Retail Traffic Counters

The trend among most people counting companies is to offer more sophisticated, more accurate, more expensive counting systems.  And most large retailers use those overhead thermal imaging and video sensors.  But what if you can not afford the price tag that can run thousands of dollars per store for the hardware, software, and installation?  That is when you will want to talk to us!   

Our mission at We Count People is to provide reliable counting solutions using proven technology that is repeatable and cost effective.  We provide counting solutions that small and medium retailers can afford.  Our counters will help you understand the traffic trends at your store using beam-break counters that have been the industry standard for over 30 years. 

Retailers are feeling the strain of rising operating costs, a struggling economy, and a market oversaturation for the consumer dollar.  Profit margins are razor-thin and it is more important than ever for retailers to monitor traffic counts and conversion rates.   Traffic data is perhaps the best indicator of future sales.  Research shows that a steady decline in traffic will translate to a decline in sales approximately one year later.  So if you see that your sales are steady  –  but do not know that your traffic has declined  –  you will not be prepared to take corrective action before facing a future loss in sales. 

Despite the availability of traffic counters, many retailers still attempt to determine store traffic by counting the number of transactions. Determining shopper traffic by transaction is misleading since not every person entering will make a purchase. In this scenario, you are only recognizing the shoppers who make it to the cash register. The end result is inaccurate traffic data that is reflected throughout all key business functions and decisions, never giving company management a true indication of its success or potential for improvement. If you only count sales – you never know the number of sales opportunities you are missing.

Traffic counters can help you better understand:

 Â· Store Conversion Rates

· Improved Staff Scheduling

· Assessment of Advertising and Promotional Programs

· Prime Selling Hours

· Early Indication of Future Opportunities or Challenges

· Analysis of New Concepts for the Store

Most small to medium store owners ask salespeople to count traffic. The problem with this is that salespeople believe that it is not always in their best interest to perform an accurate count. As a result, owners do not get the  information needed to judge advertising effectiveness,  make staffing decisions, determine conversion rates, etc.

If you are not already using traffic counters at your store….please review our offerings and let us know how we can help you gather the critical traffic data that you need.

Why Do Libraries Use Patron Counters?

Our last blog concerning retail counters generated quite a few phone calls and emails from folks interested in how People Counters could be used in their library.   They were able to see the benefits in for a retail store,  but could not see the justification to spend money to count patrons.  

Libraries attract high volume of visitors on a daily basis.  More people may visit a specific library than visit a specific retail store in a given day, week, month or year.  Just like every retailer, proper information can play a vital role in visitor satisfaction. To achieve the ultimate visitor satisfaction and repeated visits, every facility manager requires accurate data of the floor activities.   Managers of public buildings like libraries and town halls benefit from accurately knowing their visitor numbers.

A FEW SPECIFIC BENEFITS TO USING A PATRON COUNTER AT YOUR LIBRARY

·         Understand which branches receive the most traffic.

·         Determine staffing levels for maintenance, security, and other service personnel throughout the library to address changing traffic patterns.

·         Evaluate the performance of marketing campaigns and promotional activities.

·         Establish performance benchmarks for each location.

·         Improve the visitor experience by allocating more staff at busy times.

·         Reduce costs by cutting staff at quiet times.

·         Understand which doors/entryways patrons enter most/least frequently and at what times during the day.

·         Understand which areas of the library are the busiest and when they are the busiest.

·         Help justify funding measures.

·         Determine if it is necessary to modify the hours and days of operation.

For library administrators to make plans and set goals, they must have a clear picture of the current performance of their library.  Patron counters are one tool they can use to serve their users better and to increase library excellence. Patron counters can help determine “library visits per capita,” which is the number of library visits per person in the community served, and is calculated by dividing the annual number of library visits by the population service area. 

