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Smart Building Trends in 2022

The past few years have made everyone from business owners to employees and consumers rethink the role of physical stores and office buildings. Online shopping and working from home rose in popularity during the pandemic, and business owners can learn a lot from the technology that made those areas thrive. 

With many offices and stores open for in-person business again, it’s time to consider how technology can make these spaces even better for workflow and generating foot traffic. “Smart” isn’t just a title. Technology actually makes a difference in how employees work and how consumers appreciate their shopping experiences.

Innovations in Smart Offices 

With more people heading back to the office after over a year of unexpectedly working from home, it’s important to consider how to re-optimize office spaces for better productivity in 2022. Now it’s up to you to recreate the comfort many employees experienced when working from home, while also increasing efficiency to boost your company’s performance. Smart offices use technology to improve everything from company sustainability to responses to employee needs. 

Creating an energy-efficient workspace is one of many ways to use the intelligence of technology to your advantage. When you automate your lighting and HVAC systems, you can save money on your electric bill and reduce your environmental impact. Automated systems can track when people are most likely to be in certain rooms and use less lighting or HVAC when rooms aren’t in use, meaning you won’t be paying for energy you don’t use. 

Heating and cooling levels customized to the number of people in the room can make employees feel more comfortable, which can lead to better work efficiency. Consumers will also appreciate that your company is dedicated to sustainable solutions. 

You can use smart building trends to better understand the opportunities for floor plan use in your office. Occupancy sensors can track how many people are in a room at one time, so your business can offer a safely spaced layout following CDC COVID-19 guidelines. You’ll also know where your employees are and who they interact with throughout the day, so you can effectively use contact tracing. 

Automated room management services can help employees save time by tracking when rooms are open or full, so people never have to spend time searching for available workspaces. You’ll also get information about whether you can use a different floor plan to make better use of your space, whether you have enough desks and equipment per person and whether you have the office space to hire more employees. 

AI Powers the Future of Smart Retail

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a software program that is able to learn and think similarly to the ways humans do. It collects and processes data to make decisions and help people and companies perform tasks. As AI gathers more information over time, it becomes smarter and increasingly useful for the specific responsibilities of your business. 

Machine-learning technology is woven into the fabric of our daily shopping lives. AI is present in self-checkouts, store displays and smart shelf tags. Over the past few years, consumer behavior has actually changed due to what people now expect from AI capabilities. To get the most out of your store’s advertising efforts and consumer research, consider adapting your approach to bring shoppers what they want when they want it based on AI data. Satisfied customers will be excited to keep coming back. 

AI can do more than directly relate to customers. It’s also integral to internal business operations such as staff scheduling, managing inventory and keeping up-to-date with facilities maintenance via tracking and alerts. These factors contribute to a more helpful, organized in-store experience for consumers.

People counters can gather additional information to help your business’s AI calculate the success of promotions and sales and determine how you can improve in the future. 

Smart Industry Trends in Technology

Other technological innovations can also help your business make smart decisions in the coming year. The Internet of Things (IoT) works together to communicate and create a successful environment for working, advertising and converting customers. 

Sensors in people-counting systems can give you more information about how many shoppers visit your stores and what they do there. You can use this information to respond to the needs of real customers by acting in real-time to adjust marketing strategies and learn how to better attract customer attention in the future.

Beacons give promotions and coupons to shoppers through your store’s app based on their in-store location. Bluetooth tracks customers’ locations to send them promotions based on what section of the store they’re in. Shoppers can also receive reminders about products they may have shown previous interest in online. Customers are more likely to buy items when they’re already in the store looking at those options. 

Smart technology can help you maximize your supply chain efforts. By knowing more about customer demand, you can strategize your inventory. You can save money by only making the number of products customers will buy, and you can also increase revenue by making more of the products that you continuously sell out of. All of this will improve customer experience by providing just what shoppers want when they want it. 

Consumer Personalization Is Key

AI, beacons and people-counting technology all contribute to a better customer experience. Your business’s job is to make stores enticing for consumers, and that means creating environments that customers feel connected to. Shoppers want to feel known and valued by your stores, and they’ll remember those positive experiences when deciding where to make future purchases. 

Smart building industry trends such as tracking footfall analytics can help you create a shopping experience that customers will feel personally connected to. Knowing how many customers enter your store, where they go and what they look at tells you valuable information about their interests and needs. You can study this data for trends such as what products are often bought together, and use this knowledge to your advantage when developing future marketing strategies. 

Request a Quote From Traf-Sys Today!

The future of smart buildings is here, and taking advantage of helpful technology has never been easier. From smart offices to AI, people counting systems help make consumer and employee satisfaction possible. Take your business to the next level with reliable, accurate people counting services from Traf-Sys.

How to Save Money With Commercial HVAC Optimization

The heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems used in commercial buildings are highly energy-intensive. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), about 30% of the energy used in commercial properties goes to waste. To increase sustainability and decrease operating costs, your business must reduce the amount of energy wasted from powering HVAC systems and equipment. 

Take the following steps to improve your HVAC system’s efficiency and save money on your energy bill today.

Automating HVAC Systems Can Optimize Energy Consumption

Make your building HVAC automation even smarter with accurate people counting data. Automating control of HVAC systems based on space utilization ensures your energy usage is better aligned with demand. Adjust HVAC support to meet the needs of dynamic occupancy levels as they fluctuate throughout the day or week. The building operator can monitor and adjust the facility’s temperature to better fit your unique schedule. You can reduce HVAC energy consumption on low foot traffic days while maintaining comfort in occupied areas or on days with increased traffic.

Knowing how many people enter or exit your building and which rooms they can occupy enables you to locate spaces of limited use that can be closed or let go of completely. Other benefits of people counting systems for automating HVAC control include lower operational costs and less environmental impact. Optimize workplace policies for efficient space utilization to minimize your carbon footprint. HVAC automation can also improve employee retention and customer attraction by demonstrating your commitment to helping the environment.

