Don’t Sell Yourself Short On Staffing Based On Sales; A Customer Counting System Carries More Clout

Having worked in retail for so many years now, I have always hated to see what I considered wasted payroll. Some stores seem to be over staffed when there is no need for it and then there are times I look around a store and can’t seem to find any help.When I get to a checkout counter and there is only one lane open and a line of customers waiting to check out, I shake my head and just wonder what is going on with that store’s payroll and scheduling. I have also been a Manager On Duty and experienced the frustration of a schedule that was too light due to an automated scheduling system that supposedly gave payroll hours based on “historical” data. How about a schedule based on numbers of patrons, not just sales data like dollars spent or someone’s perception of what payroll should be. How beneficial would it be to your store to have a customer counting system that provides actual head counts so you can staff your store effectively? 


The VisiPlus retail traffic counting system gives the store the ability to make accurate decisions on how many people should be staffed and at what times. Perhaps you staff your store with 10 employees every day from open to close. No changes to the schedule, just plug in 10 people and go. Do you truly need the same 10 people at 8:00 a.m. that you have scheduled at 10:00 p.m.? What time does your customer traffic really pick up? Wouldn’t it be nice to have 12 or 13 people on the schedule during your busiest hours? A customer counting system can help you do that. A door counting system works by measuring the people entering and exiting the building. Rather than estimating the number of patrons a store has had based on transactions, real numbers of patrons are counted.


 So what is the difference between estimated numbers and real customer counts through a retail traffic counting system? Estimating customer counts through sales does not take into account those customers who may have left the store without making a purchase due to frustrations at wait times. If there is inadequate staffing at peak hours, customers who may have been seeking sales floor assistance may not have received it.  Customers who saw the lines of a checkout counter and left due to the anticipated wait time are not counted. Customer counting systems give actual data and can provide day of the week and time break downs to make scheduling much more effective. I may need 10 people for 3 hours to stock merchandise and run the store, but if my counts show I have low customer counts for a few hours afterwards then I can send two or three workers home when the work is done. I can use historical counts to staff 13 or 14 people for 4 or 5 hours or more, based on what my door counting system has shown as peak times. In this way, I ensure ample coverage is in place to serve the additional foot traffic shopping in the store. Those additional three or four people can ensure I am serving my customers on the floor and getting them through the checkout lines quickly. As I improve my service, my sales will go up.


As a Manager On Duty I also closed a store with far too few people to get a proper recovery done. Because of poor scheduling we would have just enough staff to help customers, but not enough at those peak times to also recover the store as it was being torn up. Sales data showed a slowdown in traffic so, why have extra help at 10:00 p.m.? Basing staffing on the results of a door counting system, proper payroll allocation can be adjusted to make sure ALL tasks get done, patrons are served AND you get your staff out on time. I can’t tell you how much payroll I see overspent because staffs are kept past scheduled hours to straighten a store.


A retail counting system can help you be smarter in payroll spending. In doing so you will be able to better serve your customers, and increase transactions and dollars. Don’t depend on sales that have been missed as a measure of your customer traffic, see what a difference a customer counting system can make for your staffing model!


Need information on a customer counting system?  Give us a call at 1.770.426.0547 now.





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