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How to Choose the Right People Counter

Retail

Being able to measure the number of people crossing the threshold of a store has become one of the most important ways to improve customer experience and to monitor the effect of in-store changes. The information that the right people counter can offer provides priceless insight into performance, patterns and trends that are key for ensuring a focused retail strategy. However, every store is different, from the physical layout, to the amount of footfall, or traffic, that it sees in a day, and so a one size fits all solution will not work across the board.

People Counters – What are the benefits?

People or traffic counting gives you insights that can be used to analyze the effects of marketing initiatives you have undertaken – the data can be used to judge the impact of a campaign, how it performed, whether it was a success and whether it’s worth repeating. You will be able to get an overall picture of in store activity, maximize your store’s sales potential and minimize customer peel off rates.

Additionally, there are the organizational benefits to people counting. These include being able to tailor staff schedules to busy periods, improving the layout of the shop floor to enhance customer flow and generally optimize your store’s performance against both competitors and its own past performance.

Over the past decade or so there have been some impressive technological advancements, which means there are more ways than ever to understand the traffic in your store. As a result, it doesn’t matter what kind of store you have, there will be a solution that fits your needs. Firstly, you need to understand what your requirements are, and then you can find the suitable technology which will deliver accurate results. While most types of people counters have an impressively low margin for error – they do have differences. The main types of counters available are; thermal counters, stereo camera monitoring, Wi-Fi counting and infrared counters.

Thermal cameras

This type of people counter is a fantastic option where you have a store with high volume traffic or a location with a complex entrance or open front. As you might expect, the monitoring that this people counter offers is related to body temperature. In order to count accurately the thermal imaging cameras pick up the customer’s body temperature and this is compared to the ambient temperature of the store’s surroundings. As a result objects such as buggies, won’t be picked up in the data and there is no variation in the ability of the counting even at dusk or at night.

Ideal for: complex entrance ways or open store fronts.

Stereo camera monitoring

Stereo vision and path tracking technology is able to record a broad selection of data, including essential people counting, as well as other behavioral metrics related to service, queuing and traffic. This type of people counter is incredibly accurate when it comes to retail traffic volumes as the cameras record real time exit and entry counts of customers entering and leaving a store. They are adaptable to suit a wide range of doorways, have the capability to ignore certain zones, to exclude staff movements and to discount children and pushchairs.

Ideal for: gathering broad ranging data including service, queuing and traffic.

Wi-Fi Analytics

The newest technology on the scene uses customer mobile devices to count visitors into the store anonymously. Its strength lies in providing additional intelligence when working in conjunction with traditional counting cameras. Offering additional insights such as dwell time, outside passing traffic and repeat visits.

Ideal for: building trends and patterns when used in partnership with traditional counting methods.

Active infrared cameras

This type of people counter was developed from military missile guidance technology. Essentially, the counter is either installed across an entrance way or down from a ceiling.

For installations across a door threshold, usually a single infrared beam is set up between two points, we call this ‘Look Across’. When a customer walks through the beam it is broken and a count recorded. This though has limitations in wider entrance formats where customers can be hidden behind one another. Therefore, for wider entrances a line of infrared beams creates a ‘curtain’ effect across the doorway so customers cannot be hidden, we call this approach ‘Look down’. Both approaches do not benefit from the ability the IP enabled devices have for remote maintenance access via a camera and while the product costs can be lower ongoing costs can be more expensive with unnecessary site visits to fix simple issues.

Ideal for: Look Across, limited door width and lower volumes of traffic; Look Down, wider entrances and higher traffic volumes

You might also be interested in our latest blog ‘7 types of people counter systems you should be aware of

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