a shopper into a lifelong customer — but one bad visit will create a lifelong critic.

Friendly sales associates can spur meaningful, authentic conversations with showroomers in many ways:

  • Recounting personal stories about their usage or experience with a product
  • Narrating a product’s features with its benefits so consumers can understand what it will do for their quality of life
  • Performing live demonstrations or troubleshoot product issues in real time
  • Letting customers physically engage with a product before purchasing
  • Asking appropriate questions about a customer’s lifestyle or pain points, then offering non-salesy suggestions on in-store products that fit their situation
  • Highlighting in-store technology and interactive kiosks where customers can look up further information or engage in self-service tasks

7. Speak Their Language

At their core, showroomers derive strong motivation from beating the system. They want to feel like experts who understand loopholes and cost savings. Their ultimate reward may not even be the product or products they just bought, but the satisfaction in how they bought it.

It’s a powerful emotion, one brick-and-mortar stores can harness to increase traffic, engagement and sales. Use showrooming opportunities as a chance to relay the “insider” perks of being your customer, from price matching to store loyalty rewards, store credits, exclusive sales and promotions, other vendor partnerships and more. One of the most valuable tips to increase retail sales is to speak the “hack the system” language of the showroomer, thereby increasing your conversion rate.

How People-Counting Systems Can Improve the Retail Environment

People-counting systems are pieces of hardware and software that sync up to count foot traffic in a particular area. They introduce one of today’s most powerful tools to strategize retail conversion ideas, reverse showrooming and see greater in-store sales.

  • Track visitors by period: People-counting systems give you unparalleled resources into in-store traffic segmentation. You can track consumers by quarter, month, week, day — even by the hour — turning those metrics into savvy business intelligence reports for stakeholders.
  • Calculate visitors by department or product: Similiar to tracking overall visitors by period, you can follow consumers in individual departments or store areas. That strategy reveals real, data-backed solutions for which goods get the most in-store attention — and help you try to figure out why.
  • Deduce successful promotions: You and your sales team can review people-counting systems alongside other marketing and sales KPIs, connecting the dots between what products or services you’re currently promoting and the amount of in-store foot traffic those campaigns generate.
  • Better allocate sales staff schedules and talent: People-counting systems let you aggregate visitor reports and employee footfall data with greater breadth and accuracy. With peak and low store traffic insights, you can better schedule your sales staff during your busiest hours, maximizing labor costs and ensuring no one is wasting time.
  • Inform better price-matching campaigns and sales: Store areas with high traffic counts, yet few actual sales, indicate a missed conversion opportunity. To remedy this, try an experiment: Place signs stating price-matching and special in-store sales for products in those high-traffic areas. Then, track the sales spikes for those products — spikes you would have missed if not for your people-counting system.
  • Determine your retail conversion rate: Do you know the percentage of visitors to your brick-and-mortar store that result in a purchase? Is there data tracking these ratios and informing better conversions? A people-counting system is a foundational tool to make these calculations in today’s retail world.

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Count on Traf-Sys for Your People-Counting System Solution

Interested in reversing showrooming to work in your store’s favor — and seeing retail conversion rates boost as a result? Traf-Sys can help.

Our state-of-the-art people-counting systems combine hard data with actionable ideas that make foot traffic the basis for your store’s business decisions.

Contact a representative to get started on a free, no-obligation counting system quote for your retail store.

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.

Clicks and Bricks: 3 Reasons Omnichannel is Important in the Retail World

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We’ve all read the headlines. Millennials are killing industries left and right. Currently on the chopping block: brick-and-mortar stores. Regardless of whether you believe the hype or you feel like these stories are just sensational pieces made to move papers, it is worth considering what current shopping behaviors are relevant now. Online is becoming more and more popular, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the death of brick-and-mortar stores. Smart retailers are using an omnichannel approach to their stores, and are able to leverage their online sites to gain foot traffic at their physical locations.

