Revealed: why a longer ‘average shopping time’ boosts retail sales

How much customers buy is a direct result of how long they spend in a store. The longer the average shopping time, the more a store sells.

The shopping time reflects the overall level of service in the store. The better the service, the longer people stay and the more likely they are to make a purchase. Measuring and improving average shopping time results in an increase in:

  1. The number of people buying something
  2. The number of items they buy
  3. The amount of money that they spend
Chart of average shopping times
This chart shows some very different average shopping times in a chain of shops in Germany. In the shops where people spend just 6 minutes there is great potential for improvement and increased sales.

How to Increase Average Shopping Time

1. Accurately Measure

Automatically measure average shopping time using your existing CCTV cameras. Contact us to find out how.

2. Have the staff give great service

Retailers who focus on continual improvement, measure their staffs’ service levels in a number of ways, including:

  • Timing until first contact between staff and shopper
    Once focused on display
    After browsing
    Upon entry

    The above figures are from a sports store. In 43% of cases there was no interaction between staff and shopper, highlighting easy room for improvement.

  • Who initiated first contact

    Again, the measurements show a simple way for staff to improve average shopping time – simply by approaching people. Rising sales will follow.

Being pro-active, informative and pleasant increases the involvement of the staff in the sales process and attends to the customer’s needs – thus selling more. All this is directly measurable by interaction numbers and durations as in the examples above.

Informing sales people of the average shopping time in their store, and perhaps awarding bonuses for increasing it, raises the sales conversion rate by converting browsers into customers.

3. Better Signs and Displays increase Average Shopping Time

  • Clear signs help customers navigate the shop and find what they are looking for.
  • Implementing focal points – “Items of the Week”, “Just Arrived”, “Sale” – moves customers through the store.

Various measurements show the store’s progress over time, such as:

  • Time until a shopper focuses on a type of product
  • Heat maps showing where most shoppers went

It’s the measurements which are the key

Many successful retailers consider themselves to be achieving good service and signage, but by measuring average shopping time and other indicators they can pinpoint the potential for improvement and significantly increase the number people buying, the number of items they buy and how much they spend.

Put another way, an increase in average shopping time will show a corresponding increase in conversion rate, average number of units per transaction and average transaction value. Which in turn leads to rising profits.

All this is achieved with a video people counting system and retail know-how.

To find out more give us a call on +44 (0)161 839 6437 or email

Biggar, S., and McAdams, D. 2016. Time is money: Shoppers buy more when they stay longer.
The Slower You Shop, the More You Spend, The Wall Street Journal, 2015.
Retail dwell time: the route to higher spending.

Jill Studholme

Writing about people counting since 2002.

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