Overhead people counting sensors give your building HVAC automation systems the data they need to be as efficient as possible. When paired with programmable thermostats, smart sensor integration makes managing your cooling and heating requirements easy. Program automated HVAC settings that occur under certain conditions. For example, you can program the HVAC system to reduce its output after office hours and cut down a significant portion of your energy waste. Your business can use Traf-Sys people counters to save money by only using an optimal energy output when needed.

Perform Routine Maintenance

Energy-efficient building operation requires a preventative maintenance program with operational strategies to keep energy use low. Operation and maintenance best practices serve to minimize energy usage without significant capital investment. When your HVAC system operates efficiently, you also prevent unscheduled downtime, improve equipment longevity, reduce operating costs and maintain comfort for employees.

Here are three commercial HVAC tips to ensure efficient system operation.

1. Change Your HVAC Filters Regularly

Most cases of HVAC system inefficiency or failure are caused by dirt and neglect. Clogged filters restrict airflow, overworking the heating and cooling systems, so they become less efficient. This scenario often leads to higher operating costs and poorer air quality. Dust and dirt buildup may even cause expensive repairs or early system failure.

When you replace dirty filters with clean ones, your HVAC system consumes 5% to 15% less energy. Check your air filters every month, especially during seasons of heavy use. Change your filters at least every three months or whenever you notice dirt accumulation. Air filters are typically designed for user-friendly replacement, meaning you can start enforcing this preventative strategy today.

2. Schedule Periodic Equipment Checkups

Faulty performance causes greater energy consumption. As your HVAC equipment ages, regular quality maintenance will keep your systems from wasting energy. It is essential to find a qualified technician to perform periodic checkups on your HVAC equipment. They will correct any faults, prevent future problems and improve overall performance.

Your technician should complete HVAC system maintenance each spring and fall. Avoid waiting until winter or summer to schedule equipment checkups, as these are the months when you will most need a working HVAC system. Schedule maintenance around the beginning and end of daylight saving time every year to help you avoid potential downtime, minimize unexpected repair costs, and maintain client comfort.

3. Replace Systems That Surpass Their Lifetime

Once your building’s HVAC system or equipment reaches the suggested life span, it’s time to replace it with a newer, more efficient model. Consider replacing old units with products that have earned the ENERGY STAR label. Certified air conditioners may reduce heating and cooling costs by up to 20% — improving sustainability with a high-efficiency product. An ENERGY STAR qualified boiler will be 5% more efficient than a standard replacement, while ENERGY STAR qualified furnaces serve to improve efficiency by around 15%.

Choose Your HVAC System Wisely

To ensure the right system for your unique needs, consider the following factors before purchasing:

Size

In addition to cutting your energy costs, the right sized HVAC equipment will increase your system’s lifetime and reduce pollution. According to the Consortium of Energy Efficiency, at least 25% of all rooftop HVAC systems are oversized for their needs. An HVAC unit that is too large leads to increased equipment wear and energy costs. Meanwhile, HVAC systems that are too small won’t reach all areas of your building.

Location

Your location provides crucial information about overall climate and seasonal temperatures, factors that could impact the specific HVAC equipment you install. For example, dry areas with hotter climates require a more powerful refrigeration unit than standard. Consider how temperature fluctuations and extremes may also impact your HVAC systems.

Brand

Once you determine the best HVAC system for your needs, you want to invest in a trusted brand. Research different manufacturers of the equipment you need. Buildings without space for huge air ducts may require a ductless system to provide adequate cooling or heating for the entire area. A packaged system could benefit smaller buildings by handling both heating and cooling with one unit.

Ensure Properly Sealed Heating and Cooling Ducts

Forced-air heating and cooling systems use ducts to distribute conditioned air throughout buildings. Proper sealing prevents hot or cool air from escaping on the way to its intended destination. Leaks, holes, and poorly connected ducts cause your HVAC system to work harder. The increased heating and cooling requirements result in higher energy costs. Minimizing air leaks and improving air duct performance can make your HVAC system about 20% more efficient.

Ducts are often concealed in attics, crawlspaces, basements, walls and ceilings. This can make it challenging to check and repair those housed in enclosed spaces. Ensure your ducts are sealed with mastic, foil tape or an aerosol-based sealant. You can enhance the sealing effect by insulating any ducts you can access, such as those in the attic, basement or garage. Ducts in these areas tend to be unprotected, so the added insulation will significantly boost efficiency.

Look for a qualified HVAC contractor who will also repair ductwork. Your trusted HVAC technician will help ensure all your bases are covered so you get the most out of your HVAC system. Regular checkups that include your heating and cooling ducts will make your HVAC equipment more efficient and less resource-intensive.

Improve Commercial HVAC Optimization With Traf-Sys

We provide information and analysis on people counting to help you manage which rooms require more or less HVAC support. Monitor how many people enter and exit certain areas of your facility and create custom occupancy levels based on the space utilization. Knowing the number of people in your building and which rooms are open can help you adjust your HVAC equipment for increased efficiency.

We understand the unique challenges that come with controlling a commercial HVAC system. Our comprehensive software and systems help you understand your customers and their habits, improving their comfort and reducing energy waste in unoccupied areas. To learn how you can optimize your commercial HVAC system, contact Traf-Sys and discover what a people counting system can do for your business. 

How Jewelry Stores Can Utilize Foot Traffic Data

Most jewelry stores tend to have peak seasons. It’s no surprise that the time between November and January accounts for plenty of jewelry sales, as people purchase gifts for family and friends — in fact, 40% of all engagements happen around the holiday season, too. These peak seasons present a valuable opportunity for retail stores to track customer data, helping inform them of behaviors and practices that can drive sales.

Take a look at how you can measure your jewelry store traffic using a foot traffic counter.

The Benefits of Customer Counting

With foot traffic trackers, you can measure several key indicators to help improve store performance.

First, you can more easily identify the customers’ behaviors. Insight on when and how often a customer comes into the store can help prioritization regarding the store’s organization. Additionally, traffic flow can signal the right amount of staff members you need to schedule, which helps the store provide customers with a high-quality level of service.

Counting traffic can estimate your store’s daily sales. This information can tell you how significant your sales are on a daily basis and whether your employees are going above and beyond to maximize the experience for the customer.

