How many times when I am standing in a long line to check out in a retail store do I wish I had a personal retail traffic counting device. I want to know how many people are in front of me and why there are other lines that are just as long with a minimum number of cashiers working. Oh it is really easy to dismiss it as a fluke and I just happened to get in at the wrong time but when it happens over and over again it isn’t a fluke. It is poor staffing and scheduling by some scheduling manager or it may be the result of an automated scheduling system. The worse-case scenario in my mind is someone creating a cashier schedule with no concept of customer traffic patterns. It is those situations when a door counting sensor would be a help.
Consider the difference it would make if a store was basing scheduling not off of an equal allocation of budget dollars for each day of the week but rather on the flow of customer traffic. Is 4:00pm on a Monday afternoon in the winter the same as 4:00pm on a Monday in the summer? Living in a tourist town I can say for certain it is not. Customer traffic is much different here based on seasonal activity and by the days of the week. Saturday at 1:00pm for a store can look nothing like 1:00pm on a Tuesday. If you don’t believe me try strolling through your local mall on those days and see what I mean. The same holds true for your own store. Your traffic patterns are not going to be the same every day. If you are scheduling your team as though the days are all the same you are probably hurting sales and losing more merchandise to shoplifters. The fix is easy and only requires a retail traffic counting device be attached to your Sensormatic security system.
A door counting sensor will enable store owners to see how many people are entering the store and at what time of the day/night they are coming in. Schedules can be created around those hours. Now, think about me standing in that long line at the local big box store. There are too few cashiers for the number of patrons because of some scheduling screw-up. Using retail traffic counting managers can begin evaluating the shopping patterns of clientele. Open the doors at 8:00am and you may only need a single cashier until 10:00am. You may have had two cashiers in the past but numbers show that only one is necessary. Perhaps you choose to put that two hours of payroll into your 5:00pm-7:00pm shift. Maybe you add it to your Saturday at 1:00pm when you have more customers. Wait lines go down and shoppers are happier. Happier customers are willing to return and spend money.
Lest I neglect to mention it the use of a door counting sensor can also help in decreasing theft in a store as well as cut down checkout wait times. If shortage due to theft is believed to be a concern it could be because shoplifters are taking advantage of the busy times of the day. If the store does not have adequate coverage on the salesfloor during peak hours crooks will find it much easier to steal from a business. Using the data from a door counting sensor managers can better spread the salesfloor coverage around to impact those busier days and hours. That translates to improved customer service reducing opportunities to steal while enhancing the opportunities to increase sales through suggestive selling and add-on sales.
Retail traffic counting can have a tremendous impact on a store. When used properly it can enhance the customer service satisfaction of your patrons by helping to allocate payroll dollars to the times when you have more shoppers in the store. When used with a Sensormatic security system camera it can help in tracking electronic article surveillance alarm activity and employee response to those alarms. It can also assist in improving salesfloor staffing to ensure shoplifters are deterred through better customer service. That will drive up sales and decrease theft and who can argue with that?
Door counting sensors are important and we can help you with them. Call 1.770.426.0547 and let’s talk.
It is a good thing we use people counting systems in our college library it helps our planning during exam weeks. It was the use of the device that provided the numbers from last year’s exam weeks to better prepare for this year. I know there may be some readers out there who have not been to college or have been out for quite some time like me. To tell the truth, during my time in college we had exams and that was it, there was no concern about student “stress” or anxiety. Today’s college campuses and universities are cognizant of the pressures on students and try to find means to alleviate some of that. From offering counseling services to providing therapy pets administrators are proactive in the steps they take. Why the concern? I will leave that for others to answer. My opinion is that they are trying to reduce the number of students who do not return for the following semester. If a student feels like they can’t handle the pressure of exams they might get frustrated and forego re-enrollment. Another reason in my opinion is to reduce the risk of violence associated with stress. So, in our library we put out games and puzzles and snacks. We operate 24/7 but during the week before exams throughout exams our overnight shift sees a dramatic increase in patrons. What we have found through the use of a door counting sensor is that there are dynamics that have changed in the days when the most students are in the building. Several years ago Sunday – Thursday of exam week were the busiest times. That was when we took our snack cart through the building. Over the years we continued to offer most of the snacks during those corresponding days but noticed that we were not running out of foods and had to find solutions to get rid of excess. We began looking at door counts and we saw a trend that students were increasing their time in the building the week before exams. We changed how we run our snack cart to be more in line with the new busy days. Now our students are happy and we don’t have to worry about what to do with leftover snacks…there aren’t any!
