What answer do you most often hear from sales staff when aleatherg about the reason for low sales? "No people". But, coming to the store, you are surprised to note that there are visitors. How do sellers make excuses in this case? “You arrived, and buyers appeared, and before your arrival there were no people at all.” A familiar situation, isn't it? And it can arise only if your stores do not use special systems for counting visitors. About what benefits they can bring and how to correctly process the data obtained with their help, says Julia Veshnyakova, general director of the consulting company Academy of Retail Technologies.
The only way to get reliable information about the consumer flow is to count all visitors to the outlet. To obtain this kind of statistics, only automatic counting systems should be used. Sometimes entrepreneurs ask security guards or cashiers to count visitors, but the risk of a significant error in this case is very high. And the results obtained in this way will never give an objective picture, because a person is not a machine: he can and will be distracted, forget to count or write down the results, and will surely lose his account when he sees a person who has already visited the store that day.
It is noteworthy that in some companies automatic meters are installed, but they are either turned off or not used at all for the sake of imaginary savings. And in vain, because with the help of counting systems you can identify some problems in the work of sellers, on which, as you know, sales depend. In addition, automatic counting systems give the manager the following options:
· Counters installed at the entrance to the trading floor, allow you to get detailed statistics on store visits for the day (week, month) and generate a report illustrating the dynamics of these visits. Using the data of accumulated statistics, it is possible to predict the number of visits with a high degree of probability and plan the working hours of sales personnel on a given day. This will avoid unnecessary costs for employees' wages and prevent excessive workload, which inevitably leads to a deterioration in customer service quality. Also, the ability to predict attendance entails an improvement in the quality of service, since staff can prepare in advance for the emergency.
· Counters allow you to identify negative aspects that contribute to a decrease in purchasing activity and analyze factors affecting store traffic. The business owner gets the opportunity to analyze the performance and current motivation of sales staff.
· Using the system of automatic counting of visitors, you can accurately calculate the parameters of future promotions and other events and reliably evaluate their effectiveness.
· Visitor counters installed in stores of the same distribution network provide the company’s management with information to compare traffic in different areas of the city. Having such a system, the company can optimize its purchases and traffic flows.
· At the top management level, counters help plan a business development strategy in the short and long term based on traffic dynamics data.
Obviously, the system of counting visitors is an extremely useful thing. It remains to figure out what exactly it is and how to work with the data obtained with its help.
The automatic system of counting visitors is the equipment for the store, which is mounted at the entrance to the trading floor or installed inside the theft protection system. The modern market offers a wide range of a wide variety of meters - from simple ones that count the total number of visitors, to more sophisticated devices that allow you to receive data remotely, record the dynamics of changes in customer flow during the day and graphically display data on a computer. The cost of the counting equipment differs many times depending on its functionality, and when choosing a counter, you should start from your business needs. If you want to have objective statistics of traffic in the store, but plan to independently calculate the main coefficients, you will only need a counter model that simply attaches to the wall at the entrance to the trading floor, and is not installed in the fire protection system.
After the counters are installed and successfully working, the question arises: what to do with the received data? First of all, they can be used to predict store traffic and to analyze customer flows. But, of course, it is equally important to use the obtained statistics when calculating various indicators characterizing the effectiveness of your business.
One such tool is the conversion rate indicator. Conversion rate is the ratio of the number of visitors entered to the number of completed purchases, or in other words, how many visitors have become buyers. The conversion rate shows how efficiently the sales staff work, so in many companies it is called the service ratio or service ratio. With proper use, this coefficient can become a kind of "litmus test", revealing the problems of a particular store.
Consider an example from trading practice: sales at a retail store are low, costs are difficult to cover, and there is no need to talk about getting a net profit. In this case, the entrepreneur has at least two eternal, but in our case, not rhetorical questions: “Who is to blame?” And “What should I do?”.
First of all, using the automatic counting of visitors, it is necessary to determine the attendance of the outlet. If it is at a low level, and the conversion rate is rather high, this means that the problem is not the work of the staff, because sellers are doing everything possible to convert an already small number of visitors into buyers. Most likely, the matter is in other components:
· The store may initially be in a low traffic location.
· It is likely that the storefront, shop windows, entrance group and other elements of attracting attention do not affect buyers.
· The name of the store may not be known or understood by a potential visitor.
· Probably, the product portfolio is selected without taking into account the needs of the target audience or climatic conditions.
· The price may not correspond to the needs of potential buyers.
The above reasons for the failure of the store are only the most obvious, and in real life there may be even more. However, if the conversion rate is high, this means that the matter is not in the sales staff, and the roots of the problem should be sought in the work of related departments.
It also happens that store traffic is at a high level, and the conversion rate is below average. In this case, of course, it is worthwhile to deal with the reasons for the poor work of the staff. Well, if conversion and attendance leave much to be desired at the same time, then work should be carried out on all fronts, ranging from personnel to the logistics department.
The conversion rate is calculated by the formula:
“Number of checks / Number of visitors x 100%”
Suppose the number of visitors per month in a store located in a shopping and entertainment center was 9500, and the number of checks on the cash report is 1020. Accordingly, the conversion rate is calculated as follows: 1020 / 9500 x 100% = 10,7%. This means that only 10,7% of visitors made purchases in the store for the billing month. Whether it is a lot or a little depends on the location of the store, however, for a store in a shopping center, the average conversion rate is usually equal to 10%, and for a stand-alone store this indicator should be at least 20%. Why is there such a range of indicators? The fact is that in the shopping center the store can be visited by people who were not going to buy shoes and came to the cinema, restaurant or for a child’s toy, and they went into the shoe store just for the sake of curiosity. At the same time, shoppers on the street usually go purposely, therefore, the conversion rate at such outlets should be higher.
Of course, under the influence of various factors, the conversion rate may be higher than these average values. There are cases when the conversion of stores in the shopping center was 30%, 40% and even 50%, but this is more an exception than a rule. Most often, the values are within the average, and management should ensure that they are not lower.
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