What is omnichannel? In short, it boils down to meeting your customers where they are, both online and offline. Utilizing an approach like this means that you have to know who your customers are and where they are doing their shopping before you can successfully gain visibility. But why is this important? Let’s get into the main points.

  1. It makes it easy to please.

Shoppers want convenience. In a world of instant gratification and in-your-face ads from every store, if you aren’t as available and efficient as your competition, you are likely to be left out. According to bigcommerce.com, almost 100% of Americans have shopped online before, and 80% have done so just in the last month. It’s no secret that an online channel is important, especially with millennials and Gen-Xers. However, in-store shoppers account for about half of all purchases, and are still popular with older generations and those who don’t want to wait for shipping, so an omnichannel approach is the best way to reach your audience using their preferred shopping methods.

  1. It drives in-store traffic.

As great as it is, online shopping isn’t always the preferable way to get products for some shoppers.  Some consumers don’t want to pay shipping costs or risk having a package stolen or a missed delivery if they don’t have a secure drop-off location.  And having to wait for standard ground shipping can cause a customer to abandon their online cart before checkout. With omnichannel retail, buy-online/pickup-in-store (BOPIS) is a favorable option many shoppers prefer. Customers can purchase an item online and pick it up at their convenience, often times with the speed of expedited shipping sans costs.  This drives foot traffic to your store, which you can then measure with your people-counting solution. By combining the convenience of online shopping with the security and affordability of shopping in-store, you create a win/win situation in the eyes of the customer.

  1. Data, data, and more data.

When it comes to making business decisions, never go in blindly. Instead, you should always rely on hard numbers to inform you and fuel those decisions, so you can be sure that you’re doing what’s best for your business. Combining omnichannel data from online shopping, social interactions, and in-store purchase histories gives you a holistic, large-scale view of shoppers, so that you know what to stock for inventory, and how to create the best targeted marketing campaigns. Utilizing this data alongside data from your people counting solutions can provide you with all of the information you need to make successful, knowledgeable decisions that better your business.

Omnichannel is becoming omnipresent. Position yourself for success by making sure you offer all the shopping channels your customers demand. Then, contact us to discuss your people counting solution options and see how our technology can compliment your omnichannel solution.

How to Boost Mall Traffic with a Consumer-Centered Retail Strategy

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The customer experience that you provide in your store is the bedrock of your success as a retailer. People counting solutions can provide valuable insights that reveal opportunities to improve customer service, optimize staffing, and boost your sales.

Customer service is one of the top factors people consider when they decide whether or not to visit your store. The RightNow Customer Experience Impact Report notes that “89% of consumers have stopped doing business with a company after experiencing poor customer service.” A second statistic, from Parature, says that “it takes 12 positive customer experiences to make up for one negative experience.”

Across America the traditional mall experience is morphing. Major U.S. mall owner’s like Simon Property Group, Westfield America, and GGP, faced with flagging mall traffic and unused space, are thinking outside of the box to attract shoppers and non-traditional tenants. The attempt to reinvigorate and revive the mall is resulting in a shopping, eating and entertainment mall model for the modern retail era.

Read the full article or skip to a specific section:

  • 5 Ways to Boost Mall Traffic
  • How to Increase Sales with People Counters
  • Understanding Shopper Counting Can Improve Customer Experience
  • Ready to start boosting your mall traffic? Request a quote for a people counting device today! 

    5 Ways to Boost Shopping Mall Foot Traffic

    If you are looking for ways to boost your mall traffic and get shoppers through your doors, here are five creative ideas that can give your mall foot traffic a renewed boost.

    Turn your mall into an entertainment hub

    You need an incentive to attract customers into your mall and to spend time there. Consumers want more than a place to eat and shop—they want experiences. To increase mall traffic, dedicate spaces and hold events that offer forms of entertainment. Turn customer apathy into excitement with a variety of venues that entice them to visit your mall and stay longer.

