It has been 15 years since Irisys introduced the world’s first high accuracy ceiling mounted people counter and since then the use of people counting to provide essential retail performance metrics has grown in popularity. People counting enables a critical retail metric – conversion rate – to be easily calculated for a retail store. Conversion rate – the ratio of revenue against people count measures how effectively a retail premises turns customers into money and can hence be used to optimise store performance, measure the impact of advertising campaigns, understand seasonal variations in performance and compare performance store to store to promote best practice.
Over the years new features have been introduced into people counters – the ability to count based on customer height (a simple method for eliminating children from the count) and the ability to count families (a family of 5 should not be considered the same as 5 individuals) are just two examples. Irisys is at the forefront of such technological innovations, the latest Vector 4D product provides enhanced group counting and the ability to resolve height with world leading accuracy. However, both of these enhancements must be used with care – the use of height alone to discriminate children is open to significant error as any parents of 8-12 year olds will clearly understand. Similarly, whilst it is simple for a human observer to understand that a group of people looks like a family the same cannot be said for a people counter – rules are applied and unfortunately mistakes can be made.
There is a trend for users to only look at group counts or child free counts when comparing store performance and in doing this important information, insight and accuracy in the resulting conversion rate figures is lost. Here at Irisys we have always considered providing an accurate count of all of the people entering or leaving a store as the core metric – it is the baseline truth against which all other analytics can be interpreted. Use of height or grouping information should only be used as additional context to help understand differences in store performance and diagnose the root cause.
For example two stores may display different conversion rates based on the baseline truth people count – in understanding the reason for this difference it would then be useful to see if there were significant differences in the number of children or the number of groups entering the stores or whether the store was simply less efficient.
For this reason Irisys provides a flexible counting system allowing counts of every individual, counts of groups or counts according to height range or any combination of these. Similarly Irisys Vector counters accumulate statistics of height allowing the retailer to understand how the distribution of height in a store varies over time for example, are there more children at weekends? Does this change how a store should operate at these times?
The use of these enhanced metrics undoubtedly can provide useful insight – but don’t throw information away – start with ground truth and then use the extra information to help you understand what is going on.
Topics: People Counting Technology
Twenty years ago U.S. consumers flocked to malls for most of their shopping needs. Department stores anchored these behemoths of retail industry in a time when mobile phones were only used to make phone calls, and the Internet was primarily a resource for academic research.
Today, access to online retailers via smart phone apps and mobile Internet browsers is part of an ever-strengthening digital shopping experience that is leading fewer people to the once dominant 800,000-square-foot shopping malls. According to Wall Street Journal, (note: article is behind a pay wall) as digital shopping continues to innovate, the future of large-scale shopping malls may be in jeopardy.
In fact, the last mall to be built in America opened three years ago, and although it has seen some success, experts speculate it could be the last of its kind. The 862,000-square-foot Mall at University Town Center in Sarasota, Fla., was constructed by Taubman Centers Inc. after years of planning and regional population data consideration.
For now, the upscale mall is doing well, thanks to brands such as Apple and Tesla Motors, which are reliable traffic generators, according to the report. However, it is likely to be the last of its kind, at least for a while.
“We have every expectation that not many malls are going to be built, but we didn’t expect this to be the last,” said Bill Taubman, chief operating officer of Taubman Centers, in the article.
This news may come as a surprise to some retailers, where, for years, supersized crowds loyally filled their stores and aisles and clogged their checkout queues. For these retailers that aren’t using intelligent in-store technology, an even bigger surprise may be on its way. They may have observed a slip in traffic and in sales – but they may not fully know to what degree their traffic has fallen. Worse yet, many of them could have prevented their exodus of customers.
But while some retailers and malls may not have a full grasp on their footfall and conversion, many are refusing to dig their grave and are instead fighting back by investing in in-store technology designed to provide them better insight and increase sales.
The near real-time data collected from retail solutions like Irisys’ People Counting technology gives brick-and-mortar stores the intelligence necessary for sustaining longevity in the digital shopping era.
As competition continues to tighten for virtually every category of retailer, footfall data will grow as a crucial element to helping superstores understand their traffic trends – and prepare them to take action when smaller crowds begin to emerge.
The Gazelle 2 has become the preferred choice for many Irsys partners and end-users the world over, so what are the top reasons people are giving for choosing the Gazelle 2?
Giving a much wider field of view, the new 90° lens gives the Gazelle 2 greater options for installation, and ultimately means that a given area can be covered with fewer units - offering a significant cost saving.
