February 24th, 2021

How real-time People Counting makes Shopping safer in the new Covid-19 reality

As people around the world adjust to the “new normal,” with mask-wearing and social distancing an everyday reality, retail stores, and shopping malls have to look at innovative ways to keep their shoppers safe from the continued threat of the Covid-19 virus. 

The necessity of maintaining occupancy levels to a strict minimum while still providing a positive customer experience is a challenge that requires stringent planning and superior efficiency, the likes of which humans have never before had to tackle.

Thankfully, advances in real-time footfall counting technology make the pandemic-related transition for commercial enterprises a lot easier and more efficient. Business owners are finding that people counting technology helps them optimize their processes, provide a better customer experience, and cut down on costs while doing it!

Let’s take a look at some of the ways real-time People Counting is making the adjustment to the new normal easier, safer, and more cost-effective.

Real-time People Counting improves the customer experience

Vital to optimizing the shopping experience for your customers is understanding their sentiments and resulting behaviors. Recent studies have shown that an overwhelming number of people worldwide are nervous about entering shopping stores for fear of contracting or spreading the virus, and rightly so. With second and even third waves of the virus attacking parts of the globe, and more infectious mutations emerging too, the pandemic does not show signs of disappearing for a long time to come, and the consequences have been devastating.

By implementing real-time People Counting technology, commercial retailers can ensure a safe, socially distanced shopping experience that meets the requirements necessary to prevent the virus’s spread. Using people counting metrics that track the occupancy level of a store and traffic flow patterns, dwell time, and queue time, business owners can optimize the customer journey through their store through a variety of easy-to-implement strategies. For example:

👣 By tracking the number of customers in the store in real-time, store owners will receive alerts when the maximum occupancy levels are reached. In this way, staff can process customers faster and manage new customers' entry to prevent overcrowding.

👣 Staff will be automatically notified when customers have been in a queue for longer than a prescribed amount of time to prevent abandonment. They can act swiftly to attend to customers more efficiently and reduce waiting time both inside and outside the store.

👣 By monitoring dwell time, staff can identify areas that receive more traffic, optimize the store’s layout and product placement to enhance traffic flow, prevent clusters, and ensure that social distancing is maintained.

👣 Having real-time access to retail analytics and data means that staff is constantly aware of how many customers are in the store, how many are in a queue at any given time, and how much time it takes to process customers on average. It also gives them insight into optimally managing traffic flow and occupancy levels and communicating effectively with their customers to ensure that the shopping experience is not soured.

Real-time People Counting helps optimize operational processes

Part of the prevention measures in place in most commercial enterprises are efforts to limit the amount of staff in a store or space as much as possible. Not having enough staff during peak hours or busy periods puts a strain on the efficiency of business-wide processes such as inventory management, customer engagement and checkout, queue management, security, and health and safety management.

The long-term benefits of footfall counting as part of a retail analytics solution mean that you are provided with insight into the busiest times of the day, week, month, and year to more efficiently plan your staff roster. During quieter periods, you can reduce staff levels and meet the demand during peak times with an adequate staff complement. Not only will you be saving costs by allocating resources only where necessary, but you will still be able to maintain operational procedures optimally and safely.

Further to this, with insight into conversion ratios, you will see how well your store performs during certain periods or as a result of specific campaigns, allowing you to implement proven marketing strategies and product placement strategies to boost sales and optimize marketing spend.

Real-time footfall counting saves money and the environment

As conscious as we are about the pandemic, we should not forget our impact on the environment. Real-time People Counting technology can be integrated with smart energy devices such as automatic lighting activated only when a location is occupied. The footfall counter can detect when a space is unoccupied and direct the lighting system to switch off to save energy and energy costs. It also prevents the spread of the virus as people do not have to physically touch a light switch to turn it on or off.

Commercial stores will also gain insight into how optimally their stores’ space is being used in the long run. By identifying unnecessary or underused areas, you can scale down or rethink your space’s layout, planning it entirely to maximize efficiency and minimize unnecessary expenses.

The Vemco Group’s revolutionary People Counting and retail analytics solution, Vemcount, is fully equipped to help retail stores and shopping malls transition to the new normal safely and sustainably while enhancing the customer experience and optimizing operational processes, resources allocation, marketing strategies, and expense management.

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