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.
For stores with no customers in it people counting systems would appear to be a waste of money. Why bother counting what isn’t walking in your store. Maybe you should be asking why aren’t people walking in your store. If patron counts are so low that you don’t need a device to keep track of them you need to find out what is keeping them out. There may be factors you haven’t even considered that are influencing customers and deterring them from coming in. They may even be telling you and you are not listening to them properly.
For example, I work for a store that has a decent amount of foot traffic. The store even uses a customer counting device to measure customer conversion rates. The one question I often hear from shoppers walking in at night is, “Is the store open?” That is a question but it is also a clue, the store looks closed from the outside of the building. Why does it look closed? Because the front windows are heavily tinted to cut down on the sunlight glaring into the building. The sun shines directly in and can be overpowering and in the summer it heats the building. The tint cuts down some of that impact. The down side of it is that the store appears dark if one is looking at it from the outside. If you are a customer you might not bother trying to come in and visit. It leads me to wonder how many potential shoppers do we lose simply because of this one little issue. The solution in my opinion would be to have a bright neon light on the window that says, OPEN.
Supposing company management listened to my suggestion and placed that OPEN sign so it could be viewed by customers, how would you know if it was working as you intended? That is where people counting systems are useful. Install it on your Sensormatic electronic article surveillance towers and track your foot traffic for several weeks. Afterwards put out your sign and monitor your counts at that point you will see if your solution works. If the results don’t bear out your suspicions then you use the customer counting device for other measurements. It doesn’t lose its usefulness to your store.
Another purpose for the people counting systems installed in stores is the data they can provide to make it easier to see when the peak hours for a store are. I can hear the chuckles now. “Foolish writer, I can look at my sales slips and final register read and see when my peak hours are, I don’t need to spend money on a customer counting device.” That, my friend, is not totally accurate. Yes, you can see when peak purchase hours are taking place BUT you cannot tell if that was when your peak customer foot traffic took place. How many people walked into your store and left without ever making a purchase? What are those customers telling you? “But wait Mr. Article Writer, they can’t tell me anything because they did not talk to my cashiers or make a purchase!” AHA! I have you again, they did tell you something. Those customers told you that something (or a lack of something) kept them from making a purchase in your establishment. It is up to you to figure out what it was that made them choose to leave empty-handed. Did anyone greet them when they walked in? Was assistance offered if they were looking for something specific? Did they have to wait for a salesfloor associate to open a showcase or fitting room and no one came to help? Is it possible your customers were in line at a cash register and got fed up with waiting to check out so they left? Was the appearance of the store attractive or did it look cluttered? ALL of these are thinks that can influence the decisions customers make while they are in your store. Your sales receipts won’t show this but a customer counting device can aid in seeing what isn’t happening…increased sales.
“Okay Mr. Smarty-Pants, suppose I install one of these counters, then what do I do with the information, all I know is people are leaving without buying.” Boy, you really should not be calling me all of these names! However, I am not going to take offense I am going to offer some suggestions to help you but you are going to have to read those helpful tips in Part 2. But, please when you do come don’t call me so many names I’m really sensitive you know.
People counting systems are important and we can help you with them. Call 1.770.426.0547 and let’s talk.
Have you ever wanted effective customer counting systems in your retail? How about incorporating retail traffic counting into a Sensormatic security system? We can do it. In fact, given the low cost it is simply not smart to leave it out of a Sensormatic system.
But, what will it do for you? We have a long time customer with eight stores that incorporated retail traffic counting into the systems we installed. Besides the obvious like counting traffic by time of day, day of the week, etc., a number of other surprise benefits arose. Our customer told me that in the first year the people counting portion of the system saved them in excess of $100K!
They found that there were stores that were opening too early/late and some that were closing to early/late. They combined our people counting systems data with their sales data and these revelations jumped out at them. They made adjustments to the hours in individual stores and their sales climbed significantly.
They also found that they were better able to adjust staffing needs to accommodate customer traffic. It makes sense. Why have staff on the floor when the customer traffic is low? On the other hand if you know there is a spike every Wednesday between 2:00 PM and 3:45 PM, you would want to make sure you have enough folks on the floor to accommodate.
But you may be saying to yourself now “I have my sales data to tell me that”. Sales data is only a piece of the puzzle. Sales data tells you how many customers made a purchase. It does not tell you how many lost opportunities there were because customers could not get assistance, make a decision or find something. On top of that, we know that properly trained staff will have add-on sales. “I think this scarf would look lovely with the blouse you picked out”. So we have more opportunities to increase the sales with the customers we have already attracted to the store. That is the benefit of having the right people on the sales floor at the right time.