Additionally, you can measure overall conversion rates. Having a count of how many customers come into your store is beneficial, as you can measure that figure against how many of them are making purchases. As a result, you can look at which factors are deterring people from buying your jewelry, such as customer service or pricing. Configuring your store’s layout in certain ways also plays a role in customer behavior.

Here’s a closer look at how you can use customer counting to improve your business in two areas — marketing and staff scheduling:

Measure the Effectiveness of New Ad Campaigns

A retail store traffic counter provides an opportunity to measure and grow marketing efforts. No matter the marketing campaign focus you pursue, you can see how it influences customers. For larger jewelry stores, you can see how effective your marketing is at bringing customers into your store. Alternatively, smaller businesses can measure the impact of digital marketing ad campaigns like those on Facebook.

If you just released new ad campaigns, you can tell whether they were able to reach new customers and gauge their level of success. This information can help you identify whether your store needs to change its marketing efforts to be more successful. A business that sees an influx of customers after releasing a certain ad campaign can better understand what types of advertising their audiences prefers.

Optimize Staff Scheduling

Depending on the location of the store, the current season, and demand for the product, the number of customers entering your store can vary. Using store traffic counters to record the footfall of entrances and exits can ensure you have enough staff members in the store. As a result, overstaffing and understaffing are less of a problem.

Thanks to optimized staff scheduling, you can ensure your customers get the best customer service possible — and that your employees aren’t overwhelmed when the store is filled with customers. It also helps avoid downtime, where workers can feel bored or unproductive during working hours. Therefore, your staff will be just busy enough without feeling overworked.

When customers know that a store has a dedicated staff ready to answer their questions, they’re more likely to return. Prioritizing staff scheduling ultimately creates customer loyalty. That’s a significant benefit, as customer retention is incredibly important for your store’s profit and growth. It makes more financial sense to retain the customers you already have than spend money trying to attract new ones, and foot traffic data helps with that.

How This Data Can Increase Jewelry Store Sales and Conversions

To boost sales and conversions, your customer experience, customer service and marketing efforts all need to be effective. Through tracking the customers who come into your store, you can grow in these areas.

Customer Experience

By being able to track the customer’s gender, age, past purchases and interests, you gain more insight into how to make their shopping experience meet all of their expectations. If your customers are satisfied with their experience, they’re likely to return and make more purchases in the future. Additionally, they’ll often engage in word-of-mouth marketing to spread the word about your business.

Employee Schedules

Counting store traffic in a jewelry store helps correct employee scheduling, which becomes beneficial for building relationships with customers during their customer journey. If there aren’t enough employees during peak times, you can’t create more personalized shopping experiences, build customer relationships or make enough sales. When you schedule the right amount of employees, customers have a one-on-one shopping experience, allowing sales employees to maximize conversions.

Store Layout

Using foot traffic counters also helps optimize store layout. For example, you can measure the effectiveness of highlighting pieces of jewelry that are on sale or are new in the store. Certain signs or display cases can focus on urging customers to check out the pieces and encourage them to make a purchase. Using heatmap data of the store can show which areas of the store customers visit most and which ones you could improve.

If customers are coming into your store and not making any purchases, further testing on the store layout can happen to see if there are areas to improve the shopping experience. As a result, you have a chance to design the perfect store layout that encourages customers to browse all of your products and make a purchase. A confusing, staggered store layout can prevent customers from even entering the store. Therefore, prioritizing an accessible, streamlined layout is crucial for sales.

Work With Traf-Sys to Measure Your Jewelry Store Traffic

For your jewelry business to maximize sales and conversions and get the right insight on areas of improvement, using a people counting system is essential. Traf-Sys provides accurate and reliable people counters for more than 17,000 locations. No matter the size of your jewelry business, we offer foot traffic solutions to benefit your store.

To start measuring the performance of your business, request a quote today!

How to Improve College Campuses With People Counters

College is for more than academics — students and faculty bustle around cafeterias, dorms and sports facilities all over campus. Knowing the number of people that occupy a certain space at any given time of the day or week can help determine staffing and cleaning schedules. 

If you’re preparing to welcome students and faculty back to your college campus this year, improve your campus space with people counters. People counters provide valuable data about daily traffic to areas of your campus, which you can use to enhance campus life for both students and faculty, especially in the wake of COVID-19.

Hotspot Monitoring in Various Locations

People counters allow you to monitor hotspots where foot traffic is regularly high. Areas like libraries, on-campus cafes or restaurants and gyms are commonly crowded during specific times of the day. With people counters in these hotspots, faculty and staff can use the data to effectively attend to and clean these areas and even set maximum capacities to keep the campus community healthy. 

Libraries

Libraries have become more than just shelves of books. These days, you can find endless physical and digital resources in these buildings, especially on college campuses. As a result, both students and faculty frequently access libraries for materials for classes. However, college libraries can also be a haven, offering quiet spaces to get work done, collaborate on group projects or apply to internships and jobs.

People counters in a library can track the number of people entering and moving about the library space, offering you accurate daily visitor counts and a better sense of the most occupied areas of the library. This knowledge allows you to serve your campus community better. Essentially, you can determine areas where traffic could flow more effectively so you can make changes to the layout to improve your visitors’ experience.

On-Campus Cafes and Restaurants

On-campus cafes and restaurants are consistently high-traffic areas, particularly on big campuses. Using people counters in these areas of campuses is essential for determining the busiest times of the day. Knowing the specific times when students and faculty commonly eat in these spaces and the length of time they spend there will be valuable information to you. 

Having this information can allow you to adequately staff the high-traffic cafes to help serve patrons more efficiently. You’ll also be able to determine the most convenient times for cleaning and resetting tables. When you understand how the campus community uses the cafe and restaurant spaces, you can create dining layouts that make the most of the space to improve visitors’ overall experiences.

Gyms and Sports Facilities

Gyms and sports facilities on campus are often the hosts of sports events and special programs because they provide large amounts of space for crowds to gather. People counters can help you identify peak hours of operation, which staff can use when scheduling gym classes, programs and other events. If you have a particularly popular course or program that draws large crowds, you can use this data to determine if it’d be beneficial to offer more than one session. 