    Hold community events

    Your current, unused mall space has the advantage of being large enough to serve as an event venue. This opens up opportunities to invite community groups and non-profit organizations to hold events year round and increase foot traffic.

    Wi-Fi hot spots

    Create a Wi-Fi café or multiple hot spots that promote a quiet haven for the growing work-from-home workforce or constantly connected mall visitor. You could offer snacks and drink choices that can be purchased while they check their email or reply to messages.

    Rent space to unconventional tenants

    Mall traffic can be increased dramatically by offering empty spaces to non-traditional types of tenants that offer entertainment options rather than retail shopping. How about a laser tag, indoor skate park or trampoline venue for the kids? Fitness centers, consignment shops, and specialty shops can also increase foot traffic.

    Mixed-use malls

    If entertainment options don’t necessarily work for your property, you may want to consider a mixed-use scenario to increase mall traffic. Many mall complexes around the country have adapted their empty areas to incorporate hotels or apartments, offices or play space. Target the people using those facilities by making them aware of the convenience of shopping nearby.

    Measure mall traffic

    Having a people counting solution in place before initiating these traffic-boosting strategies is important to measure the effectiveness of your efforts. Strategically place people counters in entrance points, parking garages, and entrances to specific venues spaces to track where your visitors are going. Over time, the data collected will help give you an idea of successful mall traffic trends and also areas that need improvement.

    Keep in mind that your investment in these solutions will provide a return long-term with increased traffic and an upswing in revenues. The data you collect will help you adapt your vision of mall spaces and choose the most profitable options for your business.

    Buy Online, Pickup In-Store (BOPSIS) 

    One smart way to get shoppers through your doors is to offer customer-friendly services such as “Buy Online, Pickup In-Store” (BOPIS). This smart strategy is the best of both worlds in a sense; it gives shoppers the convenience of purchasing online and the speed of retrieving their purchases at no additional charge and more quickly than waiting for a package in the mail.

    What’s more, BOPIS is a retail customer experience that drives additional sales beyond the products your customer purchased online. A Forrester report revealed that 46 percent of shoppers are enticed to spend above and beyond the original BOPIS purchase if they receive a personalized discount or deal when retrieving their purchases in store.

    How to Increase Sales with People Counters

    One of the biggest challenges for small to medium-sized retail business (SMB) owners is attracting customers to your store. To increase sales, you need to get people in the door, keep them coming back, and inspire them to tell their friends about the great shopping experiences you provide. Tools such as a people counting solution will help you work toward these goals and determine the success of your efforts as well.

    1. Understand Your Business. Consider the things that make you stand out from your competition. Formalize your unique value proposition (UVP) into a statement you can share with your management team and employees. Examine your processes (such as hours of operation, staffing, products, and marketing) as they relate to your UVP and make an honest assessment of your strengths and the areas where you could improve. Looking at these things from your customers’ perspective will help you figure out how to improve the customer experiences you provide.
    2. Know Your Target Audience. Trying to attract “the general public” is too vague and ineffective. Create a detailed profile of your typical customer so you can craft marketing messages that will appeal to those demographics. Compile and update a database of customer information, including addresses, order histories, and loyalty rewards. This data can help you shape personalized email invitations to attract customers. Foot traffic statistics from your people counter will provide insights into peak times for typical buyers and the areas of the store that draw the most attention, to complete your customer profile.
    3. Set Yourself Apart with Outstanding Service. One thing that will always attract customers is exceptional service. People counting solutions can help you deliver great experiences. For example, with foot traffic data, you can ensure adequate staffing during the busiest times of the day, week, month, or year, to avoid lengthy checkout lines. You can also tell which parts of the store are visited most, so you can adequately staff them with associates to assist shoppers with queries or make upselling suggestions. Great service from knowledgeable and attentive employees can lead to customer loyalty.  
    4. Keep in Contact. In today’s retail environment, shoppers expect to interact with retailers in stores and online through social media, texts, and email. Make sure your customer engagement strategy includes appealing to them on all channels. Send emails and texts to thank loyal shoppers and offer coupons or information about upcoming sales or other in-store events such as new product demos. Never underestimate the power of social media. Engage with customers who reach out to you or mention you on social media.
    5. Offer Promotions. A common strategy to attract customers is to offer promotions both in stores and online. These could include not only special deals such as “buy one, get one free” but also codes that people can share with friends to earn rewards. To tell whether an in-store campaign is successful, check your people counter to see if foot traffic increases during and after the promotional period.

