How people counting technology is saving businesses thousands
Throughout the course of the pandemic, social distancing restrictions led to a rapid increase in the retail sector’s reliance on occupancy rates, with the majority of high-street stores having to restrict their number of visiting customers in order to comply with Government guidelines. While collecting data from people counting technology is a widely accepted practice of forward-thinking retailers, who are using the data to benefit their general business operations, the restrictions enforced on retail due to COVID-19 (thankfully now lifted) led to the emergence of a new string to the bow of people counting technology.
Transitioning from staff to technology
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many stores and retail outlets initially chose to install members of staff at the entrance and exit in order to monitor the occupancy levels of the store. While this seemed a reasonable short-term fix, many retail businesses inadvertently found themselves paying tens of thousands of pounds to count how many people were instore at any one time.
Based on calculations using the UKs National Minimum wage, a retailer could spend upwards of twenty-five thousand pounds a year* employing a staff member to monitor the occupancy rate of a store by covering the main entrance. This unexpected cost is likely to have punched a considerable hole in almost any retailer’s annual budget, especially when the cost can easily be reduced dramatically by embracing dynamic technological practices.
Using integrated technological devices to carry out real time occupancy monitoring and alerting solutions in a retail outlet is not only a significantly more economically-valuable alternative, but it also produces more accurate data, with the industry’s leading solutions, such as countIT, delivering an accuracy rate of 99.5% while protecting customer privacy, as well as a raft of additional features such as dwell detection, height data and in-built heat mapping to allow store managers to identify trends.
Data collected through people-counting can provide a unique insight into customer behaviours
Collecting data across a quarterly period enables businesses to spot trends in their foot traffic according to the days in which the number of customers visiting the premises are at their peak. Not only does this allow managers to adjust their business’ opening hours to accommodate for busier periods, but is also facilitates other important strategic changes, such as modifying the number of staff members required for a particular shift. Optimising staff scheduling is a simple way for a retail business to save money, as it eliminates the possibility of losing profit as a result of overstaffing during quieter sales periods.
Evaluating customer conversion rates is an important part of a business’ marketing strategy, particularly for retail company stores wishing to measure the commercial success of certain campaigns. Figures showing fluctuations in a store’s foot traffic, as well as customer behaviour instore, can be cross-referenced with the introduction of specific changes in strategy, such as a new window display or a different in-store soundtrack, enabling management to determine how successful these decisions have been for the business.
With advanced counting technologies, businesses can record up-to-date data whose value is not only lucrative but versatile.
The newest technologies are allowing for more sophisticated methods of people counting, which in turn is making an investment in people counting solutions extremely attractive to a much wider variety of industry sectors. Due to factors such as these, the overall counting system market size is predicted to grow from GBP 585 million in 2020 to GBP 953 million by 2025, a 63% increase in the space of just five years.
Accessible on any WiFi enabled device and suitable for buildings with multiple entrances, countIT LIVE’s advanced functionality allows for dwell time monitoring and can even detect staff to exclude from occupancy data, a practice that would lead to far higher costs and inaccuracy rates when collected by a member of staff.
*Based on calculations using the UKs National Minimum wage, a retailer would pay £25,945.92 a year for a single member of staff to monitor the occupancy rate of a store by covering the main entrance for 8 opening hours per day, 7 days a week.
What do our customers say about D-Tech?
Craig has been great with keeping me informed throughout the whole process from the quote, through to installation and completion.Penny Randhawa
School Librarian - Nishkam School, West London
We had two self-issue units installed at two sites. Despite some (non-D-Tech) technical issues, the engineer persevered, the set up process went well and we were very happy with the end result. The engineer was really helpful and we were taken through the units and given a very clear understanding of how they work.Gary Meades
Library Services Manager, NHS Northamptonshire
Excellent support from the tech staff, to solve issues no matter how large or small. That has always been my experience whenever I’ve had a question. Great work!Jane Spellman
Librarian, Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College
I’m the Librarian for the LAMDA library and have been a customer of D-Tech for 3 years. We chose D-Tech International because its solution was competitive on price and I found the team to be very approachable and helpful. The service with both the set-up and the support in the years since has been excellent and response times are very fast.Melkorka Oskarsdottir – Librarian for the LAMDA library
The technicians installed the equipment and finished the whole job nicely and were very accommodating to some final adjustments we requested at installation without any hesitation.Penny Randhawa
School Librarian - Nishkam School, West London
“We are always keen to keep abreast of new technology in order to keep improving our service to customers. The new Explore centre has opened with technology which the public can see for example, the latest self issue and wi-fi, and other technology which they don’t notice, like the thermal imaging people counter. Seen or unseen, it’s all about improving the service to our customers. We’re proud to be leading the way in terms of using the latest technology to deliver a modern service.”Helen Whitehead
Performance and Projects Manager, City of York Council, Libraries and Heritage Dept.
