Businesses live and thrive through different kinds of experiences. Success is rarely ever immediate, it’s usually a long process and most certainly not an easy one at that. A successful retail business is no different; both the company and the human behind it learn through their failures and success and use the experience earned through these ventures to get to the point where they are now. In the retail industry, key factors for success in any type of business always lie in being ahead of the competition by adopting new trends and technologies early. Of course, adopting a new tech may seem scary at first and may even look unnecessary, but more often than not, that new update you overlooked becomes an industry standard in no time and you’re playing catch-up from that point on.
Joining the party late isn’t the end of the world and it’s not impossible to make up for lost time and keep up with the competition, even if you’re a late adopter, but this requires dedication and investing in the right technology. It simply means you have to educate yourself in whatever your competition is leveraging and even deconstruct their strategies to find out what works and for what reason. At this point in technology adoption (be they small to medium businesses or large), business owners and managers tend to make costly mistakes, mainly due to information pollution. Skillful marketers can also take the blame here as they can make an outdated technology sound new, exciting and beneficial.
Just like their actual real-life counterparts, digital shops also come with pros and cons, but one pro stands out and shines brighter than all the others. Be it a website or a mobile app, you know who your users are down to their location, gender, age, visiting time, pages visited, and even the device and operating system they’re using. A successful marketing campaign or sale strategy heavily depends on knowing who your existing users are and who is included in your target audience for a specific strat. Online stores have this information handed to them on a silver platter; however, retail owners can enjoy a similar powerful analytics tool too as people counting for retails is growing fast and becoming an industry standard at a steady pace. The key factor to achieving success and seeing growth is to pick the right traffic counting technology, though. Here comes the tricky part; what does your store need in a people/traffic counter? It needs a reliable counting sensor that has nearly perfect accuracy and can work under several different weather and light conditions. To be blunt; your business doesn’t need a customer counting solution that’s powered by WiFi, no matter what fancy words you hear when you may hear or see online. WiFi analytics are situational and can only provide trivial data, they’re far from being accurate, hence building a campaign around it is unhealthy and may harm your business.
Data alone is not enough to understand your customers’ needs and wants, of course. The hardware should also come with an extensive and modern online dashboard, ideally accessible via PC and mobile devices, and it should be able to visualize data in a way that is easy to understand without hiding key insights that will increase conversion. If the hardware and software can work together in harmony, and also integrate with other store data-providing solutions (such as POS systems) even better!
Reasons For Why WiFi Analytics Aren’t Working
In today’s retail world, people counting is becoming more of a necessity than a luxury. As the need for people counting technologies rises, so does the number of alternatives. WiFi Analytics as an add-on is fine, some businesses or specific campaigns make use of data collected by WiFi, but it just can’t be the core of your traffic analytics solution or even one of your main backups.
People disable their WiFi when outdoors
The percentage of people who turn off their mobile devices’ WiFi feature when they’re out shopping or browsing is higher than you think. Pretty much every smartphone user has a SIM plan with mobile internet coverage and since they’re on the move they usually turn off WiFi to save on battery, since having WiFi turned on drains it. This alone pollutes the data WiFi analysis can collect.
Android and Apple devices use randomized MAC addresses
A considerable amount of mobile users enable their devices’ MACID randomization feature. For instance, when Android devices are searching for new networks, they’re using randomized MAC addresses for better and increased privacy. The same applies to Apple platforms too; iOS-powered mobile devices use randomized MAC addresses when executing WiFi scans with networks that an Apple device hasn’t connected to before.
Considering how WiFi analytics-based solutions provide data via MAC addresses any data they collect immediately becomes unactionable. Since nearly all mobile phones use randomized MACIDs, features like dwell time or zone analytics when powered by WiFi become obsolete. If a WiFi-based people counting service claims to offer accurate data it simply isn’t true.
Privacy changes and updates for Android and iOS
Randomized MAC addresses are part of the privacy changes enforced by these two mobile operating systems, but it’s not the only change they’ve made over the course of the years to offer better privacy to their users. Apple’s recent privacy changes that started with iOS 14.5 (iPadOS 14.5 for iPads) puts users in control. Applications now require user permission to track them across apps and websites. Google is also taking a similar approach which affects Android devices too.
These major privacy changes once again hinder the accuracy and effectiveness of WiFi-reliant traffic counting technologies. The whole point of investing in people counting solutions is knowing who your customers are and understanding them to provide better service. WiFi analytics in its current state fails to deliver even acceptable accuracy, and things won’t seem to change for the better here. Both Android and Apple are increasing their focus on providing better privacy to their customers.
Considerable amount of people carry multiple mobile devices
This isn’t as big an issue as the others listed above, but nevertheless a data polluter in this regard. If you’re running a high-traffic store in a shopping mall or a supermarket you can tolerate counting one person twice or thrice, but for premium shop owners (jewelry stores, car galleries, etc.) the data will be corrupted and extremely unreliable. Imagine having about 10 visitors in an hour yet your dashboard claims there were at least 15 visitors. Not only that, you would have a hard time understanding the customer journey, and optimizing your store layout for maximizing revenue or cutting unnecessary energy costs would easily become a nightmare.
The Right Way of People Counting: 3D Active Stereo Vision
Let’s not beat around the bush, you are on the market for a people counter and you want the best for your store. You can sacrifice extra features that your brick-and-mortar store won’t need or some of these are just not essential and can wait.
What you can’t brush off is accuracy, for retailers, all data should be precise, and “good enough” shouldn’t be acceptable. Could you work with a platform or a system that shows you a 15% deviation ratio for your revenue? Would you create an important campaign based on inaccurate data, even if by 10%? Can you make the right decisions based on that? Of course not. The very same applies to people counting data. A slight error in people counting data can cause fatal flaws and unforeseen consequences may appear, most likely will appear. Reliable, accurate, and actionable data is just as important. Even a one percent gain in conversion rate can do wonders for your overall revenue and justify the cost of investment.
V-Count’s Ultima AI, the leading people counting sensor with 99.9% accuracy, and Ultima Go, a cost-effective version for small to medium enterprises, are the most accurate people counting technologies on the market. These sensors are powered by state-of-the-art 3D Active Stereo Vision technology, accompanied by an in-house developed, customizable online dashboard we call Business Intelligence Platform (BIP).
3D Active Stereo Vision technology provides the highest accuracy and V-Count builds and develops these sensors in-house, in the UK. This technology uses multiple cameras, 3D computer vision, WiFi, and Bluetooth.
Storefront analysis, street-to-store conversion rates, zone-based conversion rates, dwell times, zone analytics, and other similar metrics can be measured via 3D Active Stereo Vision technology; in a better and healthier way on top of that.
Reach out to us now and we’ll get you connected with an expert and hook you up with a demo to show the power V-Count.