Patron count data is necessary for grants and government funding which are based on usage of the facility.  Automated counting decreases the burden on staff members and increases the accuracy reported to management and financial funding committees.   Overall, data that provides information about library use is extremely important if a library is trying to justify their existence in the community. If they can prove that the facility is being utilized, funding should remain constant.

If the analysis shows that numbers of visits per capita are lower than expected, a library can take measures to increase patron use by reviewing such things as the collection development policy, library hours, and staffing levels.   In the event of financial difficulty, traffic monitoring can help staff and boards determine if the correct operations hours are being used and if certain operating hours during the week can be trimmed back.

Knowing the trend of when patrons use the library measures the extent to which the library is reaching its potential user population. This is important to know when staff is deciding on what and how much to order, as well as the number of workers needed to anticipate user requests.   Patron counts are used to help determine how a particular library is being utilized by the public, and can get as specific as a library would like. For instance, a Director may want to know how busy their libraries are during 11:00 and 2:00 so they can schedule staff lunch hours.

If materials or service is lacking, it could be reflected in decreased facility use, so it is very important numbers to know visit rates.   Additionally, if a library knows the overall use, it may be able to determine program attendance during specific events and to plan these events better or use them to increase library use among specific user groups.

Reliability and validity are increased if a library can break down the visits by time of day.   Another possibility is to determine how many people are using specific library services and how those numbers compare with staff and materials actually provided.  This may mean using Patron Counters in hallways and the entryways to computer rooms, conference rooms, media centers and Children’s Libraries to determine traffic areas within the library.   Using the patron count data to measure visitor movement and peak time congestion helps identify which areas of the library are most used and helps maximize the funding for that specific program or area.

Many libraries elect to take a sample count a few times during the year and extrapolate that count for the total year.  But there are many factors that might affect the reliability of this measure, and these may include: sample size being too small; choosing a week in the library’s schedule that has numerous guest speakers; restricting counting to the library’s peak time; or using a person to manually perform the count.

Using a person to manually count can lead to a number of reliability issues.  One risk is using an inefficient or unconscientious person to do the counting.   Even if he or she is competent, they could get tired or become distracted or one who is also busy answering patron questions or performing check out duties.  Many of these influencing factors can be minimized with the use of a patron counter, even if it means just renting a counter for the survey period. 

Without a patron count, libraries only can identify the number of borrowers and not include people who came to read a newspaper or surf the internet or use the job search facilities.  Placing a patron counter at the entrance can give a valuable insight into times and volumes of people using the library.

I hope you found this information to be of value.  I know that I have not covered all of the possible uses and benefits of patron counters.  For example, facility management personnel know it is very important to keep patrons comfortable during their visit, and we did not even discuss this area of use.   Please send an email to sales@wecountpeople.com to share how you are using and benefiting from the use of a patron counter at your facility.   It would be great if you would include a picture of your patron counter in use!

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Why Collect Hourly People Counts?

When we are consulting with our customers and helping them decide which people counter best meets their needs, we often here the question that goes something like, ‘why would I want to spend extra money in order to know how many people came in each and every hour?’. 

Sure, you could spend less money and buy a simple stand-alone people counter.   And the stand-alone people counter will work quite well if all you need to know is how many people visited for the entire day, or entire week, or entire month.  You just let the counter continue to collect data – then walk to it every day, or every week, or every month – and write down the information.

Well that works as long as someone remembers to collect the data — or as long as someone remembers to reset the people counter after collecting the data — or as long as someone doesn’t accidentally reset the counter before the information is collected.

But what if you need to know the hourly data?  Then someone needs to walk to the people counter every hour. 

Or what if you are collecting daily traffic data only — then start to wonder if it is busier in the morning — or busier in the afternoon?

That is when our Count Recorder and DataMaster people counting products become very valuable.

Because these counting products automatically collect and store the traffic data in hourly, daily, weekly and monthly increments – you never have to wonder if someone remembered to collect the data – or rely on someone to reset the counter – or worry that someone could easily erase the counts.

