Retail World

Counting systems and data quality

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In the retail sector, data collection has become very important in recent years. The analysis of data collected (online or offline) to anticipate trends and movements in the market is a matter of primary importance for any retailer or marketing manager.

When collecting data on customer behavior, such as external pedestrian traffic or the number of customers entering and leaving a store, it is essential to make a correct count with the lowest possible percentage of errors. Otherwise, if data don’t reflect the truth, consequent implementation will be useless.

In this article, we will talk about the best hardware and software technologies with which it’s possible to obtain and collect top quality data from a physical store: knowing how these devices work is essential, if a retailer decide to bet on Retail Intelligence devices.

In fact, not all people-counter are the same: it is necessary to choose a modern and current model, which the lowest possible margin of error.

What devices are available on the market?

Nowadays, it is possible to find different types of devices designed to count people, but not all of them are equally effective or precise.

  • WI-FI sensors

Wi-Fi sensors are able to identify every single potential client thanks to mobile technology. This technology, however, presents two problems when measuring pedestrian traffic: it is not able to realize the count if the pedestrian’s phone is switched off, not reachable or if the router is disconnected or out of order. Moreover, it is difficult (almost impossible) to limit the counting area: the sensor, calculating every Wi-Fi signal it arrives to, could inadvertently count also those who are outside the store but near the sensor.

Therefore, the advantage of this type of technology is that it allows you to identify customers who repeat their visit, but it is not entirely reliable when it comes to counting people entering or leaving a commercial establishment.

  • Infrared sensors

Usually, the infrared sensors are installed on the side of the doors, and are equipped with an invisible 5m wide beam of light. Every time someone goes through this laser, it is counted. The problem with this type of sensor is a rather high margin of error, especially in very large and crowded places, such as a shopping center. In fact, the infrared laser cannot distinguish or count more people entering at the same time and, consequently, does not offer a 100% reliable data collection.

  • Thermal sensors

Sensors with a thermal optical camera generate an image of the person in motion without being disturbed by environmental agents such as lights, shadows or reflections. It is the most reliable technology on the market, able to distinguish every person who enters the store without being affected by any external problems.

Obviously, perfect devices doesn’t exist, but at TC Group Solutions we use the most modern devices on the market, which offer quality and reliability, and we collaborate with the best thermal sensor providers, able to guarantee features, algorithms and software that really optimize results and are in able to improve data quality. We also provide our customers with a proactive customer care service as well as a professional assistance team to resolve any incidents that may occur.

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