People counter data helps you prevent overcrowding, which will improve your gym members’ experience. Gym facilities also require frequent cleaning as occupants leave or move to other areas of the facility. Monitoring high-traffic areas of the gym, especially in light of COVID-19, can help you determine how often cleaning should occur — and with more sensors in place, you can learn when gym-goers leave an area, helping ensure staff clean the equipment before the next use.

Benefits of People Counters for Campuses

Implementing people counters into your college campus facilities will benefit you and the campus community. People counters can be even more beneficial in determining how to bring students back to a college campus with the risk of COVID-19 still being prevalent. These sensors can help administrators monitor occupancy limits and schedule usage-based cleaning to keep students and staff safe upon returning to campus. 

Colleges can benefit from people counters for the following reasons:

1. Identify Peak Hours

People counters are beneficial in determining when people use your facilities the most. This data will benefit you and your college community because it allows you to better prepare the area for high volumes of people. Amid COVID-19 restrictions, you may need to adjust your hours of operation to accommodate more people and their availability. People counters can be key in helping to determine these needs.

2. Determine Staffing Needs Using Popular Times

Once you use people counters to identify peak hours, you can then determine what times may require more or fewer staff members. Your facilities will operate more efficiently when enough employees can staff them. Using this data to schedule your staff can also be more cost-efficient, as you can save hourly wages at times when you don’t need as much staffing.

3. Schedule Cleaning

With increased sanitation needs across campuses, maintenance workers may find it more challenging to determine which areas need more attention than others. People counters can be beneficial in helping you assess high-traffic areas within each facility, allowing cleaning staff to better focus their efforts on the areas they need to clean most often. Using this data to schedule usage-based cleaning will save you and your staff time and resources. Regularly and consistently cleaning hotspots also ensures the health and safety of the campus community.

4. Set Occupancy Limits

People counters offer an accurate way to track the number of visitors at any given moment. This knowledge can be especially helpful in setting and maintaining occupancy limits in your facilities. Keeping a manual tally can be unreliable, time-consuming and takes a staff member away from other tasks. People counters offer you an efficient way to collect this data.

5. Use Data in Funding Requests

College campuses often struggle to receive funding for their facilities. For example, academic libraries receive less than two cents of every dollar that goes to higher education. You can use the data from the people counters around your campus facilities to help justify your need for more funding. 

Contact Traf-Sys for a Free Quote

People counters are a valuable way to collect data about foot traffic through your campus facilities. Their benefits help you efficiently operate these facilities, improving the campus and the experience for students and staff. If you’re looking to implement people counters to benefit your college campus, Traf-Sys people counting systems are the solution you’re looking for.

Contact us today for a free quote or request more information to find out which of our people counting sensors could work for you.

Top Ways to Improve Retail Space Optimization

If you own or manage a retail store, you probably already know that your store’s interior design and layout directly impact your customers’ purchases. For example, strategically placing products in some regions of the store can keep shoppers in the store longer, increasing their chance of finding more products to buy. Ultimately, optimizing your retail space is important because you can influence buyer behavior. 

This article highlights how you can improve retail space optimization with people counters in your store. Whether you’re looking for solutions for boutique or shopping mall space optimization, read the following suggestions for the best ways to improve the interior of your retail space.

Common Store Layout Strategies

Optimizing store layout involves aspects like designing your floor space and strategically placing your products in your store to positively influence a customer’s behavior. It turns out that design is the biggest environmental factor that impacts a customer’s approach to your store. Alternatively, an important aspect that can influence store layout is customer flow — the pattern in which customers move around your store. Combining an understanding of these aspects allows you to create a strategy for your store that helps you become more profitable. 

Most stores generally use one of four layouts:

  1. Grid: Most commonly used in grocery stores, a grid layout arranges shelves in long rows, guiding customers up and down each aisle. This layout is successful because store owners can place commonly-shopped-for items in the back of the store. This technique makes shoppers looking for necessities walk down one or more aisles, creating a higher chance they’ll see — and buy — something else they might have wanted or forgot they needed.
  2. Loop: The loop layout is exactly what it sounds like — one central aisle that loops around the entire store like a racetrack, leading the customer back to the entrance.
  3. Spine: With a spine floor plan, your store has one central aisle that flows from the front of the store to the back of the store, with branches breaking out into various departments.
  4. Free-flowing: The free-flowing layout features merchandise, displays and fixtures grouped together to make up a seemingly random layout. Popular among small businesses, this floor plan emphasizes open space and allows customers to wander around the store and find items that pique their interest.

Understanding how the layout of your products and the way your customers flow through your store is key to turning a profit. Choose a layout that will make sense for your store and will show your customers you had them in mind when designing it.

What’s the Decompression Zone?

The decompression zone of your store is the first few feet inside the door, where customers adjust to their surroundings and prepare for what your store may have to offer. Creating an effective decompression zone is essential because customers may leave if they feel overwhelmed as soon as they enter your store. 

Here are a few tips to make the entrance of your store feel welcoming:

  • Open, clutter-free space: Keeping your decompression zone clutter-free provides a vast space for customers to enter your store. Also, note that keeping this space open will help the traffic flow coming in and out of the store if you only have one entrance and exit.
  • Featured products: Displaying products you want customers to buy around the decompression zone can impact sales. Of course, you should keep the displays tasteful and straightforward, so your customers feel enticed to explore your products.
  • Create an aesthetic: Since the decompression zone of the store is the first space potential customers will see, it’s your chance to impress them with your store’s unique style and aesthetic. Decorating using eye-catching displays can draw your customers into the space.

The Importance of Facilities Maintenance

Maintaining your retail facility to stay in optimal condition will positively influence your customers’ experience. Facility maintenance is another factor that can directly benefit from understanding the customer flow through your store and where the high-traffic areas are located. When you understand which places your customers frequent the most, you can ensure you keep these areas especially clean. 

For example, you should maintain spaces like bathrooms or main aisles to keep up a good appearance. When you’re completing maintenance tasks, try to do so after hours so your customer can shop uninterrupted. Preventative maintenance on building systems, like heating and lighting, is also crucial so you can avoid surprise issues. When you implement maintenance checks, you can deliver a clean, comfortable and consistent shopping experience for your customers while creating more time for yourself to devote to retail space optimization.