    Start increasing sales at your mall today with a Traf-Sys people counting device. Request a free quote! 

    Understanding Shopper Counting Can Improve Customer Experience 

    Giving your shoppers a high-quality and highly enjoyable shopping experience is the key to ensuring that they visit your business again. Shopper counting and understanding how foot traffic moves and flows through your store can help you drastically improve your customers’ experience.

    • Display Promotions: Using people counters in separate sections of your store allows you to count how many people visit each area per day and, on a larger scale, per week, per month, and per year. This data can very easily help you to identify peak times of the year, month, week, and day for each section of your store.
    • Create Timed Promotions for Peak Visitor Times: You will also be able to identify which times of the year, month, week, and day your promotions would be the most successful. With your shopper counting data in mind, plan out your promotions ahead of time. 
    • Increase Staffing During Peak Times: It’s easy to predict these peak times and schedule more efficiently when you understand shopper counting. With people counters installed, you will be able to determine the peak times during the week and day during which may need to schedule a few more staff members. 

    Get Your Retail Traffic Counter From Traf-Sys

    Retail traffic counters help keep eyes on nearly every aspect of your retail store. Gathering these analytics can help you make the changes for a better, faster and more pleasant customer experience at your business.

    Contact Traf-Sys or request a quote to inquire about our services and how we can measure your mall traffic for a brighter and more successful future.

AI in Retail: 3 Things You Need to Know

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Most futuristic science fiction stories portray artificial intelligence (AI) as something detrimental to humanity.  The reality is; AI isn’t futuristic, it already exists, and AI in retail is benefitting many businesses.

How Can AI Help My Retail Store?

In short, AI is a learning software program that can learn tasks and think similarly to the way a human does. It gets its “intelligence” based on collected, hard data and processes information to make decisions. There are two types of AI: narrow and general intelligence. Most computers and smartphones have narrow AI and can perform simple tasks that they are programmed to do for the user.

General AI is different. It is a learning program that is adaptable and able to perform more advanced tasks such as building spreadsheets or use deductive reasoning to determine a trend or recommendation. It becomes “smarter” over time, based on accumulated data. Companies such as Amazon, GE, Dominoes and North Face all use AI in retail to boost their presence and sales revenue.

3 Things You Need to Know About AI in Retail

  1. AI in retail improves the customer experience

A recent study by IBM showed that 48% of customers believe it is important for retailers to provide on-demand, personalized promotions when shopping online, while 45% want the same options in-store.

AI helps the eCommerce shopping experience by suggesting product recommendations the consumer has an interest in, based on shopping and browsing history. AI used in web or apps can feature voice-activated shopping and can even become a consumer’s own personal shopper. Personalized promotional offers catered to your customers can help motivate a purchase.

  1. AI in retail improves business decisions

Still depending on spreadsheets and paper scheduling to manage your staff and inventory? AI incorporated into your daily management routine can help immensely by optimizing such tasks like staff scheduling needs, over or under-stocking of product, and maintenance requirements.

AI in retail can also be use for facilities management tasks like lighting and HVAC usage. If there is a problem that needs to be addressed, AI can send you a real-time alert and give you the ability to handle an issue via a smart device.

