I work in a college library as a day shift supervisor. I have recently changed shifts from being an overnight supervisor in the same library for the past six years. The difference in positions is significant. Where I am used to working with only a few students in the building after 1:00am, I now have to adjust to having several hundred in the building at any given time. This means we provide more assistance, have more student workers during a shift and usually will have more staff at one time. We also have more resources on campus to refer a patron to when they have questions regarding their enrollment, classes, fines, etc. There are times when retail owners and managers have varying numbers of customers in their buildings too. Knowing when those differences take place and being able to track them by day of the week, hour of the day or a particular seasonal event enables store managers to adjust workloads around those times and utilize payroll dollars in a manner that makes sense. The question is, how do you track customer counts? Using customer counting systems is the most efficient means of doing this.
Customer counting systems keep track of the number of people entering a store by the hour of day. In our library we send a worker around with an iPad and they count the number of people we have on an hourly basis. A door counting sensor can alleviate this problem and for a store, a waste of payroll if someone is stationed at a door to count heads. They can provide electronic article surveillance (EAS) alarm response time for store managers to assess whether personnel are responding to alarms appropriately. The advantage of having the EAS system is that a store can impact theft and fraud and improve profits through reduced shrink. Add that to the benefits of adjusting payroll to be customer driven and stores can see substantial profit increases.
I know some of you may doubt me right now. It sounds a little incredible that something as simple as a door counting sensor could really make an impact on sales. Consider for a moment that there are people coming into your store and leaving without making any purchases. If you knew how many people are visiting and at what time they are visiting you could adjust your scheduling. I am aware of two methods that are regularly used for retail scheduling by large businesses. One method is when a store is allocated payroll hours by a headquarters and stores use the hours where they deem appropriate. It may be based on merchandise shipments that will be coming in that week or a store manager allotting hours based on prior year sales data.
The other means I have seen used is to have payroll dollars allocated to a store. The headache with this is there has to be tracking of employee pay rates. A store may have to have fewer people on the salesfloor for a shift since Mary Ann earns $10.00 an hour while Jimmy Bob earns $8.00 an hour. When these stores are trending over that dollar amount they have to cut payroll dollars. This poses a conundrum for the store management team they have to decide where those hours will come from. Do you take it from cashiering? Then you have a line of customers that gets angry and abandons shopping carts and leave the store. Oh and don’t forget the snowball effect that has. Now, someone has to get all the merchandise put back and that is on top of the regular tasks that have to be done before the store closes. Is the team going to have to stay later than scheduled in order to get the store back in shape for the next day? A customer counting system allows managers to see when the peak traffic is in the store. Payroll based on dollars or hours using old sales information may give a false picture of the needs for the store.
Get a true picture of how many people are coming into your store. Use a door counting sensor and get reliable information without wasting payroll dollars to do it. When you staff your store to provide adequate service to all of the people walking through your doors you will see your sales improve and that translates to more returning customers and new customers due to word of mouth advertising.
Need information on a door counting sensor? Give us a call at 1.866.914.2567 now.
I remember when I first moved to my state the road system was horrible in some areas. There was a military base to support and the area was a tourist destination as well. Two major road arteries coming into and out of the area were inadequate for the amount of traffic we were seeing. Eventually government officials realized that the area could not support further growth and attract more tourists without road improvements. In order to support the need for road improvements, vehicle traffic counters were set out on roads. While there are a number of measurement tools available the one that I was most aware of was rubber hoses that were placed across the road called pneumatic road tubes. I am certain that there were other factors taken into consideration before the decisions for road widening projects were started. Factors such as traffic accidents, traffic congestion reports, hotel occupancy levels, and the growth of businesses along major road arteries I am sure all were taken into account. I can look at the impact of ongoing road projects and see what the impacts have been. More shopping outlets have built up along these roads. Major housing complexes have popped up and continue to pop up. A local university has grown by leaps and bounds from roughly 3,000 students in the late 1980’s to more than 10,000 students today. Retail stores would do well to learn the importance of customer counting systems as they serve a very similar purpose to the vehicle traffic counters.
Customer counting systems use a door counting sensor to keep track of the number of patrons entering a store. It also measure the time of day of the customers are entering the store. For store owners and managers this data can be used to maximize the use of payroll for staffing purposes. Stores without the protections offered by electronic article surveillance (EAS) can use a door counting sensor as a stand-alone device to track foot traffic patterns. Those stores with Checkpoint EAS towers can have the counter attached to it and get the added benefit of information to track alarm activations, times of activations and employee response to alarms. A sensor is a powerful tool to further improve shortage results and aid in identifying training opportunities for employees.
I want to be clear I am not suggesting the vehicle traffic counting systems were driving increases in visitors and growth in the area. There was an identified problem with traffic based on resident complaints, business owner input, accident reporting and I am sure local official input. It is also possible news outlets gave a picture of problem roads and conditions. The use of the vehicle traffic counters gave department of transportation officials the necessary information to support the argument for necessary improvements. THAT planned development in the proper areas led to ADDITIONAL growth and expansion. In like manner I am not suggesting a door counting sensor will bring in more customers that would be a logical fallacy. What I am saying is that the information you receive from your door counting sensor can be used to analyze your business. Compare your foot traffic to your sales and also your staffing. Are you seeing a drop in sales even when the patron count is higher, it could be you are not adequately staffing your store during those periods. You may need for sales floor assistance to help customer and cashiers to ring them up. As you identify your opportunities you strategically adapt your payroll budget. When sales begin to climb you may find you actually have room to expand your business, just as road improvements in my area has driven business and tourism growth.
Why not take a look at the possibility that customer counting systems could be helpful in improving store operations and driving sales? Consider installing a door counting sensor today.
Need information on a customer counting system? Give us a call at 1.866.914.2567 now.