How to Use Data From People Counters

In case you’re unfamiliar with the concept of people counters in retail stores, they’re sensors that collect and monitor data, like how many people enter your store, how long they stay and how many of your visitors turn into buyers. They can be especially helpful in determining high-traffic areas of your store. 

You can use the data from people counters to do the following:

  • Analyze traffic flow: As we stated earlier, understanding the way customers flow through your store is vital in deciding how you should display your products. Knowing which way your customers tend to walk out of the decompression zone can help you determine where to place certain products to increase profits. You can use the data from people counters around your store to determine if the layout of your store is successful.
  • Assess high-traffic areas: People counters can also help you assess your high-traffic areas. Understanding the location of these areas can be beneficial to you because you can place products you want to highlight in the heavily visited areas of your store.
  • Determine busy and slow times: Using people counting data to determine the slowest and busiest times of the day and week can help you schedule maintenance or additional staff members in a way that’s most beneficial for your space.

Contact Traf-Sys for a Free Quote for Your Retail Business

If you’re looking for the best ways to optimize your retail space, consider implementing people counting systems around your store. Analyze the data to help you make effective decisions about store layout and when the best times are for maintenance or more staff members to be present. At Traf-Sys, we pride ourselves in offering accurate people counting systems to a variety of businesses, and yours could be one of them.

Contact us for more information about how people counters can benefit your retail business, or fill out our form to request a free quote for your retail space.

Getting Started With People Counting Guide

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.

How to Prepare for Holiday Shoppers During COVID-19

The 2020 holiday shopping season is here, and it’s unlike any other. Mindful preparation is essential for the health and safety of your employees and customers. This year has prompted many shoppers to consider what matters to them, opting for smaller, intimate gatherings and sentimental gifts over exorbitant purchases. They are eager to shop at establishments with similar values. One holiday shopping survey shows 57% of consumers feel more inspired to shop with a business that has supported staff and customers during the COVID-19 crisis. The same study reports that more than 60% of consumers plan to minimize in-store shopping, citing their concern for retail workers as a leading cause.

Though in-store crowds will likely be smaller and more staggered, there are steps you can take to optimize the shopping experience in a way that encourages social distancing and safe practices while still promoting your products. Here are six steps for safer holiday shopping during the COVID-19 outbreak.

1. Follow Health and Safety Guidelines

Following all recommended and required health and safety guidelines are the most essential step your business can take this holiday season. To make it easier, consider selecting a COVID-19 officer who can identify critical areas and facilitate changes. Your COVID-19 officer will also be in charge of communicating all relevant workplace adjustments to employees. Work with store management across departments to examine existing employee policies regarding sick time and compensation and see what flexibility you can introduce to encourage a “health first” attitude.

Establish a list of health and safety standards your store aims to uphold for customers and employees. Examples include:

  • Use a people counting system: One of the best ways to minimize contact between employees and customers is to set a limit for the number of shoppers allowed inside the store at a given time. Be sure to display this number clearly on the outside of the store, so shoppers know there may be a wait. Monitor store capacity with an electronic overhead people counting system. Controlling the number of customers your employees work with also ensures those customers receive attentive service.
  • Assess existing conditions: Analyze your existing conditions within the store. How far are aisles spaced? Which departments do you anticipate receiving the most foot traffic during holiday shopping? Consider whether you can eliminate any tasks or rearrange any areas of the store to minimize customer contact and optimize flow. This is also a good time to create a set of mask and distancing guidelines for employees and shoppers to follow. Pay special attention to medium-risk employees, which the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) lists as those operating at the point of sale (POS) or dealing directly with consumers.
  • Encourage social distancing: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet. In your store, this might mean using signage to discourage queueing in check-out lanes and aisles and floor stickers to direct traffic. If possible, encourage self-checkout to promote safer distances. Consider setting up outdoor retail spots for open-air shopping. Make sure all shelves stay stocked throughout the day, so customers can shop for items without employee interaction unless necessary.
  • Add physical barriers where possible: Many stores have installed see-through plexiglass barriers and partitions to separate check-out employees at the POS and customers in line. You could utilize similar devices at information counters and return desks.
  • Have a disinfection strategy: Create a disinfection strategy for employees, customers, and equipment. This might include more frequent breaks for employees to wash their hands, installing sanitizing or handwashing stations throughout the store for employee and customer use, and regular disinfection on surfaces such as counters, shelves, doors, handles, shopping carts, cash registers, card scanners, writing utensils and handrails.

Once your health and safety protocols are in place, stay vigilant about changing conditions in your local community. Adjust your plans as needed. Be aware of spikes in COVID-19 cases, and take steps to ensure sick staff stays at home.

2. Adjust Business Hours

In addition to monitoring how many shoppers enter the store, you can also adjust your business hours to suit your specific needs. Some stores have extended shopping hours to discourage large crowds and allow holiday shoppers more time to browse without congregating. Other stores have found better success shortening business hours to minimize the amount of exposure their employees undergo throughout a shift. You also have an option to designate specific shopping hours for vulnerable populations. If you operate a small store or live in a high-risk area, consider allowing customers to schedule shopping appointments. This is a great way to keep in-store contact low while still fostering valuable customer relationships.

3. Expand or Include Curbside Pick-Up

If you don’t currently offer customers an option to pick-up their orders outside the store, there is no better time to start. In 2020, half of the consumers plan to use curbside or contactless pick-up for holiday shopping more than they did in 2019. Nearly 80% of shoppers say the option for contactless pick-up is important. Curbside pick-up is a good way to entice holiday shoppers who are high-risk or uncomfortable with in-store shopping to continue purchasing with you.

Ensure successful curbside pick-up with these steps:

  • Let customers know via advertising that they can shop and place orders online, over the phone, or via social media — whichever combination of methods works best for you.
  • Designate a pick-up area outside the store. The location should be close enough for employees to comfortably carry a customer’s order to them.
  • Create a curbside plan and create a pick-up crew to oversee order management and fulfillment.
  • Rearrange or block off parking near the store to accommodate your new arrangements.

