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One of the ways in which retail outlets assess the success of their operations – and particularly of their marketing output – is through the use of footfall analysis. In simple terms, footfall is the number of people who visit a store and walk around it. Footfall delivers buyers to products. It is then the job of the store itself to complete the loop and ensure as many people as possible walk away with a purchase.
There are a number of ways in which footfall analysis can help retailers better understand their customers and convert information into sales. Let us take you through how the technology works and how it can be used in practice.
There are some very simple ways in which people who come and go from premises can be counted. Anyone who’s been to a busy pub or bar will be familiar with the hand-held counters that click every time someone crosses the threshold. However these days, picking up how many punters pass through retail outlets is a considerably more high-tech business. Cameras, infra-red beams and pressure sensitive mats can all be used to capture data and all come with different advantages and disadvantages.
With the introduction of CCTV in many stores has come the opportunity to get people counting cameras. The two main types of camera that can collect automated data on the number of people coming and going from a store are stereoscopic and thermal cameras.
Both of these types of camera offer the opportunity to keep track of people crossing in both directions over a selected spot in the store. While Stereoscopic cameras give retailers the chance to look at 3D images showing details such as whether or not people took a shopping trolley or how many visitors were adults or children. Thermal cameras allow users to pick up footfall hotspots so they can concentrate on what might be drawing people to that area of the store.
Laser technology can be used to detect when someone crosses the entrance to a store in either direction. Laser cameras have the advantage of differentiating people walking together where thermal and stereoscopic cameras might miss.
One of the benefits of knowing retail footfall is in understanding how many people who visit go on to buy products. Whether a company’s sales are rising or falling, it can be helpful to know if the same numbers of people are buying a greater or fewer products or if there has been a change in the number of people visiting and the conversion of those visits to sales.
Footfall is an important part of the toolkit to assess the effectiveness of marketing efforts. Following a marketing campaign of any description, whether it’s advertising or direct marketing, footfall following the launch can be a major indicator of success.
Many retailers find that in addition to assessing the purchasing behaviour of the people who visit their stores, analysing footfall in terms of times of day and areas of the store can help them to effectively deploy their workforce. If footfall analysis finds that one area of a store tends to be busier than others or if certain times bring rushes of customers and helps companies to plan accordingly. Maintenance and cleaning can be planned at times that are typically quiet and more staff put on cashier duty when demand is high.
Retail Footfall technology offers retailers highly accurate methods of counting the number of customers and potential customers that pass through their stores. With the data, a range of analyses can be carried out that help retailers understand the effectiveness of their operations and alter the way they deliver their business to turn more of the people they get through the doors into paying customers.
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