Our senior engineer Mike Lyons sat down to chat about accuracy, installation and data value in the main types of people counting technology in The Retail Analytics Landscape: Choosing the best tech for counting your customers. Here are some of the highlights, and be sure to catch the full webinar below.
1. You need accurate customer counts in order to deliver a consistent, meaningful experience.
The purpose of retail is to create meaningful experiences that keep customers happy and coming back. The challenge of retail is measuring, replicating and optimizing the variables that make those experiences happen.
Most retailers (97 percent, in fact) have not completed a successful company-wide digital transformation project, moving “from a buy low/sell high model that is product-centric, to an insight-driven model that is customer-centric.”
If you’re in that 97 percent, we guess you’re either in one of these two camps:
- Those meaningful experiences in your stores are disappearing, uncaptured, instead of being tracked well, or
- Those meaningful experiences are being measured incompletely or inaccurately, and you know you need better data.
Better data is necessary in order to accomplish your goals.
2. How you measure foot traffic matters
Given all your options, and what accuracy each provider can offer you, the way you measure customer traffic matters. Keep your goal in mind. Do you want to track marketing success? Save on staffing? Increase conversion rates? The right solution for you is the one that gets you closest to your goal.
Also keep this in mind when asking solution providers about accuracy. Not just asking, “What percent is your accuracy,” which paints too small a picture. How often is your accuracy that amount? In which environments do they perform well or poorly? The goal is consistently accurate counts across different environments, which delivers the highest accuracy over time.
3. The options don’t have to be overwhelming.
A simple Google search for “people counting solutions” turns up a variety of technology types, all promising total accuracy and immediate results. How to begin discerning the right choice for you? Keep your goal in mind.
Stay focused on your goals, because there are quite a few solutions to pick from!
- Break-beams provide a cost-efficient way to get counts, but tend to overcount and have calibration issues.
- Wifi analytics and Bluetooth beacons capture unique interactions with your network or devices in range of your beacon. They’re prone to undercount, because it only counts visitors with a device who log into Wifi or are in the beacon’s range.
- Cameras record a video feed that is sent to the cloud, where counts are then tagged via human labor, machine learning or a combination. Accuracy is high when calibrated properly.
- Thermal sensors detect human heat signatures that are processed by machine learning. It counts anyone that emits this wavelength. Weather conditions can affect accuracy, but machine learning algorithms learn from them.
- Manual counting isn’t a new technology, but retailers rely on hand counts far too often to leave it off the list. Accuracy depends who counts and what they think is worth counting, how busy you are, how often counts get reported in. Remember, when you ask staff to count customers for you, you’re asking them to prioritize data collection over the customer experience…and revenue.
Catch the full webinar below for clarity during your people counting solution buying process.