Now I have you scratching your head wondering what people counting systems, libraries and snack carts have to do with operating a retail store. I get it, it sounds odd but there is a logical explanation. Do you operate your business the same way year in and year out? Do you assume shopping habits are the same and never change? Be careful! Sometimes we don’t recognize when changes occur around us. You can assume people are following the same old routines however it could be the shopping days and hours are shifting and you missed it. A door counting sensor would let you see when people are REALLY coming to your store to shop.
What difference can it really make if you know what days and times customers are coming into the store? I think it would be neat if you used that information to add one more sales person to your crew at that time. That extra employee is busy assisting customers and engaging in suggestive selling. More attention to the needs of the customers equates to more merchandise going through the cash register stand. I know what I am saying is true because I spend time with the customers I work with. I learn what they are looking for and find the right product for them and then try to help them understand why they need the extra items. Don’t let a computer shopper leave without exploring whether they need to use specific computer programs only available with a certain service. Don’t sell a file cabinet without suggesting hanging folders. I have also been in the position of not having enough help on the salesfloor and I have to cut short my time with a customer. A door counting sensor doesn’t help interact with a customer but is does help improve the opportunities for spending more time with shoppers.
You probably are not concerned with tests, stress or snack carts but you are concerned about numbers and you should be concerned when those numbers are in your store. People counting systems give you the advantage of knowing when shoppers are spending time in your building. Take advantage of that knowledge, staff the store appropriately and train your team on how to build sales through improved customer service. That door counting sensor will pay for itself in no time.
A people counting system is important and we can help you with it. Call 1.770.814.0547 and let’s talk.
People counting systems can be a new type of hearing aid for store owners. In Part 1 I began the discussion of how a system can interpret for you what some of your potential customers may be saying through their lack of purchases. That is right, without your knowledge more shoppers than you may realize could be leaving without ever making a purchase. Obviously sales data is not going to identify what is not taking place through the register. Determining why people are not making purchases is your task. The problem you face is how many people you are missing. Is it a mere two or three shoppers lost or are you losing tens or hundreds and you never see it. You can install a door counting sensor and learn how many people are walking in and out without buying by comparing the information with total sales transactions.
While people counting systems do identify the problem, in this case lost customers, I don’t believe in identifying a problem without offering solutions. Yes, each store is different some sell groceries, some electronics, others are combinations of various merchandise but ultimately the objective is to sell products and/or services. What is it that caused those shoppers who leave without a purchase to decide not to buy and what can you do about it?
• The first customer I want to mention is the browser. This person likes to come in and just look. They aren’t seeking anything in particular and just enjoy browsing. This may be the hardest customer to sell to. They are not coming in to make any purchase. My recommendation is to greet this customer, ask if there is anything in particular you can help them find and when they say no, let them know you are available if they need any assistance. Don’t pressure this customer but do be sure to check on them every so often. Also know the signs that allow you to be certain this person is not a shoplifter. If you would like manager training to stop shoplifting it is available from Loss Prevention Systems, Inc.
• A door counting sensor won’t tell you what the intentions of a customer are but as you engage them you can get a sense from how they act and talk. If the customer gives short, replies and says they know where they are going in the store. This person is single-purposed and knows what they want. You can make some efforts at suggestive selling but don’t appear pushy. You can turn this person off.