“Self service helps our library staff be even more brilliant.”Janice Bell
Birmingham City University
“I just want to say thank you so much for sorting out the on-going issue I have been having with the gates. Mark popped around last Friday and made some adjustments. He also increased the volume of the signal so it is easier to hear the alarm even with a hoard of kids trying to leave the library simultaneously.
I’ve been testing it regularly and it works beautifully (hope I am not tempting fate here…).
I just want to let you know that I think you provide an amazing customer service. There are issues and teething problems with most technical products (mine were extreme!), but that’s ok if the technical support is good which is definitely the case with D-Tech. Very happy that I went with your company!”Asa Nylinder
Rivers Academy West London.
Staff and pupils love the glow of the RFID security gate lights that beam from the library doors. Can’t wait to open properly after lockdown ends! Thank you.Penny Randhawa
School Librarian - Nishkam School, West London
“The equipment looks great and is really easy for the public to use, and D-Tech have supported us in making sure that we are providing a quality service.”Vivian Drake
Somerset County Council
“It’s been a much simpler process than we could have ever foreseen.
We’ve been very well supported by D-Tech.”Janice Bell
“D-Tech understood what our success meant to us”Antonio Rizzio
Resource and Service Development Librarian, Lewisham Library & Information Service
“I like the self service units because they are simple, they’re robust and they work. And they’ve got to be, if you’re doing high transaction and high volumes, you can’t be having lots and lots of bells and whistles, you’ve got to actually have the basics, that’s nice, and if you can get the basic functionality plus that, wonderful.”Ruth Moore
Director, CLSD, London South Bank University
“The new thermal imaging people counter quite simply offers a very efficient tool for measuring visitor footfall and the more information we have, the more we can use it to provide a better service for our library visitors.”John Usher
ICT Development Manager, London Borough of Islington
“Our library staff are really pleased that we have the new counters – they have been waiting a long time for these. It means counting visitors is one less thing for them to have to think about and frees up their time so they can get on with more important tasks in the libraries.”Mike Ellwood
Asset Manager, Suffolk CC Libraries and Heritage
” ‘Cool Miss!’ – This is how one of our students described the new entry gates of our security system. We think it is pretty cool too, not just the gates, but the fact that our old obsolete security system has been replaced with a fully functioning smart new system. – And all done efficiently with the minimum of fuss, and nothing seemed to be too much trouble to sort out”Rosemary Good
“I certainly can recommend them! D-Tech were quick to respond to our needs, and very good at helping me to decide which system we should go with – we previously had a radio frequency system that was on it’s last legs! Marvin Crisp came to see us, talked about D-Tech’s products, the kind of work involved in replacing our system, measured out the reception area and gave advice about how best to place the system in relation to the rest of the furniture/issue desk/exits. He sent me a map of how it would all look, with all the costings etc and the installation took all of one day, with the minimum of fuss and mess. In terms of their security tags, the prices were very reasonable and I will be recommending that in the future, we use D-Tech as our main supplier, with (depending on funding) plans to replace some of our other older security systems at other sites.”Karen Sylvester
Librarian, Leicester College
“Mark who installed our self service machine was so helpful that I think it ought to be noted. I was very busy and he was very patient and not only did he do the installation but he adapted an old bin so we now have a very snazzy self service unit with a posh bin underneath for the reservations..”Gill Evans
Leiston Library Manager, Suffolk
“… we wanted to let you know how pleased all at Queen’s Library are with the efficient and friendly manner with which D-Tech dealt with updating our self issue machine for Oxford’s new LMS. It has become apparent that libraries using other suppliers are still struggling to get theirs working while we have benefitted from such a smooth transition”.Lynette Dobson
Technical Services Librarian, The Queen's College, Oxford
‘We were very pleased with the care and attention to detail provided by the engineers who oversaw this installation. It was a very bespoke job and between them they had a great deal of expertise. They were courteous and efficient and worked to a very high standard.’Sue Killoran
Harris Manchester College, University of Oxford