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How to choose a Footfall Counter

Ipsos Retail Performance

As the importance of monitoring traffic volumes and trends relating to your store grows, you are keen to see the insights that people counting can provide. Benefits range from improved conversion rates and marketing effectiveness to efficient staff deployment. But before you make the investment, how do you decide on a system? We’ve looked at a few key questions to consider when looking at people counting:

What are the different types of Footfall Counters?

Thermal, stereoscopic cameras and infrared beam cameras are the proven methods for accurate people counting. Single lenses, such as mono vision ceiling mounted or CCTV style cameras have fluctuating accuracy levels and cannot provide reliable counts.

More recently, Wi-Fi technology entered the people counting market. It’s true that the strength lies in providing footfall patterns and trends when calibrated with footfall counts provided by proven methods.

Make sure you choose a system that fits your retail environment and requirement! Select a provider with the means and the versatility to be able to respond flexibly to your needs, whether that is a thermal or stereoscopic cameras. Find out more about the various people counting systems available.

How accurate does my footfall data need to be to use it as a KPI?

The data should be at least 95% accurate. Most types of technology will deteriorate over time but there are ways to avoid this. For example, additional stages of manual data validation and regular data quality audits will ensure data accuracy is high throughout the lifetime of the system.

Do I need to get involved in the footfall data collection process?

Realistically, if the counting solution you are looking at requires individual collection and analysis, rather than being automated and managed, then it may not be the most efficient and effective method for you.

What should I expect from footfall data reporting?

Daily data on footfall, conversation rates and average transaction value, should be easily accessible on a safe and secure reporting site. Many clients prefer to view their data in the morning so they can make operational adjustments based on the previous day’s data. Reporting platforms should show you sufficient data to make comparisons and trends, for example between stores and time periods.

I have my installation and data, what now?

There is an element of training involved in any successful installation of a system. To gain complete buy in from all team members at head office and store level, training is the key resource to empower employees to use the data to its full potential. This training should explain how the system works, as well as providing context in terms of the functions that some individuals won’t necessarily see.

The training and support will be ongoing – choose a technology provider that understands this and offers a service that includes an individually managed relationship with someone who can carry out bespoke analysis and help you to leverage the data you have.

How do I know that only true customer traffic is reported?

A number of factors can disrupt data, some as simple as out of hour’s cleaners, engineers, or marketing events. The best systems will be able to identify potential issues by monitoring overnight. It’s important your provider can offer manual checking to overcome any problems and ensure the reporting of accurate data. Network issues can sometimes result in gaps of data during trading hours, a good provider will have processes in place to minimise any impact on accuracy. Data is normally estimated as a short term fix until the issue is resolved and replaced with real data.

What if I want to know more beyond footfall and conversion rate?

There is a range of different solutions available, which go beyond just footfall and conversion rates. For example, everything from customer experience, shopper behaviours, product placement, and zone popularity can all be data sourced. Additionally, a further analysis on footfall provides insight on other areas, for example workforce productivity and estate performance.

What type of relationship should I have with my footfall provider?

Your relationship with a footfall provider is one of the most important factors to consider. A dedicated point of contact will be vital in adding value to your business; ensuring performance is driven in line with business objectives.

Key account managers and project managers should oversee consistent implementation, maintenance, and ongoing communication – from the point of view of your staff, your stores and your processes.


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