• Then there is the chatty customer. This person wants someone to spend time with them, show them merchandise, listen to them and they are open to suggestions. The potential for missing sales with this person is great when there are not enough employees available to assist this patron.
• Don’t overlook the unsure shopper. This person will be the one who has never shopped in your store before or they are unfamiliar with what you sell or where merchandise is located. Your employees need to know how to offer assistance and listen for what this shopper is trying to do. Are they shopping for a gift? Are they getting ready for a new job? Ask the wrong questions or don’t ask at all and you may lose that sale.
• Impatient customers. These are the ones who do not want to wait. They won’t wait for an associate to come to open a display case and they won’t wait in lines at the register that look too long.
A door counting sensor can show you how many people are entering your store and even the times of day so you can plan your staffing to have the people available to help each of these types of customers.
Register receipt tapes speak volumes to the amount of money your store is taking in. You can even get an average dollar per transaction from your registers. What you can’t get are the number of people who are walking out without a purchase. People counting systems give you the tools to capture the sales you have been missing. That means you can change the story your register tape has been telling you to a happier ending.
Need more information on a door counting sensor? Give us a call at 1.770.426.0547 now.
Can retail traffic counting save a business in a period where retail stores seem to be shutting their doors permanently every time you turn around? I would like to say it can IF and only IF those numbers are used to improve what you do. Here is what I mean; I go to work at my part-time retail job, I look at the daily sales goal and I may even look at the sales goal for the department I am going to work in that day. Does knowing the sales goal do anything to help me improve sales? No. It is good to be aware of how my store is doing and it doesn’t hurt to know what numbers were set by some computer magic at headquarters based on prior year information. Ultimately though I am going to do what I do best when I get on the sales floor and start my day, I am going to give the best service I can give to everyone I meet. I will use suggestive selling and upselling techniques to drive sales. I will help a shopper generate ideas for a project or business they may be working on and that in and of itself may increase sales. What I personally would never do is say, “Hey, we hit our sales goal in this department so I can work on something else now.” If a manager uses data from a door counting sensor as an informational tool only it is a waste of time to look at that data and a waste of money to invest in one. That manager is not leveraging data to improve sales, the very thing that keeps the doors to a business open.
Retail traffic counting and the data it generates require an analysis of the information it produces. A store manager has to look at the data and be able to make sound decisions based on that information. A counter can show how many people are entering a store, which days of the week they are shopping and what times they are entering. If that manager will take the data and use it to make scheduling adjustments there are many opportunities that he or she take advantage of. Let’s take as an example my part-time job. We take down our ad set for the past week on sat night and start setting up for the next morning. The store is still open so shoppers need help (remember I said I do all I can to reach as many customers as I can). It often happens that I am the only sales floor person available as the remaining staff members are assigned to the cash register or one other department. The only other available employee may be the manager on duty. That doesn’t provide a lot of coverage to get the task of ad take down and set-up complete and sell merchandise. Now, my focus does become the customers rather than the tasks but there have been times when there were not enough people to provide assistance to all our patrons. We get stretched at times when there are just not enough of us and I know I have seen shoppers walk out who I was unable to give assistance to when I saw them. If staffing was based on data from a door counting sensor schedule adjustments could reflect what foot traffic looks like from shopping history. Consider what it could mean to reach one more customer who enters the store. How much could one customer purchase if provided with the proper customer service? Would an additional sales team member have helped to add on to the purchase with proper suggestive selling? Add a $50 chair mat to a chair purchase. Add an extra set of ink cartridges to a new printer purchase. Add a set of baby bottles to that baby formula purchase. You see what I mean.
How difficult is it to set up a retail traffic counting device? For stores with a Sensormatic anti-theft system it may be a very simple installation. Many of the Sensormatic towers can easily have an integrated people counting sensor installed seamlessly into the tower. Stores with older towers can contact Loss Prevention Systems, Inc. to learn how affordable it would be to upgrade their existing system and install the people counter at the same time.
