Is Your People Counter Future-Proof?

Image: Retailer On Computer

Although the rise in e-commerce and direct-to-consumer sales is here to stay, brick-and-mortar stores are still very much a central component of retailers’ strategies. From a customer perspective, the pandemic has reshaped expectations of the physical store, with more emphasis placed on great service and an excellent in-store experience

That’s why so many brick-and-mortar stores are leveraging technology such as people counting solutions to turn raw store traffic data into accurate and actionable insights that they can measure and use to optimize their in-store experience. So how do retailers ensure they have selected the right people counting solutions for their business?

In Part One of our What You Need In A People Counter blog series, we explored questions around accuracy that retailers must ask themselves before purchasing a traffic solution. Now let’s dive into what you should be looking at to determine whether it is in fact future proof and why that is important to your business. 

  1. How Accurate Is The Solution? 

  2. Is The Solution Future-Proof? 

  3. Is The Solution Easy To Use?

  4. Is It Trustworthy And Transparent? 

  5. Does It Have Global Capabilities? 

  6. Does It Comply With Privacy Regulations? 

2. Is The Solution Future-Proof? 

When testing out the future-proof nature of your people counting solution, consider the following subset of questions:   

2.1 Does It Provide Upgrades And Introduce Innovations?

2.2 Will It Save Costs? 

2.3 Are There Multiple Data Points? 

Image: Upgrade Costs Review

2.1 Does It Provide Upgrades And Introduce Innovations?

Technology is constantly evolving, there’s simply no getting around that fact. It’s why retailers must look to invest in traffic solutions that are built for “tomorrow”, rather than the “now”. In order for people counting solutions to avoid antiquation or even obsoletion, upgrades to the software and hardware capabilities, such as solving ‘bugs’ or improving download times, must be made consistently. It’s important to ensure your people counting solution provides upgrades that will contribute to your operational efficiency, customer satisfaction and marketing, to name a few. 

  • Data Security - Outdated hardware and software can result in system downtimes and even data corruption, breach or loss.

  • Working Environment - Using inadequate software and hardware can cause frustration amongst employees, limiting their productivity and hindering the flexibility that a modern workplace requires.

  • Brand Reputation - There is a detrimental impact on a brand’s customer experience if technology is suffering from downtime or substandard performance.

While upgrades strive to strengthen existing technology capabilities, innovation involves creating new value by introducing effective ideas. People counting solutions that constantly innovate, open the door to advanced capabilities that can allow businesses to pivot new opportunities and remain future-fit. Just take a look at the retail innovation that was birthed in weeks or months versus years in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. With this in mind, think about the innovations your people counting solution has provided over the past five years, and in particular, how many of those innovations were introduced following the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s a good indicator of:

  • The overall progressive nature of your solution provider.

  • Whether they provide you with fit-for-purpose offerings to handle a rapidly evolving marketplace with numerous dynamics. 

  • Whether they demonstrate agility by introducing well-timed innovations in response to the ever-changing business environment. 

Image: Mobile Traffic Dashboard

Checklist Time

Does your people counter…

  • Provide consistent upgrades to both the software and hardware? 

  • Introduce new innovations based on user feedback and retail industry needs? 

  • Provide access to a dedicated support team?

  • Conduct systemic and automatic health monitoring?

The RetailNext Standard 

  • RetailNext is constantly working on better software for the Aurora sensor, such as security updates and even new functionality based on customer feedback. 

  • RetailNext users' annual subscription covers the cost of all updates and improvements.

  • With RetailNext’s turnkey traffic subscription, the Aurora comes with a lifetime warranty. 

  • The Aurora includes world-class features, such as deep learning through integrated AI, 30 days of HD color video storage, BLE, WiFi, and Beacon capabilities. 

  • RetailNext customers receive 24-hour support in hundreds of languages, with the ability to get a technician for onsite troubleshooting anywhere in the world.

Put To The Test

  • When new software is released, all Auroras automatically download and update themselves with it. 

  • This saves customers from searching for, downloading, and manually updating thousands of devices with new firmware. 

  • To minimize any possible interruption to data collection, Aurora updates always occur outside store hours, after the store is closed. 

RetailNext continues to be an innovation leader, constantly making FREE retailer-driven improvements to its product: 

  • In September 2021, RetailNext gave its full customer base the ability to use the new Optimization Dashboard, at no additional cost, as part of their platform to understand how to optimize staff scheduling amidst widespread labor shortages. 

