For retailers investigating the complexities of people counting solutions, what you don’t know can hurt you. Selecting the right vendor to provide the people counting solutions to meet your business-critical needs can be difficult if you don’t know where to begin. No matter how familiar you are with people counting technology and analytics, it’s imperative to select a vendor who is committed to your success by ensuring you have the most innovative, industry-leading solutions at your disposal to increase operational efficiencies and expand revenue opportunities.
Here are three tips to help retailers find the right people counting vendor to support their business needs.
Communicate Your Needs Clearly
Without a clear idea of shopper behaviour and conversion rates, retailers are forced to apply business strategies that don't take into account key facts about their customers. One of your goals in selecting a people counting vendor is to ensure they have access to the devices and software capabilities to equip you with this data. That’s why it is imperative you clearly communicate your goals.
Explain what your current counting system is – if you have one at all – and tell them exactly what you need, what you are hoping to accomplish and ask what solutions they have in place to meet those needs. For example, discuss your desire to increase conversion, better understand and track customer engagement, optimise staff scheduling, and more.
Ask How People Counting Can Benefit Your Specific Store(s)
Once you have clearly established your high-level needs, ask your prospective vendor what areas of improvement they see in your store. People counting analytics can provide an incredible amount of powerful business intelligence at your fingertips, empowering you to take your store’s success to new heights.
Vendors should be able to clearly explain the ways your store(s) can maximize this data to bring about a new level of sophistication that empowers you to break free from the constraints of legacy brick-and-mortar strategies.
Ask About Software
One of the most common issues I see when evaluating retailers’ needs is in the area of viewing software as an integral service tool working in tandem with people counters as part of a comprehensive solution.
Far too often, retailers consider people counting devices as the be all and end all when it comes to capturing in-store data, simply because they don’t know a robust software is available or even a significant factor of successful analytics solutions.
And while installing accurate people counters is certainly the foundation to improving operational efficiencies and decreasing costs, they are only one component in achieving a truly comprehensive approach to in-store analytics.
For retailers depending on in-store data to determine operational effectiveness, the need for proactive monitoring of a widely distributed estate of devices is just as critical of an asset. Simply put, you need to be utilising a robust software solution that provides a full arsenal of tools for your technical team.
When interviewing potential vendors, ask the following questions:
Do you utilize Cloud-based or in-house servers?
Cloud-based servers will allow you to optimise IT performance without the huge costs associated with purchasing, wiring and managing a fully dedicated server infrastructure. Cloud-based servers can be configured to provide the same levels of performance, security and control as those found in in-house servers, but they can also be scaled seamlessly unlike dedicated, hard-wired servers.
With the cloud, you benefit from having the server managed and maintained by your hosting provider. Additionally, your people counting data is captured and can be pulled on-demand without worry of server crashes. This allows you to maintain confidence in your devices to capture and relay mission-critical information to make decisions that drive revenue, increase conversion and decrease labour costs.
What are your back-up protocols and redundancy procedures to ensure I don’t lose data?
This is a follow-up question to the above that should be asked. When retailers make an investment into retail analytics, it should not be a guessing game or be associated with doubt or worry. Data should be captured and delivered on-demand without fear of server crashes or wondering if the data is accurate.
Ask what kind of back-up protocols the vendor has in place, and what their redundancy procedures are to ensure your stores are always receiving the data you need to effectively operate and manage in-store strategies without interruption or delay. Depending on the time of day, season and severity of the crash, just one server failure has the potential to cost retailers major revenue and customer engagement opportunities, resulting in negative reputation and loss of brand loyalty.
Is your software suite able to provide a view of all people counters in the field from one location? And is it able to diagnose and correct issues remotely?
Single-point login capability will enable your technicians to have a clear image of captured data, equipping them to answer questions like, “are the detectors communicating properly?”, “are they up and running?”, and “how well are they working?”
For optimal success opportunity, retailers need this real-time visibility into the status of an entire estate – as well as individual devices – to drive dynamic problem-solving and expedite issue resolution. When evaluating vendors, make sure your technicians can simply login, diagnose, and resolve most issues from virtually anywhere in the world with Internet access.
About Nick Stogdale
Nick Stogdale joined Irisys in 1998 and specialises in strategic planning, technical support and project management. When he’s not developing People Counting devices, Nick’s passions include: cycling and getting outdoors, cooking (and eating), reading, watching films and going to the theatre.
Nick will be attending the National Retail Federation’s BIG Show in New York City with Irisys from Jan. 14-16. To schedule a time to meet with him and learn more about how Irisys’ solutions can help you optimise your retail operations, email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Meet Nick at NRF.”
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