And when you need to drill-down to further analyze the data to make better business decision – the detail that you need will be available.

But that brings us back to the original question ‘why would you want to collect hourly counts?’.

·         Hourly counts allow you to provide accurate visitor counts and help justify funding measures or changes in your operation.

·         Hourly counts help you determine if you need to modify the hours and days you are in operation.

·         Hourly counts will guide your staffing decisions by helping you track the times and days that are busiest.  Sometimes a hour change in scheduling can yield enormous results. If you think your peak traffic time is from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM but a traffic count suggests that it is really from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM you could be missing that hour right at the beginning as well as overpaying for labor on the back end.

·         Hourly counts help control overhead costs. For example; running air conditioning at peak traffic times, and to plan staffing levels. Of course, keeping operating costs in check is good news for everyone.

·         Hourly counts help determine staffing levels for maintenance, security, and other service personnel throughout the facility to address the changing traffic patterns.

·         Hourly counts help evaluate the performance of marketing campaigns and promotional activities that focus on specific hours.

·         Hourly counts help establish performance benchmarks and measure against those benchmarks.

·         Hourly counts help improve the visitor experience by allocating more staff at busy times.

·         Hourly counts help reduce costs by cutting staff at quiet times.

·         Hourly counts enable you to plan maintenance to occur during quiet times.

·         Hourly counts help you understand which doors visitors enter most/least frequently and at what times during the day.

Thank you for continuing to visit and to read our blogs.   We do hope you find them to be interesting and helpful.   Please send along your comments and ideas to sales@wecountpeople.com

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The Benefits of Counting People. What Users Report

Over the years, we have asked users of patron counters, people counters, and traffic counters why they count people.   Here are some of those commens, arranged by market.

LIBRARY

We use your infrared beam-break stand-alone patron counter in a public library setting in order to get daily attendance.  We like the patron counter because it is easy to use. We count because we are required to show how many people use the library every day in order to receive funding and show that we are a valuable resource for the community.

Our stand-alone patron counter is simple to use and low maintenance.  We only have to change the batteries once a year. We are a busy library and count the patrons coming in for published records.  We count because it affects our staffing ratio.

It is easy to use.  We are a public library and use the stand-alone patron counter to log the number of patrons using the facility.  We have been able to track with solid numbers that we are seeing more patrons use the library and can take that information to our city council at budget request time.  Your customer service is wonderful and I feel they go out of their way to help solve even minor problems.

It is a simple, compact, low maintenance stand-alone patron counter and easy to read.  This is a public library.  It’s helpful to know how many patrons are using the facility per day, for a variety of reasons.  This is just one measure that we can report to city, state and other authorities. It helps to show that we’re a viable and busy library.

We count manually with Tic Marks which was no cost to use it – but reliability is suspect.  State requires this data.  It also gives us an idea of how much our building is being used.

The stand-alone patron counter is easy to use.   We count the three entrances to the library; so we can know how many people use the library on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.  Before we were estimating our count for the year based two one-month counts (1 in fall and 1 in spring).  Now we have hard data.

We use the people counter because we need more statistics about how many patrons come to the Library.

We count in all 10 of the library branches so we can determine the number of customers and the volume by time.  The patron counters provide a more accurate picture of branch usage.    It is low maintenance.

We count with Stand-Alone Patron Counters.   We have one reflector system and one beam.  I believe the accuracy of the beam style is more accurate and since it runs on batteries, proximity to outlet is not a concern.

You guys have an awesome company for me.  Without your help, I wouldn’t have the set-up I do now.

The patron counters are very cost effective.  We have two doorways that patrons may use to enter or exit so we track both.  We are charged to track attendance by our headquarters. Previously, we estimated these numbers, but the patron counters give us more accurate attendance statistics.

We use the PC-Based People Counting System at entrances so we can get a more accurate picture of actual usage patterns for staffing and financial purposes.   I am confident it is money well spent.