  1. Including People Counts Improves AI

If you utilize AI in your brick-and-mortar store to enhance the customer’s shopping experience, be sure to install people counters to gather additional data such as shopping patterns and areas of higher interest within your facility. People counting data can help your AI application determine the success of special sales events and learn the best way to improve future promotions.

According to IDC, AI will change how 25% of stores operate in the U.S. by 2019. It’s time for you to evaluate how you can leverage AI solutions. Don’t wait until your competition has deployed AI solutions and has gained an edge in your market. Explore the benefits it can offer your business as you advance into the “futuristic” world of AI in retail that’s here today.

What Retail Cleaning Services Have to Do with Traffic at Your Brick-and-Mortar Store

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“Cleanliness is a practice not a project.” Truer words may never have been spoken. Keeping your store clean with the help of retail cleaning services may result in financial benefits, according to the annual Healthy Hand Washing Survey sponsored by Bradley Corp.

Restroom conditions at your store may be considered a low priority for you and your staff when trying to juggle other business priorities, but the survey showed that people are more likely to shop at stores that have clean restroom facilities. In fact, about 60% make the decision to visit stores and spend money based simply on their appearance.

However, more than three-quarters of respondents reported that they have had unpleasant experiences with the condition of restrooms, which subsequently resulted in a lower perception of the retail stores. Look at the top five examples of negative survey results:

  • Clogged or unflushed toilets (83%)
  • Empty or jammed toilet paper dispenser (78%)
  • Non-latching stall (74%)
  • Unpleasant odors (73%)
  • Older fixtures or dirty appearance (72%)

The general attitude of those surveyed revealed that most people are unlikely to return to a business that has dirty restrooms or do not use retail cleaning services as a common practice.

Keep It Clean

With these insights from the survey, you are bound to want to keep facilities clean and make a good impression. But what’s the best plan? Here are some tips to keep your facilities well-maintained and your customers happy:

Establish an in-house janitorial staff or hire a professional retail cleaning service

Appoint someone or some entity to be responsible cleaning. It won’t happen if it is no one’s job. If there is bandwidth among your staff, you may be able to assign the task to in-house resources. More likely, however, you will need to find a retail cleaning service. There are many companies that specialize in cleaning retail businesses. Choose a company with a good reputation and rates that fit your budget.

Use a people counter to monitor traffic into your restrooms

Horizontal, doorframe mounted counters that use infrared beams can track each person entering your facilities. Prepare a work schedule with your retail cleaning service or in-house staff based on the number of people who use the facilities.

Practice preventive maintenance

Are all of your fixtures running properly? Leaky pipes, clogged toilets, non-functional sinks and hand dryers are an easy, less expensive fix than waiting for bigger problems to occur. Anything that could interfere with your customer’s experience should be part of a preventative maintenance checklist.

Use the facilities yourself

What better way to know how your customers feel than by using your own facilities? Imagine walking into the restroom for the first time. Make notes of any negative impressions. Do you get the sense that the facilities appear and smell sanitary? Test all the fixtures, towel and soap dispensers, and door latches on the stalls. Your personal experience can help you make any necessary changes if needed.

When customers enter and exit your store, what they tell others about their experience has a major impact on your reputation, brand and future revenue. You need repeat business to remain profitable, so it is vital to give people the best experience possible—including consistent retail cleaning services that let them know you care about all aspects of their shopping experiences.

5 Reasons Why Personalized Retail is the New Black

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If you haven’t paid attention to the current retail marketing trends for your particular brick-and-mortar business, you may not know that personalized retail is the “new black” for companies tweaking future sales strategies. Making your in-store experience more customer-centric is vital for your business to succeed in the highly competitive world of retail.

Many omnichannel retailers are well-positioned and armed with customer data to implement this strategy seamlessly into their current operations with little effort. Your store can do this as well if you have been tracking consumer data and purchase history for both online and in-store shopping. Here are five reasons it’s worth the effort:

Enhances the customer experience

Here’s the bottom line: Customers do not need to go to your store. Convenience is what motivates today’s consumers. As a retailer, you have to entice them to want to visit your store rather than trying to capture their attention by beating the drum of your brand. Consumers want their shopping experiences to be custom-tailored to their needs and give them the same satisfaction they receive when shopping online.

