12 February 2020
Customer footfall is important for clothing stores, and we are sure you measure it. It can either be done manually using security personnel or using technological solutions. Experts from the industry share how they measure the customer footfall in their retail stores/outlets.
We are in cognizance of the latest solutions for measuring footfalls; infact we have done few pilots (proof of concepts or POCs) with the multiple footfall measuring partners such as Aayuda, ShopR360, Follow Up and others (encompassing Footfalls, Heat Map & Dwell Time). Results of these POCs are blended; the critical success factor for a machine-led footfall counting mechanism is accuracy and how it can help us influence higher conversions.As this technology is still in its initial stages, we are in touch with some of these partners to help hasten the learning curve so that we have the right technology that we may use.
The current challenge is with regard to accuracy, on account of not being able to identify and eliminate staff and other recurring business-partner footfalls. Also, what is required is a holistic approach to weave a complete 360 degree solution with respect to footfall and customer engagement to reap full benefits and justify ROI on the investment. It is of utmost importance to be cognizant of privacy policies while implementing such automated mechanisms. ‘The Raymond Shop’, with its wide product portfolios serving the discerning customers, is a destination store, and therefore, has high conversions. For us, the measure of number of bills (NOBs) is an indicator of footfalls clubbed with our loyalty performance and new customer acquisitions. We are exploring a solution that can provide us the power of correct re-targeting to drive incremental sales with strict adherence to privacy policies, which can justify the ROI.
Indian apparel retailers have been practising store traffic monitoring for quite some years now. The retailers have embraced foot traffic counts as a tool to help them understand and strategise their staffing, conversion and marketing efforts. Retailers are generally using ‘Smart Sensors Camera’ to map the entire visitation inside a store. This way they can track two possible outcomes – one is to find out how many customers are visiting the store and buying the products, and the other is, how many are not buying anything even after spending significant amount of time in the store.
These cameras are quite helpful in bifurcating the customer traffic according to the different segments such as kids, men, women and the sizes, designs of a particular section within the store. Not just segment-wise data, these cameras can also map the footfall season-wise as to which season is generating more traffic in the store in which city or region. With an experience of over 30 years in the retail industry, I have found out that the major pain point of the retail brands is to maximise the shopping experience of the customers. Therefore, sensor cameras are highly beneficial in helping brands assess the customer demands.
We use ‘sensometric’ technology to map the visitation of the customers in our retail stores. Leveraging technology requires better synergy and we have sensed this quite well. The biggest advantage of using sensometric technology is that we can monitor every customer in real time. Besides, we also get to know when fluctuation and load of footfall is high and, since we have visibility to that, we can better make strategies in advance. Rotating the resources or rationalising the resources has become much easier than before. This tracking system helps us find out when to deploy the resources for doing better visual merchandising versus when to deploy the resources to cater to the rising demand of the customers within the stores.
We have footfall analysis in place and, when it gets matched to the back-end, we have a system that churns out the reports and these reports tell us the trends and seasonality throughout the year, within a month, over the weekend. So, we have data available with us, and hence, we can foresee that peak season and festive seasons are coming. This helps us mark out the stores wherein we might see the maximum footfall or double/triple footfall and we need better stock and arrangement there. There are other technologies that tell you which products the customers are going to select and you can track the affinity accordingly. However, there are pluses and minuses. The flipside is that this tracking is driven by camera which does not give details beyond a certain limit, whereas, in our case, we use a technology which clearly tells us how many customers walked in as well as how much is the conversion rate out of those. This way we can always correlate and figure out the exact number of customers who have bought something out of ‘x’ number of people who visited the store.