All posts by Retail Sensing

Retail Sensing manufacture the Video Turnstile people counting, vehicle sensing and smart city equipment. Our systems not only measure footfall and traffic, but monitor queues, display occupancy, track shoppers around stores, show heat maps of most visited areas, record passenger numbers, count pedestrians and provide retail intelligence and key performance indicators.

Counting mobile library users in the Arctic Circle

In the far north of Finland, within the Arctic Circle, travels the mobile library of the Inari region. This library bus brings books and magazines to the small villages of the largest municipality in the country.

The library wanted to record how many people got on and off the bus at each stop. To achieve this accurately and cost-effectively they partnered with Retail Sensing.

Children on the mobile library bus
Children on the mobile library bus

The bus runs Monday to Friday, following a different route each day. In the middle of the bus is one door which the library patrons use to board and alight. Technicians installed a CCTV camera above the door and connected it to one of our people loggers. Our software analyses the images from the camera, detecting whenever a person enters or exits. The logger saves the counts of people using the library at each village – recording the time, date, number of library visitors and location.

The data collected is providing a measure of the library’s value – proving that the library bus is well-used and worthwhile.

Read more about automated passenger counting or contact Retail Sensing for more information on counting in a mobile library bus.

Google local search drives consumers to high street stores

Research from Google investigates the impact of internet searches on high street shopping. According to their report, the retail industry is undergoing a dramatic shift: footfall is down whilst online research is up. But search results are also a powerful way to drive consumers to stores.

Google local search drives high street footfall

Three out of four shoppers who find local information in search results helpful are more likely to visit stores. Shoppers are actually inspired to visit after successfully finding out information such as the in-store availability of an item, store location, hours and pricing at a nearby shop.

Local search drives footfall

The report says that digital is a powerful way to connect consumers with stores and increase footfall (or “in-store foot traffic” as they put it).

Another statistic unearthed by the researchers is that many consumers now spend more than 15 hours per week researching on their smartphones.

This change in consumer behavior is creating dramatic new realities in the world of local retail. It’s not only changing the mind-set of consumers as they walk into the store, but it’s also changing actual footfall patterns. Stores are seeing less visitors, but the people who enter are buying much more. Consumers visited less, but they were better informed about what they wanted when entering the store. Each trip was more purposeful and the stores’ sales conversions are increasing.


Sales conversion is simply the number of people who make a purchase divided by the number of people who enter the store. If 100 people visit a store, and 5 of them buy something, the conversion rate is 5%.

Obviously the first step in calculating sales conversion is to count how many people visit the store in a given time. Or, to put it another way, how many opportunities for a sale are there? Integrating people-counts with the point-of-sale (POS) system produces sales conversion figures in real-time.

Stores can further increase sales conversion rates by

  1. Using people count patterns to accurately schedule more staff at busy periods and generate more sales.
  2. Tracking the path consumers take through the store: if someone cannot find something they cannot buy it. Seeing where people go shows whether a store needs re-organising in order to increase conversion rate.
  3. Seeing the length of time people pause at displays and kiosks. If the display doesn’t catch their interest: change it.
  4. Monitoring queues: long waiting times discourage people from buying
  5. Finding how many people leave without buying anything and why: long queueing time, no staff available to convert the sale, poor store layout, etc.

A video people counting system gives high street retailers the tools to maximise profits.

Further Reading:
Video People Counting, Retail Sensing
The 3 New Realities of LOCAL RETAIL by Sameer Samat, October 2014
Understanding Consumers’ Local Search Behavior, Google

How important is footfall data?

Acting on footfall trends can maintain profitability even in harsh trading conditions. The key is to analyse the fine details rather than just looking at the big picture.

Zooming into various indicators lets retailers identify badly performing areas and act to improve matters. For example by:
– Comparing footfall and sales conversion at different hours of the day
– Comparing footfall and sales conversion at different properties
– Monitoring how many people pass by
– Mapping “hotspot” areas to discover which places are most popular and where the dead zones are.

When the live footfall numbers are integrated with current purchases at the till, the data becomes even more powerful. Sales conversion figures taken throughout the day and on different days of the week show the way to progress and increase profits.

Outdoor footfall counters provide more detail to assess and improve performance. Are you taking advantage of the busiest periods in your location, or is there potential for improvement? Understanding the pedestrian flow outside a property helps benchmark the performance of each shop, restaurant, cafe and bar.

Footfall data shows whether premises are under- or out-performing and measure the success of marketing initiatives, staffing levels and layouts.

Let the data drive decision making and see the rewards in the sales figures. For more on the technology needed, or for a roadmap of how to improve your sales figures, contact Retail Sensing.