Not knowing how many people are shopping in your store is folly. You may be missing opportunities for sales growth you never dreamed of. Let Loss Prevention Systems, Inc. help you set up a door counting sensor and glean the data that can take your store to the next level. Knowledge with a purpose makes a powerful combination.
Need information on retail traffic counting? Give us a call at 1.770.426.0547 now.
Perhaps the title of this article should be, “Don’t irritate ME with Poor Merchandise Protection – Use Sensormatic Safers Part 2”. I started Part 1 of this series discussing several aspects of retail which have recently irritated ME as a customer in some stores. I will say though that I am very certain that what I get perturbed about also perturbs other customers and some of them even more so. In my list of grievances I mentioned several that had to do with the merchandise protection strategies or lack of strategies that need to be improved upon. While most of the issues took place when I was shopping in big box retail stores I know they will not heed my pleas to address the concerns. On the other hand owners of the smaller, independent stores may be open to the wisdom of someone with over 28 years of retail experience and 17 of those in Retail Loss Prevention.
I am frustrated at store management dependence on locking showcases and locking peghooks in lieu of other retail anti-theft devices on the market that are much better alternatives. Lock-up display cases sound like a cure all for theft. Lock it behind a glass door and it can’t be stolen right? Put it on a locking peghook and customers can still look at the item but shoplifters are thwarted in trying to steal the product. Let’s say I agree with you (which I can tell you from personal experience is not necessarily the case, no pun intended) and these are effective at stopping criminals I know of another method of protection that surpasses these methods. Loss Prevention Systems, Inc. (LPSI), a company with over 30 years of experience in theft prevention and shortage improvement, suggests the Sensormatic Safers to their clients as a way to drive sales and prevent shoplifting. A product is placed in a Safer and locked inside of it. Since the protective device works with electronic article surveillance towers a customer or shoplifter who gets too close to Sensormatic pedestals at the front doors will trip the alarm. The merchandise is only removed at the point of sale by the cashier.
I prefer the use of these retail anti-theft devices over the traditional lock-up case or locking peghook and here is why. If I am a customer and I want to just look at something that is locked up I have to seek assistance. It may be through a call button or it could be I have to search for an employee who is able to assist me but regardless of the method I have to get help. I don’t even know that I am going to make a purchase I simply want to look at merchandise. I should also mention that if the employee I do find doesn’t have the keys to the case and has to get someone who does, I am either going to get more frustrated or I am going to walk out. From the store manager perspective I know you are on a tight payroll budget so you may not have anyone immediately assigned to open display cases. You are working hard to balance a schedule out to cover all of your hours and get tasks done. I am going to sidetrack just for a minute. LPSI can help you improve your scheduling effectiveness based on foot traffic and it will also improve your sales. Contact them about the benefits of a door counting sensor for your business. Back to what I was saying, the Safer allows customers to pick up and view items without the necessity of associates unlocking retail anti-theft devices. The customer can choose to carry the item through the store while shopping and the item is removed at the point of sale. The customer AND the store manager benefits from the use of Sensormatic Safers.
I will make one other observation about display cases and locking peghooks from my personal experiences. I have seen thieves break into display cases from the backside, cutting through pegboard. I have also seen them manipulate doors and I have seen them work in teams to confuse an employee and steal merchandise. I have observed merchandise removed from security peghooks when the hang tab was cut through. These are not perfect solutions in terms of retail anti-theft devices.
Sensormatic Safers give security and flexibility to retailers and freedom to the shopper. Sometimes we lose sight of the fact that merchandise protection does not have to be an impediment to driving sales. A Sensormatic security system allows retailers the ability to enjoy the best of both worlds and that makes customers happy and store owners happy.
Sensormatic Safers are important and we can help you with them. Call 1.770.426.0547 and let’s talk.