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.
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