Footfall Analytics

In-store analytics: Five ways to track customer behaviour

Written by Tony Loxton
Sep 7

Your store’s turnover is down, and you’re not sure why. What’s going wrong? Is it your store location? Is your staff slacking off? Is your floor plan falling short? Or are your window displays missing the mark? Working out why your store isn’t performing as well as it should can take a little detective work. While having access to a simple door count the number shoppers visiting your store each day—helps you work out your store’s conversion rate, it doesn’t give you nearly enough information to work out why shoppers aren’t spending money. And, as you know, you can’t fix a problem if you’re not 100% sure what that problem is in the first place.

What you really need are insights into how customers behave in your store

Enter in-store analytics. In-store analytics particularly the kind offered by more advanced people counters gives you access to valuable customer behaviour metrics and measurements that allow you to pinpoint exactly why your store’s performance is down. Once you have the problem in your sights, you can take decisive action to fix it. Here are five ways in-store analytics can be used to track and understand customer behaviour:

1) Measure your store’s ‘bounce rate’

In the web analytics world, a website’s ‘bounce rate’ refers to the percentage of users who leave your website before navigating to any additional pages. Similarly, when it comes to in-store analytics, your bounce rate refers to the percentage of shoppers who leave your store soon after entering it (usually within five minutes). Simple people counters that only provide a door count aren’t able to calculate your store’s bounce rate. WiFi-based people counters are the only foot traffic tools able to give you access to your bounce rate.

So, what does your bounce rate tell you about what’s going wrong with your in-store customer experience? If your store has a high bounce rate, it could mean that it’s understaffed, or that your staff aren’t making an effort to engage visitors as they enter the store. If this is the problem, you either need to adjust your staffing roster or implement better staff training. Alternatively, shoppers could be leaving your store prematurely because it’s unattractive, messy, or even dirty. Time for a revamp.

2) Map customer movement in-store

Both camera- and WiFi-based people counters are able to map how customers move through your store. WiFi-enabled people counters do this by monitoring shoppers’ smartphone signal strength as they walk around your store. Getting visibility of how shoppers move through your store is useful as it allows you to identify the aisles and areas that shoppers are drawn to, as well as those they avoid. Investigate why particular areas aren’t getting any traffic; perhaps an area needs better lighting or a fresh coat of paint. Make the most of the areas shoppers do favour by putting your best sellers or products you’d like to promote in their path.

3) Track loyalty

One of the benefits of installing a WiFi-based people counter is that the system is able to recognise returning customers. Returning customers are more likely to make a purchase and more likely to make a bigger purchase than first-timers. By accessing your in-store analytics in real-time, staff are able to hone in on returning customers, work their salesy magic, and ensure a bigger basket at checkout.

4) Pinpoint peak traffic periods

In-store analytics can be used to pinpoint when your store experiences the most foot traffic. Use this insight to plan your staff roster, ensuring that you have enough staff on the floor during peak traffic periods. When staff are too thin on the ground, they’re unable to see to your customers’ needs. The outcome is poor customer experience and lower sales figures.

5) Measure walk-bys

Traditional people counters particularly those that use laser beams and thermal imaging sensors to measure foot traffic through your store’s entrance aren’t able to measure walk-bys. Walk-bys are people who walk past your store entrance without entering. Your walk-by conversion rate refers to the percentage of passing foot traffic that enters your store. This is a really useful metric, as it allows you to rule out location as a factor contributing to your store’s poor performance. For example, if your walk-by conversion rate is low, it’s unlikely that your store is in a poor location. The problem isn’t that there aren’t any potential customers in the area, the problem is that they’re walking past your store without coming inside. Combat a low walk-by conversion rate by improving your window displays and making sure that your store has an attractive and welcoming appearance.

The best people counters provide in-store analytics that go beyond a simple door count. Want to find out more? Download our whitepaper, Go Beyond the Door,  for a detailed study of how in-store analytics can make or break the customer experience.

Download our retail white paper - Go Beyond the Door

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