With optional Bluetooth technology on-site teams can connect to the Gazelle 2 much more easily, giving big savings of time and costs. The new 90° lens also means that there are more options for where you can install the sensor - on lower ceilings, on further from the door, all things that make it easier and faster to install.
Irisys devices have unmatched reliability, meaning fewer problems for partners to solve and longer uninterrupted data for the end-user. Combined with the low power consumption and remote configuration/validation capability, the Gazelle 2 has a very low cost of ownership.
By linking together several units, data can be collected across a wide area as if by a single unit, give a more accurate count than multiple units counting independently. Entrances up to 50m wide can be covered using this feature.
With Irisys' proprietary technology the Gazelle 2 uses a robust thermal-based people detection and counting system that works independently of ambient light conditions - so it will work even in total darkness.
Find product details on our free Partner Portal
Topics: Gazelle 2
Recent warm weather and a later than normal Easter brought shoppers out onto the high streets in April, creating a surprise surge in retail spending, according to a recent report from the Office for National Statistics.
Sales for UK retailers improved with a 2.3 percent increase from March, more than doubling the projected 1 percent.
This sudden increase in retail spending has stunned some industry experts who predicted UK retail sales to slow even more with prices increasing and consumers becoming more budget consciousness. However, these interesting spending patterns are further validating previous reports that British shoppers are heading back to brick-and-mortar locations sooner and more frequently than expected since the UK’s vote to leave the EU last year.
Interestingly, the UK is relying more and more on shoppers to drive financial growth since last year’s vote, while other sectors such as construction have slowed, said the report. The result has strengthened the pound to its highest level since September 2016.
And while British consumers flocking back to the high streets has surprised some, it is better served as a reminder to retailers that the in-store experience not only matters, but is a key driver in sales conversion performance and brand loyalty.
British retailers must see this opportunity to create new and exciting shopping experiences as customers continue stepping away from online shopping and head back into their brick-and-mortar locations.
With summer fast approaching and holiday planning soon to follow, now is the perfect time for brick-and-mortars to commit to enhancing the shopping experience and improving operational efficiency through technological innovation like people counting and queue management solutions.
Retail technologies, like Irisys People Counting and Irisys Queue Management, play crucial roles in helping retailers improve in-store service-delivery strategies. Irisys People Counters provide critical performance metrics – and validate (or dispute) assumptions that stores are gaining traffic and improving conversion rates. And Irisys Queue Management puts retail metrics into action. The predictive checkout solution reduces customers’ queue times and optimises staffing levels at the front end and throughout the store.
Take a look at 4 Ways Retailers Can Save Money Using Analytics.
The Vector 4D uses innovative Time-of-Flight technology, allowing a range of new characteristics and behaviours to be measured, opening the door to a huge range of new possibilities. While many systems on the market today claim to gather height data, due to the passive nature of video systems the best that can be achieved is often only an estimate. With the Vector 4D however, the height of all people passing through the field of view is measured directly, with high accuracy.
Using this measurement a height histogram of all people counted can be collected, giving a rich resource for estimating the distribution of adults vs children, for example. Limits can also be intelligently applied to counts to include or omit people above or below a given height, allowing children to be included or excluded from the count.
The heights of people may also be continually monitored allowing changes in behaviour to be detected; are they sitting or standing, for example? This will enable some new insights into the way that people use a space. Only the Vector 4D has the capacity to record this type of data with such accuracy and combine it with other built-in capabilities to give end-users a data resource with so many options.
The capabilities of the time of flight sensor also extend to the more practical side of operating the device, as it can understand its environment in great detail. It is able to automatically calculate its mounting height, and therefore the area of the field of view, making installation and calibration easier.
High accuracy by design, coupled with an innovative feature set mean that the Vector 4D will be unparalleled in terms of capability and practicality.
After a busy two days at RBTE 2017 the whole Irisys team is back at the office – but what a great show we had! As always it was great to hear directly from some of the UK’s largest retailers to talk about the challenges they face in shopper conversion and queue management.
We were especially pleased to showcase our new product, the Vector 4D which was nominated for the RBTE innovation award, recognising the transformative potential of this new sensor.
Vector 4D is Irisys’ innovative time of flight sensor combining highly accurate people counting, direct height and dwell measurement in one aesthetic IoT sensor.
Visit www.iriys.net for more information.
The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) gathers customer satisfaction data for six retail industries – department and discount stores, gas stations, drug stores, specialty retail stores, supermarkets and on-line retail.