Why do libraries need a people counting system? We share the reasons

More and more libraries are reaping rewards from visitor counters. They are using them to save money, improve services and, increasingly, to justify their existence. With a visitor counting system they can

  • Record visitor numbers per month, week, day, hour or even every five minutes
  • See which areas and floors of the library are most popular
  • Monitor and reduce queues
  • Find which days and times are the busiest
  • Know the current occupancy of the library
  • Track the paths people take through the library

The main reason libraries install people counters in the first place is to prove to funding agencies with user statistics. However, a video counting system soon proves itself cost-effective in many other ways.

Libraries use the data to improve the visitor experience by increasing staff at busy times and reorganising displays that aren’t working. They can also save money by reducing staff during quiet periods. The number of people visiting the library at different times and days is remarkably constant; recording people counts let libraries plan ahead and optimise staff levels and opening times.

Understanding usage patterns of the library, for example, let the Thomas Cooper Library of the University of South Carolina extend opening hours on its busiest days – Sunday to Thursday – but not on the quieter Friday and Saturday.

Library management: count people, reduce queues, allocate staff, track area popularity

The video visitor counters provide quantitative data showing how much and how often people use the library’s physical resources. This evidence provides support for the resources that are being used and enables the reduction of under-used features: saving money whilst giving people more of what they want.

Administrators and librarians use the statistics provided by the library counters to evaluate the ways in which the library supports their community.

Determining how much a libary’s facilities are being used by its patrons is an effort that every library should attempt.

Daniel S Dotson and Joshua B Garris writing in Library Philosophy and Practice

Video people counters use pictures from CCTV to identify and count visitors. Counts can be stored and displayed both locally and remotely, with data being sent over the internet to administration centres. Systems are over 98% accurate.

Further Reading:
Counting More than the Gate: Developing Building Use Statistics to Create Better Facilities for Today’s Academic Library Users,
Daniel S. Dotson, Joshua B. Garris. Library Philosophy and Practice

Contact us for more information.

Video Technology will Dominate People Counting over next 5 years

By 2022 the people counting market is expected to reach USD 1637 million, growing at a CAGR of 18.9%. That’s according to a study by MarketsandMarkets.

Video-based technology is expected to dominate the people counting system market during this period.

“This technology offers high accuracy during high-volume traffic, ability to detect the direction in which person or shopper is moving, remains unaffected in varying environments of light, heat, shadows, and it can easily distinguish people from objects and track continuously through a large area for an extended period of time.”

Video people counting offers the best way of ensuring accurate footfall and queue counting in locations such as retail stores, train stations or airports where there are dense crowds and slow-moving traffic. It can differentiate between people and objects to count with high accuracy.

This technology is ideal for anyone who requires the highest accuracy, reliability and count validation.

The retail stores, supermarkets and shopping malls are expected to lead the market during the forecast period as the retail industry is becoming more complex and is constantly evolving. In a shifting environment retailers will have to modify their existing strategies to achieve new goals. Retailers need to know the footfall at their shop at regular intervals to remain competitive in the complex retail world.

The report continues

  • By observing the ratio of traffic to sales, retailers can fairly and accurately compare stores with low sales volume to stores with high sales volume.
  • People counters help improve store operations by giving information about the number of people entering the store, passing by the store, duration of their visit, and frequency of their visit.
  • They help measure the performance of marketing campaigns and advertising.
  • They also help making decisions regarding staff planning.

It’s not just retailers who are benefiting from people counting systems, there is increasing demand from:

  • the transportation sector – trains, buses and airports
  • the increasing number of smart city and building projects
  • the hospitality industry, especially booming in the Asia-Pacific countries
  • banking and financial institutes
  • sports and entertainment
  • government and healthcare
  • education

Another analysis, this time by Reasearch Beam, identifies China as the fastest growing market. They predict that the market will continue to grow here faster than anywhere else in the world.

Currently, the lowest penetration of people counting systems is in South America, the Middle East and Africa. These emerging markets also provide ample growth opportunities for the people counting system market in the coming years.

Growth, however, is expected in all regions including Europe and North America.

Further Reading

People Counting System Market by Technology (IR Beam, Video Based, Thermal Imaging), Application (Retail, Transportation, Banking & Finance, Hospitality, Sports & Entertainment, Government), and Geography – Global Forecast to 2022. MarketsandMarkets

Global People Counting System Market Professional Survey Report 2017. Reasearch Beam. December 2017.

Learn how counting people helps improve services and profits

Did you know we have a range of leaflets giving you the low-down of how counting people can help you improve services and increase profits?

Any questions email or call us on +44 (0)161 839 6437.