  • This, combined with the RetailNext Performance Dashboard which highlights the busiest anticipated time of each day in advance and indicates the weekly performance of a store, enables retailers to maximize their store’s performance heading into the all-important holiday shopping season.

  • In May 2020, RetailNext users were able to use the platform to understand occupancy in real-time in order to re-open stores responsibly as the retail sector recovered from the impact of Covid-19 restrictions. 

Screen: Occupancy (Mobile)

2.2 Will It Save Costs? 

You’ll also want to think about how your people counting solution ensures a return on your investment over the long-term. Those that prioritize upgrades and innovations not only ensure they are future-fit, but help to reduce costs. Reviewing the coverage of the sensor, or the amount of floor space covered by one sensor, is one way to do that. Traffic sensors with an increased field of view require fewer devices to cover a store floor plan which helps you save costs in the long-run. Additionally, fewer sensors also reduce the amount of IT infrastructure to monitor and maintain, as well as lower the installation costs. 

Checklist Time

Does your people counter…

  • Have an ultra-wide field of view? 

  • Require multiple units per entrance?

RetailNext’s Increased Coverage 

  • At a typical install height of 13', RetailNext’s all-in-one IoT sensor, Aurora, ensures coverage is nearly twice that of leading competitors with its industry-led field of view. 

Infographic: Coverage Of Sensors
  • As with other sensors, the area covered by an Aurora depends on the height at which it is installed - generally the higher the installation height, the greater the coverage. RetailNext also supplies its customers with a SmartPlanner tool to make informed decisions on the number of Auroras needed for a given coverage area.

Put To The Test

We recently helped a large, global retailer save 35% of their OPEX by replacing the existing sensors with the Aurora. Not only did they reduce their sensor count by 346 across 528 stores with the wider field of view of the Aurora V2, but they also saved on costs required by the competitor to upgrade to a newer version of the sensor.

2.3 Are There Multiple Data Points?

Another key consideration is whether the sensor is capable of providing multiple data points about your shoppers and your stores’ performance. By harnessing rich traffic data, retailers can begin to understand shoppers’ connected journeys to improve their in-store experience. For example, by segmenting store visitors and their paths by age, gender, and shoppers vs. store associates, you can determine how different groups are shopping, and buying, in-store. This data can help you pivot new opportunities, such as optimizing your marketing strategies to drive shopper engagement and sales across all touchpoints, to remain a future-fit retailer. 

Checklist Time

Does your people counter….

Cover: Using Automation to Transform Retail Store Performance

RetailNext Goes Beyond The Basics

While other people counting platforms are static in their rollout, RetailNext enables customers to upgrade their subscriptions to gain access to multiple solutions. The RetailNext platform goes far beyond basic traffic metrics to help retailers transform their business to deliver personal, meaningful, and boundaryless experiences. The company’s analytics software and retail expertise help you better understand shoppers’ connected journeys through these enhanced insights:

What Comes Out-The-Box With An Aurora 

  • Real-time in-and-out traffic

  • Real-time occupancy levels

  • Traffic forecasting 

  • True conversion rates*

  • Labor optimization*  

  • Passby shopper capture rate 

  • Length of shopping visit

  • Percentage of new shoppers vs repeat visitors 

  • Shopper yield

*Requires POS or WFM data integration* 

What You Can ‘Turn On’ With An Aurora

With additional licensing, RetailNext customers can ‘turn on’ the following capabilities without any additional hardware required: 

  • Direction maps

  • Shopper demographics

  • Mobile device detection (MDD)

  • Heat maps of the entrance to the store

  • Interior analytics on any fixture or product within the Aurora sensor's 2X wide field of view

Put To The Test 

“RetailNext has helped evolve how we think about our stores at Calvin Klein and we think of them as an extension of our own team. Their robust shopper journey data gives our analytics team a much clearer view into what is happening in our stores, giving us e-commerce style analytics across store layout, marketing, product assortment, and more” - Darren Bowden, VP of Store Finance, Calvin Klein. 

LEARN MORE about RetailNext's FREE and EXCLUSIVE Aurora upgrade.

Missed Part 1?

Read What You Need In A People Counter: Part 1 where we explore accuracy, how it impacts your results and how to evaluate it.  

About the author:

Headshot: Judith

Judith Subban, Marketing Communications Manager, RetailNext

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