We use the patron counters to count visitors as they come into library and business center.  They provide much better statistics for administration to understand the usage and value of this library.

Your patron counter is more accurate than the one we used in the past.  It resets and counts faster.

We count at the front door because we need people count for state reports.  We have been able to show growth in attendance to both local and state funders.

You were very gracious when I called for help with our old counter and didn’t charge me anything. I will purchase the next one from you.  Our people counter is simple and it works.  We count for our monthly and annual statistical reports.  We know how many people are using our building and traffic patterns – most busy, least busy.

We like the ease of use of the patron counters.  We like to capture our patron count as they come and go from the library so that it reflects our daily usage.  That while our circulation is down, more people are coming into the library to meet their needs.

It is easy to access the patron counts. I like being able to look at monthly numbers, daily and even as small as 1/2 hour statistics.  We have a patron counter at the front door to count the number of people who come and go from the library for annual report statistics.  It is a requirement for our State report.  The patron counter does allow us to let the public know how much the library is being used on a daily basis.  Recently, I was looking at the statistic for the beginning of the day and the end of the day to make sure that there is value in having the library open our current hours.

The Stand-Alone Patron Counter works seamlessly.  We have 2 entrances, use 2 counters, and report how many people have walked through our doors, especially since we serve a statistically small population (13K).  Last year 135,000 came into the Library!  This gives us local political support for our budget.

The Stand-Alone Patron Counter is much more accurate than writing tic marks.  We count people entering our library to keep track of our daily usage, and to help us determine our hours.  We have changed when we are open and closed.

We like that the patron counter connects to a PC for data manipulation and charting.  People are counted at the Library entrance to know how many customers use the Library each day.  We can gauge both the per day and per hour traffic flow.

The patron counter is great and we love it.  It is so easy, and with the wireless we can access the numbers off a web page and we do not have to go to the counter daily to write numbers down.

We count at the single entrance to the library to show usage since not everyone checks out materials. The patron counter is showing how busy we are and we try to staff accordingly.

We use the patron counters in our library to help us plan staffing – monitor what are our busiest times and also to see whether we need to adjust our hours of operation.  We use the traffic counts in planning for adequate staffing during our busiest times and having data to take to administrators showing that we need additional staffing.

We like the patron counter at our library because it is easy to use, almost maintenance free.  We count at our front entrance for fiscal accountability and to statistically validate the budget.

We use the patron counter at our library because we need a visitor count for statistical reporting.  We have shown increased usage and determined new hours.

We like the ability to import patron counts into the computer.   We do a door count for our annual library report to the state library and for statistical purposes.  We have increased awareness of people using the library who are not there for checking material out but to use other services.  For example:  tax forms, computers, newspapers, etc.

We use a pair of wireless door counters communicating to a wireless receiver cabled in to our LAN but which is not directly communicating data continuously to a PC.  We log on to the counter periodically over the LAN and download the data in batches.   The wireless patron counter captures the data without staff having to do much.  We count library patrons coming through front door to get a total of library visits reported to our municipal officials monthly and annually to our state Department of Education.

The traffic counter gives us a sense of how frequently used the library is and when our peak times fall.

We have gotten great customer service.  The patron counters are easy to use and give us a better idea of user patterns.  We are a public library and want to keep track of visitors for our own use as well as required reports.

I like that I can export the data from the patron counter into an Excel spreadsheet.  That makes it easier to manipulate the data.  We are a business school library and we needed a way to count the number of people who come into our library.  Not all of them check out items. Many come to use the space to study and we wanted to have an all inclusive count.

The State Library requests a patron count every year with our annual report.  We can brag about how many more people we serviced in 09 for less funding than 08 and to help us get funding!

We like that the people counters are wireless and that the Report page is accessible from any PC.  We can break down attendance by half-hour if necessary.  We count people at the front door to assist with yearly statistics required by the state.  We can provide a complete and accurate State report, provide justification for increased funding, and obtain a better sense of which days are more likely to be busy throughout the year and staff appropriately based on trends.