Boosts opportunities for impulse purchases

Personalized retail increases the chances for impulse buying. Personal recommendations, tailored to your customers and sent through email, social media advertising, or in person at the store, can lead to purchases the shopper didn’t originally intend—and bigger average sales for you. In fact, 40 percent of consumers in the U.S. have purchased more expensive products or added to their orders after receiving personalized offers.

Customers expect it

It’s important to understand that your customers expect you to know what their interests are and how they like to shop. When you target them with personalized offers, they are more likely to be repeat customers because they enjoyed their shopping experiences. And, as you know, loyal customers are good for the bottom line.

Builds loyalty

The foundation of your business is built not only on reputation but also on sustained customer loyalty. Personalized retail not only attracts new customers, but also keeps them coming back for more. You can build upon this loyalty by consistently shaping your offers and incentives based upon the data you collect from every customer.

Complements marketing efforts

In this day and age, consumers know that information on their shopping habits and purchase histories is constantly collected and studied. What they expect in return is a marketing effort geared toward what they want rather than what you are promoting. You can capitalize on this trend by sending coupons and creating targeted promotions that focus on individual shoppers’ needs. With personalized retail, you can guide the customer on the path of their shopping journey to what they are looking for—and maybe a little something extra.

For your business to stay relevant in the ever-changing retail landscape, connect with your customers, encourage larger purchases, and foster consumer loyalty with personalized retail. Then follow up your efforts to see if your strategy is working. Monitor the effectiveness of your personalized retail strategy, measure changes in store traffic with a people counter.

The Pros and Cons of a Video-Based Sensor

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Overhead video-based sensors are an excellent way to track your customers entering and moving about your retail stores. This data can help you chart shopping trends or determine your staffing needs based on the busiest times of day. Using video-based sensors can also enhance security and theft prevention.

The video-based Eclipse people counter uses advanced image recognition technology that records highly accurate data under a wide set of conditions, such as high traffic areas, variable lighting, and wide entrance areas.

The Advantages of Video-Based People Counter

Consider these ways a video-based sensor for people counting can benefit your business:

  • Using multiple units, you have the ability to cover wide areas, which is beneficial for larger stores and shopping malls.
  • There is support for remote video capture when using an Internet-connected laptop or tablet.
  • In the event of a power outage, data can be safely stored within the solution’s flash memory, saving up to 10 days’ worth of data.
  • Video-based sensor counters can adjust quickly to changes in lighting and temperature.
  • These solutions have the ability to filter carts, children, and strollers, providing you a more accurate count of actual shoppers versus total number of people in the store.
  • It’s easy to upgrade these solutions so they are always running the latest software version.

When Video-Based People Counters May Not Be the Right Solution for You

Even though video-based people counters offer a wide variety of advantages, there are situations in which they may not be the optimal choice. Here are some additional facts to consider:

  • Areas of your facility affected by shadows, complex backgrounds or varying light levels may impact the counting accuracy of a video-based counter.
  • The capital investment and time and labor cost for installation is sometimes greater than for thermal sensor or infrared beam people counting systems.

Which System is Better?

Business owners and managers may question whether a video imaging or a thermal imaging people counter is the better choice. The fact is, both systems have their advantages. A thermal imaging counter system is superior for obtaining accurate counts, whereas overhead video-based sensors give you “eyes” to verify the numbers or filter to count only the demographics you are looking for. Speak an experienced people counting solution provider to determine which is the right system for your business.

Traf-Sys is dedicated to providing solutions that can meet the needs of any business or organization that needs reliable, accurate people counting data. Learn more about the Eclipse video-based sensor system here.