According to the ACSI’s recently released 2016 Retail Report, customers continue to give their lowest satisfaction ratings to the “speed of the checkout process” in the department and discount, specialty retail and supermarket sectors. Conversely, customers are the most satisfied with this aspect of their shopping experience in the internet retail sector – giving “ease of checkout and payment process” their highest satisfaction marks.
Customer satisfaction scores in all sectors were up this year, reversing a two-year downward trend. While this is good news for all retailers, the discrepancy in checkout satisfaction indicates that brick-and-mortar retailers still have a long way to go to close the “checkout experience” satisfaction gap with online retailers.
The checkout process is particularly interesting to us at Irisys as our queue management system is designed to optimize labor on the front end and provide a fast, efficient checkout process. For more information about the Irisys Queue Intelligence™ system, please contact email@example.com.
For the past few years when it came to customer analytics the online world always reigned supreme. Until relatively recently the offline retailer was left only with their gut instinct and experience with only the most crude hard data to back it.
However, times have changed and an increasing amount of data is now available to bricks and mortar retailers. For decades, retailers have done without high level analytics, so why is it essential now?
If you’ve found yourself asking this question, it may be this holding you back. Alternatively, you may be tracking key metrics but be unsure how to utilise that data. However, based on insights taken from the online retail world, we understand that the more data, the better for your business.
Additionally, it could be said that the retailer of today is more complex than ever, with so many more options than were available in the past. Technology is becoming integrated into our daily lives, whether with our consent or not, which has allowed forward thinking retailers to take advantage of new data tracking technology.
Typically, shopping can either be a necessity, or recreational hobby, and the way these shoppers behave differs dramatically. However, despite this, both types of shopper want the same fundamental level of customer service, which data can enhance significantly.
With the rise of the smartphone, development of smart tech, and surge in demand regarding the “Internet of Things” and the dawn of virtual reality, shoppers are expecting their experience to change and these are all tools that retailers can take advantage of.
With all these new tools available, it would become incredibly easy to become bogged down in data, so what could you do to utilise this data?
It may go without saying, but one of the often overlooked elements of customer experience is the level of service. The key to this is having the right number of staff available to provide the necessary level of service. Before updates in retail analytics stores used rotas as a way to manage staff, however, the system whilst somewhat effective, is archaic in the face of an information led strategy.
By using data to monitor the number of customers, patterns and being able to see bare facts regarding key metrics, you can bring your staff requirements to the 21st century. Customer analytics software allows the easy compilation of trend data, allowing you to monitor levels of store activity by day, hour and even minute, allowing you to tailor staffing around this data.
As well as managing staff levels, you’re also able to use data to increase staff performance and morale. In retailing, success is often driven by standing out from their peers in order to receive promotions, awards, financial benefits and praise. However, without adequate tracking data such benefits cannot be assessed objectively and can be rife with favouritism and bias.
However, when business replaces gut instinct with hard data, conflict is minimised, if not eliminated.
Making use of offline data analytics is your insight into your customers’ minds. Their behaviour is a retailers insight into what customers want, and what they don’t want. By utilising smart phones connecting to Wi-Fi systems it is possible for stores to understand where the customer goes in the store and just as importantly where they don’t.
Whilst this data is not personalised, it is relatively unintrusive and can show useful shopping patterns. For instance, if 75% customers go down the first two aisles but only 50% go down to the third then it may be better to locate new promotions in the first two aisles. With advanced data, stores can determine the prime locations for different items.
To summarise, offline retailers want to see a range of data, which can have positive impacts on their stores. Everything right from the number of customers entering and not purchasing to the busiest days, all helps you make the most of your stores.
The Vector 4D is the most advanced People Counter and Behavioural Detector in the world today, combining innovative new technologies with 20 years’ worth of expertise from the most experienced and trusted people counter manufacturer in the world.
Incorporating a Time-of-Flight people detection system with Irisys’ software algorithms, the sensor can produce a range of data, including:
The Vector 4D protects the privacy of those it counts, as the Time-of-Flight technology does not produce any identifiable images.
Highly reliable by design, Irisys have engineered the Vector 4D from the beginning using our detailed understanding of the physics that underpin the technology and the thermal properties of the components, we have built a world-leading sensor for the next-generation of stores.
The Vector 4D will make much more detailed behavioural analysis possible, and promises to be more accurate, easier to install, and deliver more benefits to end-users than any other people counter on the market.
Currently in the final stages of field testing and development, Irisys engineers have been working for this project for over a year. We can’t wait until the first production units are available to our worldwide network of distributors in Q3 of 2017!