We like that the patron counter is simple and that we only have to change the batteries once a year. They are very low maintenance.  We are a busy library and count the patrons coming in for published records.  The patron count affects our staffing ratio.

The patron counter works accurately and was simple to install.  We count user visits at both public entrances as one of our basis performance indicators.  The ability to track user visits allows us to share impressive number with our constituents and elected officials.

We count the number of patrons that use our public computers in the library for assessment/need purposes.  It is easy to use and manage the traffic count data.  We know how much traffic is generated in a designated area and it assists with our monthly/annual reports and also assist in assessing the library needs (e.g computers, peripherals.)

We count manually with a Hand Held “Tally” Counter for statistical reports but really for scheduling staff at public service desks.  This gives us a better idea of when our students are in the building.

We like the ability to compare attendance by the half-hour, hour, day, week, and month.  This allows us to track usage trends and has been used by us to determine optimal “open hours.”  We count people who come into our Public library, in order to know how many people use our facility.  The patron counter provides a measure of the use of the service we provide.

I like to be able to isolate a specific hour of traffic count info for certain days.  How many people enter at opening and leave at closing are two of the most important numbers I report.   IIt’s easy.  Dead easy. The data is easy to manipulate.  We are an academic library and we count all patrons coming into and going out of the library. As libraries become more digital, knowing how much foot traffic is becoming a more important number than how many books are checked out.  We have been able to pinpoint where we need to add more hours of service and prove the need for more personnel.

The stand-alone patron counters are a simple and fairly inexpensive way to count people.  Our people counters are installed at the Children’s Room and Adult Room Entrances.  The traffic count is used for State and county statistical reports.  The counts do give us an idea about public use of the library.

Wonderful customer service.  I feel like they go out of their way to help solve even minor problems.  The patron counters are so easy to use.  We are a public library and use the counter to log the number of patrons using the facility.  We have been able to track with solid numbers that we are seeing more patrons use the library and can take that information to our city council at budget request time.

We like that the patron counter is unobtrusive.  We could traffic in the Library vestibule, as people enter and exit.  We have to give attendance statistics to the State in our annual report.  The patron counter helps us arrive at those numbers.

We like the patron counter’s ability to narrow traffic down to 30 minute increments;  the availability of information via web allows for multiple users to read the information; ability to export information allows for compilation of reports, sharing of data beyond our unit.   The patron count numbers help to justify requests for budget increases and a demonstration of how many people we provide services to in the building.

Colleges

The traffic counter tells me by the day or by the hour how many people were here. We take a count from our main entrance for statistical purposes.  Having a number of people coming through your doors to use your facilities is a great help at budget time.  It helps to determine how many and which hours we should be open, and how much staff we should have in the building during those hours.  The support from your company is wonderful.

Using the Directional People Counter in conjunction with the network receiver allows us to quickly get the data we need by simply visiting a web-based count sheet. This process does not require anyone to have to walk around and gather counts from each counter location.  We have the directional people counters installed at all entrances into the building. We use this data to calculate building hours & personnel needs.  We have benefited by being able to reduce operation and personnel hours over times the building isn’t as busy.

We count at all exterior and some interior spaces. We use this information to make sure our facilities are still benefiting the campus community. It is our first indicator of any shifts in opinion.

I liked that the wireless people counters did not require construction to install.  We count people at all entrance/exit doors to the facility.  Counts are used to determine total number of visitors, as well as peak times for visitors to the facility and related to building hours.  We count to prove the usage of the facility and why it is necessary on our campus.

The people counters give us an accurate way of counting our traffic.  We count at our 7 main entrances, 3 internal stairwells, and 6 retail centers.  We have adjusted hours of operations based on people counter data AND we’ve used the data during our renovation design process to properly design for building traffic and flow.

Overall, great customer support.  The people counters are a great tool to have as a facility manager.

