Innovations to improve profits and service are always fascinating to me. I came across something that piqued my interest while in a grocery store with my wife. We were just starting to walk past the frozen food freezer units and I saw a light turn on. Initially I thought this was possibly a bad bulb but then I noticed that the rest of the lights in the other coolers were out. We then turned to walk down the aisle and as we progressed the lights in the units immediately in front of us came on. I thought it was cool that someone thought of this innovation to save money. But I also thought about what may be another added bonus to the system. The lights coming on as we passed by the front of the aisle attracted my attention. How many customers does this cause to turn into an aisle they may have passed by? Does this have an unintended impact on driving sales? As those questions came to my mind I thought about retail traffic counting systems as an innovation in retail. Sure, they can tell a store owner how many people are coming in a store that is the natural intent of the devices. Are there other benefits that may be considered afterthoughts to installing them as were the draw of the motion sensor lights in the freezers?
Before I explore this any further it would be a good idea to clarify what retail traffic counter systems are for the uninitiated reader. These are systems that utilize a door counting sensor to track how many people are entering a store. The information gleaned from the system is used to determine exactly what the traffic patterns in a store are by time of day and the day of the week. This information is then used by store managers and store owners to determine payroll allocations. Payroll is spent where trends indicate the busiest days and hours are from a historical perspective.
Back to my observation about side benefits how else might a store owner benefit if he/she were to place a door counting sensor at the entrance to the store? Is there more than knowing how to spend payroll more effectively? Consider what happens when a new window display is set up. Does management really know whether it was impactful to set up that mannequin or layout a new lawnmower or tool set? Using the data from retail traffic counting systems it is possible to compare days. Maybe last year 300 people entered the store on this day of the week. This year the totals were 350 people coming to visit. Barring any external factors that may have played a part such as snow or a special event in the community, something that might have drawn in people to the town, it would be fairly safe to assume the display was the draw. Note should be taken for next year on what was displayed you may have hit a jackpot.
Another positive effect of a retail traffic counting system is it can help measure your store social media presence. It is one thing to get tweets and re-tweets or hundreds of Facebook shares but that means nothing if you don’t know if your media presence translates to sales. On the other hand a tweet about a special event in your building or a Facebook post telling everyone there is a special one-time deal being offered may drive in people but you don’t have any clue how many unless you can track that number by foot traffic. I know what you are thinking, “I always have my receipt tape to tell me how my event impacted sales.” If you think this an accurate measure you might want to reconsider that line of thought. How many customers came in but did not buy anything? Perhaps they just wanted to browse merchandise but what if they didn’t buy because no one was available to offer assistance? A door counting sensor along with sales receipt data can paint a true picture of how many people were in your store and how many actually made purchases. This information can help in creating future action plans that will make sale promotions more profitable than in the past.
Innovation often requires looking at something more than on the surface. A motion sensor can save money on energy and draw in a customer. A door counting sensor can count people and give vital information that will help in assessing social media and advertising impact along with other statistical data. See how a retail traffic counting sensor can help drive up your sales.
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