4. Optimize Window Shopping

Another method that promotes safe shopping is optimized window shopping. In the past, window shopping simply meant browsing items for sale without much intent to purchase. In the era of COVID-19, it’s an innovative way to attract customers while maintaining safety protocols. Stores with optimized window shopping have rearranged displays, so passersby can see items from outdoors and scan QR codes if they’re interested in buying. 

Here are some tips for optimizing your store for window shopping:

  • When selecting items for display, opt for your bestsellers or top holiday discounts.
  • Integrate signage in your display to guide customers through the new selection and check-out process.
  • Use window shopping as an opportunity to create new item bundles or conduct live demonstrations of products.
  • Create an outdoor distancing plan with ground markers and physical barriers.

5. Promote Online Shopping and Virtual Experiences

One of the most significant COVID-19 holiday shopper trends in 2020 will be the amount of online-only browsing and shopping. According to a Nielsen survey, there has been a 61% increase in e-commerce shopping trips since the pandemic began. Make sure your online shopping platform is up and running. If you own a small store or have no e-commerce options available, consider utilizing your social media channels to list top-selling items and holiday promotions. Then, encourage customers to call the store and place an order for contactless pick-up or local delivery.

While many shoppers might be missing the Christmas shopping experience — holiday music overhead and colorful decorations all around — many stores are creating memorable virtual experiences to entice shoppers this year. Retailers like Sam’s Club and Macy’s have implemented VR shopping experiences to help consumers feel like they’re getting the holiday treatment. Leverage your online platform to create virtual content to connect you with consumers, like behind-the-scenes videos, a “history of” series about your business, how-to guides for bestselling items or holiday tutorials featuring your products.

6. Communicate Changes With Customers

As you make adjustments for the upcoming shopping season, communicate all relevant changes to customers to minimize confusion and frustration. Let them know early and often about policy changes, mask requirements, social distancing guidelines and online offerings. 

Use as many of the following advertising methods as you can:

  • At-store signage
  • Your social media channels
  • Banners on your website
  • Telephone recordings
  • Press releases
  • Your mailing list or newsletter

While communicating with customers, practice patience and understanding. Let them know you’ve made changes in the best interest of your staff and to keep shoppers like them safe. Use optimism, hope and humor to remain authentic and remind shoppers that we are all navigating the situation as best we can. 

Request a Free Quote From Traf-Sys Today

Shoppers are eager to continue celebrating holidays and shopping for Christmas during the pandemic. These steps can help you keep shoppers and employees safe all season long while continuing to make sales and grow your customer base. A Traf-Sys people counting system will allow you to maintain control over your store with automatic counting. When you pair it with our VisiCount software, you’ll also get valuable insights from your collected traffic data to help you make safer decisions for all involved. Request a free quote today!

Why Does My Business Need a People Counter?

Many industries use people counters as a way to understand what their daily traffic looks like. A store uses people counters to understand their busy times and their overall conversion rate. Libraries use people counters to understand their circulation in the context of how many visitors they have. Shopping centers, malls and other commercial property owners use people counters to gauge the desirability of their properties to retailers and set rents. In public spaces, colleges and universities, people counters track space utilization to assist with funding and resource distribution.

Businesses across sectors use people counters to get reliable data about their visitors and traffic patterns. They can apply this data to serve many purposes, which makes people counters so useful and versatile.

Read the full article or jump to a specific section:

What Is Foot Traffic?

Foot traffic is a metric many businesses use to understand how many people entered a specific location. Retailers use it to determine how many potential customers were in their store during a given time frame. Commercial landlords, especially those in shopping malls, use foot traffic to determine rent for retail locations. Retail space can command higher rent if more people pass by regularly. 

Many businesses are familiar with traffic in how it relates to a website. Online, traffic is equal to the number of people who visited a website or particular page. Marketers use many tactics to drive traffic online, and the visitor count determines their success. An e-retailer looks at site traffic in relation to how many visitors placed an online order to learn how effective their website is at driving sales. Foot traffic is that same metric translated into the physical retail space.

Retailers use foot traffic to gain many useful insights. It lets them see when their peak hours are. They can also understand their conversion rate and lost sales opportunities. If a product doesn’t sell well during peak hours, it might be taking up valuable shelf space. A store can also correlate their business traffic to other events to see how they influence visitor counts. Boosting foot traffic is key to increasing sales, so understanding how visitor numbers rise and fall is critical.

How Do People Counters Measure Foot Traffic?

Online traffic is easy to measure. Most websites show their owners traffic graphs by default. To gain the same level of clarity over their visitor counts, physical businesses need to implement a people counting system.

One way to do this is to have someone count visitors with pen and paper or a handheld tally counter. The manual method is the least accurate and efficient. The staff member charged with counting visitors must be solely focused on counting people to avoid miscounts. Manual counting increases your labor expenses and limits staff productivity. If you have multiple store entrances, manual counting gets quite unwieldy. Even if staff members are incredibly focused, they’re still inclined to make errors because the task is so rote.

Electronic people counting systems boast 95%-99% accuracy and require no extra labor power to give you accurate counts. They measure business traffic and space utilization using either overhead or horizontal sensors. Overhead sensors go directly above the entrance and scan a predetermined zone in front of the door to identify pedestrians. They filter out shelves, carts, children and sometimes staff members to give you an accurate count. They also look at the direction of movement to separate those entering from those exiting. Overhead sensors might incorporate one or two video camera lenses, a thermal sensor or an infrared sensor.

Horizontal sensors work by projecting a break beam across the door frame. Whenever something passes through, it counts as a person. Anything tall enough to break the beam, including a loaded shopping cart, will be counted. Horizontal sensors can be uni-directional, meaning they count a person any time the beam breaks. In that case, you divide your final count by two to determine your actual traffic. They can also be bi-directional, where two parallel laser beams span the doorway. Whichever beam breaks first determines whether the pedestrian is entering or exiting.

People counters might give you a count by the hour or at the end of the day, depending on the system’s accuracy. Some types of overhead sensors can even track your foot traffic in real-time.