Your equipment is much more accurate than older systems.   We count for budget justification and for annual reporting.   The information from the people counters gave support for budget requests and financial support.

The stand-alone People Counter is simple and reliable.  We count at all entrances to show volume in the building and to support additional staff and budget.

Often times we are open when the school is closed ie: inclement weather, Holiday Break, or Spring Break.  We like to people count to know when we slow or busy.  This will better serve our facility for greener building.   We have been able to adjust our operating hours to suit the student’s needs.  The traffic counters are very user friendly.

We use the people counters to determine how many people are using the facilities on a daily, weekly, monthly, yearly basis.  This information helps us make decisions about hours of operation, where to place vendors, etc.   We use the trends over time to determine if our traffic levels are going up/down.

We utilize the traffic counters in a student center at a university. We attempt to keep track of daily entrants to gain a better understanding of which doors are utilized most as well as trends for weeks, months, etc.

The people counters are quick to install, accurate, and easy to use.  We count at main entrances and occasionally in other areas for specific counts.

Having the traffic count gives us better knowledge of facility use trends – when to open, close and prepare staff levels.

I love that the traffic counters give us the data we need.  The people counters are small and unobtrusive, and reliable.  We also count traffic at the IT Help Desk  so that we know how many people we are serving.  We now have a much better idea of our customer numbers and our times of day that we need to staff heavier.

The people counters are ease of use.  We use them to determine traffic patterns and to know when and where the traffic is highest/lowest.

We count people at most of our exterior doors.  We wanted to trend peak hours and high traffic for validation of programs, service, and marketing locations.  The traffic counters have helped us focus our attention to building area with needs.  It has made us ask our student community, “What do you want here?”

We are very pleased with our people counters!   They were easy to install and so far we have had great luck with the batteries!  We like the ease and availability to anyone who would like access to the numbers.  We have installed people counters at every door to count folks to justify our building hours (and changes to the hours); help people know what would be the best day and time for info tables; and to know how many people do use our building.

Retail

The traffic counter is effortless on our part.  We just reset it each night when we leave.  We operate an official Welcome Center and visitor count is very important to us locally and to the State.  We are able to show a return on investment to our partners.

We have 4 traffic counters and they are located in the vestibules at each entrance to the facility.  We have had a few malfunctions in the 8 years we have been open but it’s not been an issue.  We like the low maintenance of the people counters.   We count the number of people who enter the Community Center to have the data for reports and highlight our usage to the public.  Now we are able to justify what we do and obtain funds to operate.

We count in and out in each of our 5 entrances to the facility and the people counters were very easy to set up.   The system helps us determine where more cleaning is needed and how and where to place advertising.  It is also helpful in planning a remodel of our facility.  We would not want to cut off our highest used entrance.  Using the traffic counters, we have been able to track our traffic patterns through the building.

Well, we have a new system, so we like it over the old system since it is now more accurate and dependable. Also, changing batteries is a cinch.       We place our people counters at our five main entrances and we count because we care! Also, our tenants like to know how foot traffic is during certain times.  We know how many people are in the building at any given period. This helps us determine if we need to be open to the public.

Shed Some Light On Your People Counting Needs

Over the years we have received awesome feedback from our customers and prospects concerning the people counting solutions that they were using. They told us about what they liked, what they didn’t like – and most importantly – what they wanted and needed. Their comments helped lead to products such as the simple, low cost AccuraCounter, the OneWay counter, and the recently introduced WiFi counter. Since the goal of We Count People is to provide counting solutions that are wanted and needed by users, we hope that you will take the time to participate in this year’s survey and share your experiences, thoughts, needs and wants. Please visit our website at https://www.wecountpeople.com/Survey2013.html and participate in this year’s survey. Some of the questions that we are asking include: How are you counting now? Why do you count? What benefits have you gained? What do you like about your counter? What do you wish was different about your counter? How much would you like to spend on your next counter? We look forward to hearing from you!