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Retail Store People Counting

Solving shopper analytics challenges at McArthurGlen

McArthurGlen is Europe’s leading owner, developer and manager of designer outlets, operating 21 such sites across eight countries. They opened their designer outlet in Neumünster near Hamburg in 2012. This flagship outlet offers approximately 215,000 square feet of retail space in a prime location, and McArthurGlen were keen to maximise the potential value of this site by utilising solid data on the footfall to fix accurate rents for their tenants and measure the effectiveness of advertising.

Applying an analytics solution to such a challenging outdoor site, with wide open spaces and significant variation in light and temperature levels necessitated expert advice and technology – so McArthurGlen turned to Irisys.

Business Issue

Accurate counting of footfall and shopper movement is a cornerstone to the development of designer outlets and shopping centres around the world. However applying this intelligence to outdoor sites, with wide open spaces and a greater degree of light and temperature variation, is a key challenge for operators of these outlets.

Irisys is the chosen technology partner of McArthurGlen and has worked in tandem with the organisation for a number of years, deploying infra-red people counting systems into 16 of their 21 designer outlet sites across Europe.


Sensors have been installed across the entrances and walkways of the centres and the footfall data for each site integrated into McArthurGlen’s own business intelligence platform, where it is combined with other critical datasets to allow McArthurGlen to build a very comprehensive picture of shopper behaviour across each site.

Due to the value that can be derived from this high level data, McArthurGlen also took the decision to fit stores across each site with the same Irisys detectors and associated people-counting solution. The information McArthurGlen receives from these installations is shared with their brand partners, as part of McArthurGlen’s service offer.

The result is that McArthurGlen is able to leverage even greater insight into their shoppers’ behaviour across each designer outlet centre. Detailed analytics can establish not only how many shoppers enter the site, but conclusions can be drawn on which stores attract most footfall and how this changes as a result of specific marketing promotions, by season, or due to a specific brand mix.

McArthurGlen also has the data needed to assess the relative value of all the store locations within each centre. The Company is therefore able to enhance the service that it offers to its brand partners by providing each with their own footfall data; this is acknowledged by leading brands and retailers to be a key operational metric, and the basis from which to build an effective understanding of conversion rates.

Such is McArthurGlen’s commitment to Irisys technology, that it forms an integral part of the specification of any new build. Indeed they have found innovative ways to incorporate it into the design of new sites, without compromising on their stylish appearance; for their Noventa Di Piave Designer Outlet site near Venice, McArthurGlen’s architects developed a ‘tiara arch’ entrance, which allowed for discreet counters to be placed within an impactful piece of outdoor art.

Business Benefits

Hubs Bakshi, Head of IT for the McArthurGlen Group said:

We choose to work with Irisys given that the quality and accuracy of their products is second to none, and because of their commitment to working in close partnership with us, which is essential to a good and productive working relationship.

Their people counting system provides us with metrics that, when combined with other data sources such as sales, allows us to have a better understanding of our performance against our key performance indicators. We can then feed these metrics back to our brand partners, as part of an added-value service.

The benefits of using the Irisys system were further highlighted at our most recently opened McArthurGlen Designer Outlet, in Neumünster, near Hamburg. Here the system needed to be capable of counting people through an entrance spanning more than 22 metres with the same accuracy and reliability as in a standard store doorway.

This was achieved easily as Irisys is uniquely able to link its people counters seamlessly 'at the edge', meaning that no additional IT infrastructure was required.

-Hubs Bakshi, Head of IT, McArthurGlen Group

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About the project

Industry sector: Retail

Geography: Germany

Service solution: People counting sensors

Project size: Over 100 stores

About McArthurGlen: McArthurGlen is Europe’s leading owner, developer and manager of designer outlets, with 21 centres across eight countries. In 2012 McArthurGlen opened its designer outlet in Neumünster, near Hamburg, in a centre which offered 100 stores and approximately 65,500 square metres of gross leaseable area in its first phase.

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