When you use automated people counters, you can access your foot traffic data via software. The software can break down your foot traffic into custom periods to compare traffic during a promotion or time of year to another. Analyze your data by the entrance to decide how to arrange your entrance displays. The software lets you import sales data to generate conversion rates and staffing data to track productivity in the context of traffic. You can also correlate traffic data to weather patterns or other external factors right from the software.

What Other Metrics Do People Counters Measure?

People counters measure more than just foot traffic. By counting the number of people visiting a business location, people counters can give you insights into:

Conversion Rates

A conversion rate is the number of transactions divided by the number of people who visit a store. Retailers used to assume most people who entered their store were buying something. When people counters become popular, the numbers told a different story. While the numbers remain hard to pin down, since not all stores track traffic accurately or at all, the industry average rests around a 20% conversion rate.

Understanding your conversion rate, rather than just your raw sales data, gives you an idea of how many sales opportunities you had. Even a 1% increase in conversions can have a tremendous impact on your bottom line. The only way to improve is to understand how your promotions, store, signage and other factors raise and decrease your conversion rates.

Average Transaction Value (ATV)

One way retailers can increase their revenue is to increase the basket size or amount of money individual shoppers spend per visit. This amount represents your ATV — your net sales divided by the number of transactions. Your point-of-sale (POS) system might generate your ATV automatically. Otherwise, you can calculate the figure manually. While you don’t need a people counter to access your ATV, you’ll benefit from aggregating foot traffic with your ATV and comparing these two metrics.

A 2011 academic study found increasing in-store traffic by just one unit increased average sales volume per hour by $9.97. Many factors can contribute to your average transaction value, and traffic is undoubtedly one of them. Understanding how traffic affects basket size in your store helps you maximize your revenue.

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

It’s impossible to understand your customer acquisition cost without understanding your traffic and conversion rate. Any marketing you do, whether on or off the premises, determines how many people come through the door. Then, the marketing within the store, product selection and layout determine who converts. All the costs that go into marketing divided by the number of customers acquired represent your CAC.

The data used to determine your CAC can come from your marketing budget and your POS system. It’s crucial to look at this number in light of your foot traffic to identify areas to lower your CAC. If you’re spending a lot of marketing budget getting people in the door, and they aren’t converting in-store, you may need to adjust your strategy. Increasing your conversion rate may lower your CAC.

Benefits of People Counters for Businesses

Retailers, librarians, facilities managers, landlords, hoteliers and anyone with a physical business location can use people counting technology. No matter your business, you’ll benefit from knowing how many people visit you and when. Foot traffic data offers businesses across industries actionable information. Here’s why your business needs a people counter:

Better Understand Business Performance

Seeing your foot traffic and conversion rate lets you know how effectively your business is performing. If a different marketing strategy or employee-to-customer ratio impacts traffic or conversions, you know about it from your foot traffic reports.

You can also compare the performance of one location to another. Are all your sites earning traffic in equal measure as a result of your marketing? Or, are some of your stores consistently pulling in more foot traffic? When you know which stores are drawing in the most customers, you can investigate what factors are at play so you can boost performance at other locations.

Improve Customer Experience

Peak hours sometimes correlate with your shoppers’ needs. For example, a store with peak shopping hours on weekends might cater to “shoppertainment.” Shoppers on weekends may be more interested in having an enjoyable, leisurely visit. A store with peak traffic after business hours on workdays needs a different approach. It might focus on helping shoppers quickly find what they need so they can get home sooner.

When you know your peak shopping hours, you can design a customer experience for the people shopping. It also lets you optimize staffing, so your store runs smoothly during busy times, improving customer experience.

Evaluate Signage and Promotional Success

Is your latest promotion driving more traffic to your location? Is your new sign drawing in passersby from around the plaza? Foot traffic data lets you know if your out-of-store promotions make an impact. Knowing your conversion rate, you’ll also see how your in-store displays affect sales in proportion to traffic. Based on how your traffic and conversions rise and fall, you can tweak your business marketing strategies to find the winning formula.

Compare Digital vs. Physical Traffic

Different types of marketing strategies for small businesses will have different effects on your customers’ behavior. For instance, some of your promotions drive traffic to your website and others to your brick-and-mortar location. Do the same factors that increase your physical traffic give you some lift online? Do you gain more online visitors when in-store traffic is low? Comparing your online and offline visitors lets you better understand your customer journey. Foot traffic shows you how your promotions influence shopping behavior across selling channels.

Understand External Factors That Affect Your Business

Anything from the weather and season to the economy and consumer trends can influence your traffic. Bad weather can impact sales by 23.1%, primarily due to the lowered foot traffic. While these factors are out of your control, knowing how they influence your traffic lets you prepare.

For instance, weather-themed sales, such as for rain clothing or beach fashion, can increase by 40.7% based on the weather. Knowing how weather affects your traffic and conversions in particular product categories helps you make the most out of weather events. You might orchestrate a last-minute sale on bathing suits or fans in anticipation of a heat wave. If snowstorms tend to make business slow, you can move your staff schedule around in anticipation. Likewise, if an annual parade in your area brings in more foot traffic, you can prepare with promotions to attract paradegoers.

Optimize Staffing

Ideally, you want to schedule only as many team members as needed to cover the number of shoppers you have. If you’re understaffed, you’ll miss sales opportunities. Too few cashiers will increase lines at the register, which may turn away customers. Too few stockers may mean you run out of popular items and won’t sell as many as your customers demand. Overstaffing your store means you’ll spend more on labor than you need to.

Knowing what your traffic looks like by the day and by the hour lets you schedule staff most effectively. Once you’ve been using people counting for a year or two, you’ll start to anticipate your seasonal rushes, letting you optimize temporary staffing, too.

Prevent Theft

A people counter is an essential part of your loss prevention system if you know how to read your foot traffic reports. First, you’ll establish a baseline for how much revenue you can expect in a given period as correlated with your foot traffic. Let’s say you usually average about $500 in sales between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Sundays, with usual foot traffic of 50 people.

If you get around 60 visitors one Sunday and sales revenue stays at around $500, the cause may be shoplifting. Your traffic data also shows you if more people used a particular entrance, like the one closest to electronics. If something like this shows up on your foot traffic reports, it’s a good idea to review your security footage during that sales window.

