Why Should You Choose an AI-Driven Footfall Counting System?
In retail, footfall counting is people counting. It measures how many people enter your store daily or within a set period.
In the past, people counted the number of people that went into the store through hand-held tally counters. The people-counter would stand in the entryway for a set period and click on their tally counter whenever a person entered the store.
At the end of a people-counter's shift, the store would have data on how many people entered the store during that shift.
Why Measure Footfall?
Traditionally, footfall analysis was necessary for measuring conversion rates, tracking footfall patterns, and, ultimately, improving operations and conversion.
1. Measure Conversion Rate
By dividing the number of transactions by the number of customers for the day, you can get that day's conversion rate.
As you know, this is not a perfect measure. Two friends could come in, they could both buy things, but they could decide to do so in a single transaction. That would negatively affect the conversion rate. However, this is considered a good enough measure of conversion rate.
2. Analyze Footfall Patterns
When measuring footfall, you want to know your hourly footfall volume. You also want to track your daily footfall. And you also want to know your seasonal footfall.
You also want to measure footfall after launching a marketing campaign. You do this to measure the effectiveness of a marketing campaign.
3. Improve Operations and Conversion
When you know your footfall patterns – what days of the week customers usually come in, what time they come in, when conversion rates are high, and when conversion rates are low – you get valuable, actionable information.
Knowing your footfall patterns can help you with resource planning and allocation. You know when you need more staff and when you need more people on the floor.
Footfall counting can also help you with marketing decisions. If you see an increase in footfall volume and conversion rates after a marketing campaign, you can extend that campaign. Or you can launch a similar campaign after the effective campaign ends.
With the help of footfall analysis, you can decide on which campaigns to carry over, which campaigns to let go of, and what types of campaigns to launch next time.
But footfall counting can provide more actionable information if you have the right tools and equipment.
The Better Way of Footfall Counting
The advances in artificial intelligence have made footfall counting so much easier and much more valuable.
Advanced footfall counting systems use infrared beams, thermal imaging systems, Wi-Fi trackers, and 3D video counters for head counting instead of tally counters.
However, the application of artificial intelligence or machine learning algorithms makes newer footfall counting systems so much better for the following reasons:
1. 24/7 Surveillance
AI-driven systems can count round the clock. You may not need this functionality unless your store is open 24/7. However, the point is, people-counting systems do not need to stop or take a break because they do not get tired or hungry as human people-counters are wont to do.
2. Human Error-Free Counting
Human people counters get hungry. They can forget to click their tally counters when a person enters, or they can easily miscount when a drove of people comes in all at once. This is not an issue with AI people-counting systems that can measure and count with precision all the time.
3. Richer, Actionable Data
Machine learning adds a new dimension to footfall counting. AI-driven footfall counting systems can provide so much more information than what used to be possible in manual people-counting. For instance, AI systems can distinguish between children and adults.
AI-Driven Footfall Counting Systems: Use-Case Scenarios
AI footfall counting systems provide an incredible amount of information that would be unimaginable with a manual people-counting system.
1. Optimize Your Store Layout
An AI-driven footfall counter provides you not only footfall volume but also in-store footfall movement. Through an advanced people counter, you can map where your customers go and how your customers move within your retail space.
Upon entry, where do your customers go? That could tell you which products are drawing in your customers. Compare that information to actual sales on that product, and you should be able to determine whether the attractive products are selling.
If they are not selling but drawing in the customers, you can identify possible pricing complications. Is the product overpriced? You can also optimize your store displays to show the products attracting customers to your store.
By analyzing your store heatmaps, you can also plot your customers' path to making a purchase. Then you can optimize your store layout to ensure that your high-profit items and bestsellers are on that path.
Your heatmap data can also help you maximize cross-selling and upselling through thoughtful product placement.
You will be able to identify dead spots, too. Perhaps your high-priced designer bags are not getting sold because customers cannot get to them.
Consequently, you can optimize your store layout to remove any impediments to customer movement, especially those that direct customers away from your high-ticket, high-value products.
What if the path to purchase changes depending on how the staff is allocated or assigned on the floor? Perhaps purchases are driven by certain staff members. This is certainly worth investigating and can lead to staffing decisions that will have a proven impact on your sales.
2. Efficiently Manage and Track Assets and Inventory
Footfall counting systems with an AI engine are no longer just for people-counting. You can now put RFID tags on your merchandise and inventory. And the RFID counting system integrated with your people-counting system will do automatic tracking and monitoring.
For you, this means inventory that is updated in real-time. You can get alerted whenever in-store stocks fall to a certain level.
This should also improve security. The system can track merchandise movements, so you can set up protocols for when to sound an alarm.
3. Assess ROI on Promotions
Manual people-counting systems are already helpful in assessing the impact of marketing or advertising campaigns. Manual footfall counting should tell you if the number of customers increased after your brand promotion on TV.
However, AI-driven people-counting systems can provide so much more information. First, it can tell you precisely, to the minute or hour, when footfall increased.
More importantly, AI systems can plot the movement of people in your store. So, if people came into your store to check out the product you featured in your campaign, you could surmise that it was because of your campaign.
What if the people came in to check out the product but left without buying it? In that case, the campaign effectively brought in people, but your store did not convert them.
At this point, you would need to ask why that is. Could it be that the campaign did not target the correct demographic? Or perhaps there were other factors inhibiting sales.
AI Footfall Counting for Data-Driven Decision-Making
Footfall is essential in retail. The more people come into your store, the more potential sales you have. Thus, performing footfall analysis is crucial in determining how to improve sales and store operations.
Manual people-counting used to be the norm for measuring footfall. However, the advances in machine learning have led to the development of AI-driven footfall counting systems.
AI footfall counting systems are better because they provide more insights and accurate, richer data. With the help of an AI people-counting system, you can understand your customer's in-store journey and implement changes that will improve your operations and conversions.