All of this leads us to the big elephant in the room, payroll! We know that our largest expense tends to be labor. A retail traffic counting system will help you to reduce or use your payroll dollars much more efficiently as I have demonstrated above.
Sensormatic systems have retail traffic counting built in on many models. You will receive automated reports and can access the system dashboard at any time. Most Sensormatic systems have a built in network card to attach to your high speed router. The software monitoring is called SMaaS which stands for Shrink Management as a Service. This cloud based loss prevention service is designed to help enhance your stores productivity, increase reliability and boost system performance.
Additional features of SMaaS include the ability for you to have the systems power themselves up/down to a lower rate of energy consumption. Over a year’s period of time that will add up. You can also access real time data involving Sensormatic systems alarms, maintenance issues and much more. Here is the full list of features:
• Will help ensure reliability and optimal Sensormatic system performance with 24/7/365 remote monitoring and management of connected EAS equipment health statuses. This monitoring is provided by Sensormatic.
• Correct equipment issues in a proactive way with notification of service required to rectify problems
• Gather insights to help make effective data-driven decisions that will impact your shrink and bottom line results
• You are emailed notifications when your systems activity exceed a predetermined threshold so you know when an exception has occurred
• Minimize your Sensormatic systems downtime to help you spend less time managing
• Highly scalable and customizable cloud infrastructure and EAS event reporting
Contact Loss Prevention Systems today or call 1-770-426-0547 to learn more about Sensormatic Security Systems, retail traffic counting, people counting systems and customer counting systems.
I was looking at technology on the Sensormatic.com website for information on people counting systems because I like to see what is new as well as how different technology can be tied together. It is my opinion that frequently retailers do not use the systems they install to the fullest potential. For example, I understand the advantages a door counting sensor can provide to help boost sales. Sometimes this is called measuring the conversion rate for the retailer. This measurement is useful to know how many people have walked through the doors and how many transactions were completed. A big difference in those numbers indicate something in the store is not right, whether it is poor customer service or a lack of products that shoppers came in to purchase. In this sense I see how retail traffic counting can be related to Loss Prevention. I have been in retail a LONG time so I recognize that shoplifting does impact merchandise in-stocks and product availability. What I am looking for when I am researching information on different websites is how various technologies complement each other so store owners and managers can leverage more out of their Loss Prevention systems.
It was during the course of my searching that I found something that could be quite useful from Sensormatic if paired together. This company offers a Sensormatic Synergy Camera that I believe could be coupled with their people counting device to make a giant leap for retailers, especially small and medium sized stores. The company information on this camera is that it “provides clear, high-definition video recordings or snapshots of loss events at the storefront”. The camera is mounted to a Sensormatic electronic article surveillance pedestal and captures video when alarms are detected which includes systems that can detect booster foil-lined bags. It will also capture video when a Sensormatic tag or label sets off the alarm. Now, I want you to picture this in conjunction with the pedestals that are fitted with people counting systems. You track how many customers are entering your store AND you are capturing video when alarm activations take place. You can get high-definition video and pictures of potential shoplifters who are visiting your business. If you have high foot traffic counts compared to sales as I mentioned earlier and you start to view images from your camera when alarms are set off you can begin to identify who the regular shoplifters are visiting your store. Along with the losses they are causing you through their theft activity they may be the ones causing empty spaces on your shelves. This could be why sales are low compared to your retail traffic counting numbers.
Another advantage for store management if they combine the people counting systems with the Synergy Camera is that they can view how their teams are responding to electronic article surveillance alarms. It is one thing to know how many alarms are sounding and who the people are who are causing activations but the response to those alarms is just as important if not more so. If alarms are activated and employees are simply waving people out the door without conducting proper package and receipt checks thieves are going to take advantage of this and steal even more. From my personal experiences as a Loss Prevention Manager I have seen employees who do not address alarms properly. Some of those are theft related and those people return to your store over and over until something is done to address how responses are handled. Again, I believe combining the videos with numbers from your retail traffic counting data can aid in improving sales by identifying issues taking place in the store.
Like so many other processes in a retail environment, one process has a direct impact on other areas of the business. If data itself is gathered and you are only counting patrons with people counting systems and you are not tying that information into other areas it becomes useless. Tie it into a Sensormatic Synergy Camera and you can begin to improve shortage numbers through suspect identification AND alarm response training. Do that and you begin to improve on hand quantities and improve sales and that should be your ultimate goal.
Retail Traffic Counting is important and we can help you with it. Call 1.770.426.0547 and let’s talk.