Video-based people counters can even supplement your regular security cameras.

Evaluate Business Expansion Opportunities

When you track foot traffic at your location, you’re armed with more knowledge regarding expanding. Since many commercial landlords track foot traffic, you can compare your current traffic numbers to those cited at a potential rental location. Predict whether a new site will be as profitable as your first based on the foot traffic data.

Types of People Counters

While there are two main categories of people counters, each has a few different options. Horizontal sensors give you a choice between bi-directional and uni-directional counting. Overhead sensors all offer multi-directional data, with either thermal and image-based counting. Each of these options provides a unique set of advantages and drawbacks.

Horizontal Wired and Wireless Counting Systems

Horizontal counting systems count people based on how many breaks in the horizontal laser beam they sense. These are the most basic and inexpensive automatic people counters. They might use bi- or uni-directional data to give you a count. Since horizontal sensors go along the doorframes of each entrance, they are fast and easy to install.

The downside of horizontal counting systems is their accuracy. Since they only have a linear range, miscounts are more likely. Two people walking abreast may be counted as one. A tall child accompanying an adult shopper might be counted as another potential shopper. If your sensor makes a noise when it senses a passerby, you might get children falsely triggering the sensor for fun.

A uni-directional sensor also makes it harder to pinpoint peak shopping hours. For example, say you take counts every hour using a uni-directional sensor. Every hour, on the hour, you divide your hourly count in two. Let’s say 25 people visited your location in a given hour, and many showed up in the last half of the hour. By the time the hour is up, only five of those 25 people have left the store. A uni-directional sensor would give you a count of 30. You would divide that in two, leaving you with 15. You would wrongly estimate you had 15 visitors during the hour when your traffic was 25.

Because of their accuracy limitations, a horizontal people counter is best for doorways narrower than 10 to 15 feet maximum. They also work better for low-density entrances, making them an affordable option for small businesses. Horizontal counters come in both wired and wireless versions. If you have outlets handy near each entry, you can plug your sensors in at a standard 110-volt power outlet. All the horizontal counters can be battery-powered, giving you a year or more of operation between replacements.

Overhead Counting Systems

Overhead sensors have a bird’s eye view of your entrance area. Since they cover the zones in front of your entrances and identify people individually, they give a more detailed view of your customers. They sense directional flow, so they automatically discount people exiting the store. They can also give you an idea of where your traffic is headed, whether that’s forward, to the right or to the left. Two types of technology can power overhead counting systems — thermal and video sensors. These two technologies can even integrate, so one verifies the other’s accuracy.

No matter which type you choose, you can gain distinct benefits from an overhead sensor. They’re an excellent option for locations with wide entrances and a large physical layout. Overhead sensors are more accurate and can filter out shopping carts and children.

Thermal Overhead Sensors

Thermal overhead sensors use thermal imaging technology to detect people entering and exiting. These systems use body heat, so they can’t accidentally count a cart or another object. Since thermal cameras don’t use light, they work equally well in low-light settings like restaurants and in direct sunlight.

Another benefit of thermal overhead sensors is they have an impressive 95% accuracy. They can cover wide entrances and integrate with detectors at other doors.

One downside to thermal sensors is they are more expensive than basic horizontal counters. Compared to video cameras, they have a smaller field of vision and a lower resolution. As a result, they’re less accurate at identifying children. One other disadvantage is they can only track people in motion. A display near the entrance that causes people to stop can affect the system’s accuracy.

Video-Based Overhead Sensors

The other type of overhead sensor is a system using a camera lens. These overhead counters can provide video footage of your store traffic. The sensor and corresponding software automatically generate traffic data. You also have up to 10 days of stored footage, which you can access for more in-depth analysis. Since the technology is video-based, it can even act as a backup for your security cameras.

Video sensors come in two types — single and dual-lens cameras. The dual cameras offer binocular vision for greater depth perception, while single-lens systems are more affordable. While they are most expensive to implement, video sensors provide excellent accuracy. They can filter out carts, strollers and children from your results with precision.

How to Choose the Right People Counter for Your Business

Your business will likely benefit from all the fantastic metrics available to you with a people counter. The question is, which one is right for you? Different people counters work better in different buildings and layouts. Ask yourself four questions to narrow down your options.

  • How is your entrance set up? If you have an open doorway, a horizontal counter may not provide accuracy. Horizontal counters work best with sliding doors since the doors won’t block the beam. If you have swing doors, you’ll need them to swing out. Also, low-volume entrances are more conducive to horizontal sensors.
  • How wide is your entrance? A wide opening — anything above 15 feet — will likely require an overhead people counter. You may need several overhead sensors to span the distance. We generally recommend one sensor per 11 feet of opening. Overhead counters will also need a wired connection to the ceiling.
  • What time intervals do you want to use when capturing traffic? If you only need a general count of how many people visit your business a day, a uni-directional horizontal sensor is all you need. If you want to capture data by the hour or even more frequently, a bi-directional sensor will work better. Track traffic over shorter intervals using either horizontal or overhead sensors.
  • Do people browse near your entryway? Since thermal sensors need people to be in motion for an accurate count, it may lose accuracy if shoppers stop near the entrance. A horizontal sensor won’t get confused unless someone stops in the exact path of the laser beam. However, if you have many people browsing in the entryway, you may want to collect more data. Video-based sensors can keep an eye on shoppers who stop to browse and those who pass on through. Review the stored footage from your overhead sensor to get an idea of how many of your visitors pause to browse your display entrances.

Request Your Free Quote From Traf-Sys

Traf-Sys offers an array of people counting systems to meet the needs of any business. Our most sophisticated people counting system, SafeEntry and SafeCount, offers real-time people counting for occupancy monitoring. We also provide affordable horizontal people counters and data-rich overhead people counters. Our systems are between 95%-99% accurate, and we’ll assist you through the entire installation process. We can help you decide which people counter is right for you and teach you to make sense of your foot traffic data after implementation.

Ready to start collecting valuable data about your visitors? Tell us about your company and the products you’re interested in and request your free quote today.