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Objective People Counting Produces Accurate Conversion Rates

Posted by Chris Giallanza on Sep 5, 2012 9:53:00 PM

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To compete with online shopping, managers need accurate data to deploy store-wide improvement – and it all starts at the front door.

Conversion is one of the most important retail metrics. Knowing how many shoppers left the store without buying anything paints a clear picture of improvement opportunities. But how can retailers calculate conversion if they don’t know how many people entered the stores?

People counting systems have helped solve this problem for years.

But some people counting technologies can be subjective – sensors are engineered to intentionally exclude certain people based on specific criteria – such as height and even behavior – to limit counts to “economically active” shoppers. Sensors may also identify groups as single shoppers.

Increased subjectivity produces skewed conversion rates and false truths about a store’s performance that could lead to costly mistakes in staff scheduling, resource allocation and promotional timing.

Height is one of the main factors considered in people counting subjectivity, but a standard minimum height –mostly to prevent counting children – has proven difficult to establish. How short is too short to buy? The decision to exclude based on height will inevitably overlook some economically active shoppers, and even excluding one buyer produces an inaccurate conversion rate.

Grouping shoppers together also produces inaccuracies. In today’s retail environment, several people may travel throughout a store together only to split up into individual purchasers when checking out.

Objective people counting is the best practice for producing accurate retail traffic analytics. Thermal sensors, for example, use infrared technology to accurately identify each person based on their body heat as they pass through the entrance/exit doors.

Managers who take measures to ensure their conversion rates encompass all customers who enter the store have secured clearer roadmaps to improvement.

Want to learn more? Check out this white paper authored by Dr. Ian C. Wilcock, chief executive officer for Irisys.

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