The Footfall Counter – A Key Tool For Retailers To Understand Their Stores

Posted on 30 Sep 2021
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Being aware of how people enter a store – and tracking them whilst they're in there – has always been an important aspect of retailing. It allows operators to know how effective their location is, how their marketing promotes their brand, even how well the store is laid out. In 2021, knowing how people enter and behave in stores has become crucial – the Coronavirus pandemic leading to an increased interest in the footfall counter.

Knowing how many people are in a building at any given time might seem like an easy task but, getting live information is actually a complex challenge. This is especially true when the purpose of the devices includes monitoring numbers to ensure the safety of staff and customers.

Here, we're going to take a closer look at people counters – what they are, how they operate and why it's a great idea for retailers to have them.

How A Footfall Counter Works

What are footfall counters?

Footfall counters (often called 'people counters') are electronic devices that count the number of individuals who pass through a defined space. The technology used to achieve this can vary – from simple solutions like using lasers, sensors that employ cameras or video analytic software that make use of regular video surveillance cameras.

Why count people?

There are many reasons why retailers should use a footfall counter to keep track of people – measuring how many people who enter the store (or just certain areas of the store) chief amongst them. Footfall is the key performance indicator of any advertising campaigns or store displays that may be employed – it allows operators to understand their effectiveness, presenting them with ways to improve their methods.

Footfall counters help to evaluate and compare the number of people visiting stores before and after any event or advertising campaign. While sales may not necessarily be high, counters will provide an accurate measure of people who were attracted to the store. Product conversion rates can be better understood too – when a decline in sales is measured over time, simple tracking of people who enter and buy something, as opposed to those who don't buy anything, can help to identify the problem.

How a footfall counter helps customer service.

Understanding how many people are in the store at any one time is also important in regard to occupancy levels too – not just to cater for the uncertain future created by the pandemic, but it can also help to optimise staffing levels too. It could be the case that certain areas are more popular than others, so having more staff around to assist is a big help in improving customer service.

As an example of how a footfall counter can help to deliver a genuine ROI; a store may have a hard time in finding the right balance between the number of customers who come through the door with the staffing levels needed to serve them at the till. Too few staff and queues form and people may get frustrated – too many, and the business will be paying for staff they don't need.

People counting technology helps to strike the right balance. It allows a business to see how many people left without buying, comparing that figure with those who did make a purchase. This will provide an indicator of whether staffing levels are excessive or not at certain hours – presenting a clear idea of what steps need to be taken to optimise.

Staff aren't just there to serve customers, of course – their presence provides an opportunity for people to ask questions about a potential purchase. It's common for conversion rates to improve if there is the right number of staff on the shop floor to provide assistance. With accurate information about how many people enter the store, the business can ensure it has the right number of customer service staff on the shop floor, potentially helping to boost sales.

Footfall Counters In Action.

A great example of a footfall counter in action, is the COUNT IT People Counter – a product that our own experts rate extremely highly. It is a 'bi-directional' people counter, with the operation based on the interruption of a horizontal laser beam. The transmitter sends the beam to the receiver – if the beam is interrupted, the receiver (the second part of the counter), detects this and will increased the count value on the display.

The best solutions should be simple ones, and this product represents a straightforward way for retailers to understand their stores better and to make the right changes to boost chances of increased conversions.

Tagmax: Retail Analytic and Security Experts.

If you're interested in analytical or security tagging products for retail stores, feel free to look around our website to see which other items our experts recommend. If you would like to learn more about how your store could benefit from having a footfall counter (including more information about how they can be hooked up to your existing video cameras), please do not hesitate to get in touch with us today. You can contact us by calling 0800 044 3160 or by e-mailing

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