8 strategies to make the most of Christmas footfall for retailers

3 min read
Nov 15, 2012

Christmas offers the opportunity for seasonal sales spikes for retailers. Today, more stores than ever are turning to footfall analytics and conversion monitoring to help manage sales targets, drive greater insight into sales performance and improve staff scheduling.

Year-on-year growth of in-store retail technology is now helping retailers micro-manage staff, sales conversion and the impact of advertising campaigns and promotions with hour-by-hour and real-time data from accurate people counting.

The market leader in infrared detection, Irisys says people counting can be the missing data that could prove the important edge for retailers at Christmas this year.

8 Christmas strategies for success are underlying the rise in the use of these technologies

1. Set targets for sales conversion
With accurate people counting each store and store assistant can measure how many of the people entering a store make purchases – your conversion rate. Monitoring and incentivising improvements in conversion can add sales to the bottom line by optimising staffing levels as footfall increases and provides patterns which cover even seasonal peaks.

2. Measure inter-store performance
Retailers can then use conversion rates at different store locations to highlight performance variations in management and sales staff. In addition the data can be used to understand local differences in buyer behaviours and location performance at different times of day.

3. In-store retail design insight
Measuring conversion can also act as an indicator as to the availability, appeal and placement of stock. By accurately measuring customer flows, in-store designs can track sales performance of promotional placements, checkout positions and merchandising decisions.

4. Track poor conversion
Poor conversion trends are often an indication of a large number of customers showing enough interest to enter your store but who fail to make a purchase. By spotting dips and peaks in your stores conversion rate managers can tackle the underlying issues and ensure they maximise the sales potential of their store and staff in the Christmas rush.

5. Bring some Christmas cheer
Conversion can also be an indication of shoppers’ satisfaction and happiness levels in customer service. Measure how many people enter the store but leave without making a purchase could be an indicator of long queues at checkouts or not enough staff on the sales floor offering help and advice to customers.

Remember, many of your Christmas customers are not your end user and it could be their first visit to your store. Great customer service can deliver long term new customers.

6. Staff scheduling and in-the-moment-management
Staff scheduling is crucial. Using historical people counting data, managers can more accurately plan rotas using factual data rather than relying on gut feel or experience. By accurately being able to analyse and predict peaks and troughs in customer demand managers can often schedule staff both more effectively and more efficiently.

Using real time data for in-the-moment-management, managers can redeploy staff within a store to the busiest floor or area where customer intensity is highest. Both of these approaches will help in getting the right number of staff to the right place at the right time to deliver customer service excellence, increase customer satisfaction and ultimately sales, but with little or no additional cost.

7. Measuring advertising effectiveness – count the other half of your Christmas ad performance
Analysing footfall data can provide retailers with a first-hand insight into the effectiveness of advertising and promotional campaigns.

Map your offline and online marketing activities to the rise of footfall in your stores. You should be able to map increased store visitor numbers as easily as you track an increase in visitors to your website.

With web, TV and radio air time at a premium in the run up to Christmas and competitors all fighting for consumer attention, you can see how effective your campaigns have been by looking at the change or otherwise in store visitor numbers. Consider this data as part of a feedback loop when making decisions on media strategies.

8. Learn from Christmas Past
The countdown to Christmas is a pivotal time to measure, analyse and act on people counting data.

But it’s something that can be used all-year-round and can give you useful insights for next Christmas. Historical data can map improvements year-on-year but can also provide useful planning tools for next year’s activities

Irisys is the world’s leader in infrared people counting detectors and technologies with installations on every continent in the world. Many of the world’s top retailers analyse and measure footfall conversion using detectors designed and manufactured by Irisys. Products are sold worldwide through a network of partners. A list of certified partners is on the Irisys website.

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