All posts by Retail Sensing

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

Footfall counting increases sales over a 1000-strong chain of stores

Edinburgh Woollen Mill owns not only the EWM stores but also the Peacock’s chain – a total of over 1000 sites. They needed a footfall system which could pull in data from all the stores around the UK and integrate the information with other key performance indicators and influencers.

To help them they turned to Retail Sensing.

Retail Sensing manufacture sophisticated video counting systems called Video Turnstile. After a successful couple of months’ trial in a limited number of shops, the company started installing CCTV cameras and intelligent counting units across all their properties. We are happy to say that the full rollout, to over 1400 locations, is now complete.

The smart counting units detect people in the CCTV video and send the counts over the internet to the EWM server. Here it is combined with other key information including sales figures, weather conditions and staff numbers.

The Video Turnstile smart footfall counting unit

The compact Video Turnstile smart footfall counting unit

The sites are accessible remotely – so the accuracy of the footfall counts can be easily checked simply by viewing the video and the counts together. Adjustments can be made centrally via a software application for each individual store’s counts. For example, the operator can fine-tune the system to cope with shadows or reflections in particular entrances.

The Edinburgh Woollen Mill is now successfully implementing business strategies to increase performances across clusters of stores. This is resulting in larger profits and increased revenue. Data gained from the Video Turnstile footfall system is thus enabling the EWM to successfully improve sales.

For more information contact Asad Syed at

The secret to reducing queuing time by 89%

Using cameras and people counting technology, American supermarket giant Kroger has reduced queuing time for its customers from 4 minutes to just 26 seconds – according to the Kellogg School of Management’s Operations Room.

Cameras sit at the entrances and above cash registers at most of Kroger’s 2,400 stores. The system detects people entering the shop and predicts for each one how long those customers spend shopping based on time and day. It then determines the number of lanes that need to be open in 30-minute increments so supervisors can deploy cashiers accordingly.

Stores have long been able to use traffic counters to build a forecasting model of customer arrivals. Video store traffic counters, for example, are 98% accurate and can differentiate between two adults walking in and a child trailing a parent. Drawing charts over time reveals obvious patterns of how many people tend to enter the store each day and at what time. Store managers will know, for instance,  that every week at 6 pm on a Friday store traffic doubles.

Combining this data with queue monitoring – where the system logs the number of people in queues and at checkout tills – gives a model of how long shopping trips are and how they might vary by day of the week and time of day.

This is good for long term planning, but what about when an unexpected influx of customers enter the store? As systems report in real-time (ours updates every minute) and supervisors know how long people spend shopping, shortly before queues are predicted to form they can take staff off other duties like stocking shelves and deploy them on the tills.

Further Reading:
Managing Queues, the Retail Sensing system

Revealed: how testing shop window displays increases sales

Do your shop window displays attract customers? Are you sure? Video recognition technology tells you exactly how many people looked at the shop window, for how long and what percentage of them actually entered the shop. You can see the path people take round the store and when browsers turn into customers.

CCTV cameras inside and outside the shop, together with retail sensing units, provide essential business intelligence.

Video systems give over 98% accurate measurements of customer engagement and response, so retailers can improve displays and test exactly what converts browsers into buyers. Importantly, managers are also very quickly informed when shop window displays are failing to attract customers.

What are the Benefits of Retail Sensing Systems?

Video recognition technology does much more than merely counting people. A video sensing system:

  • Shows the number of shoppers stopping at the shop window and in-store displays
  • Records the length of time people gazed at displays
  • Calculates the percentage of people entering the store after examining the shop window
  • Tracks the path people take through a store
  • Produces heat maps of popular areas
  • Gives real-time and historic data
  • Integrates with the point-of-sale database to calculate sales conversion
  • Shows not only how popular displays were but whether they converted into sales
  • Lets you play back videos to examine shoppers’ behaviour
  • Enables accurate comparison of the performance of shop windows in different stores

If you would like more details on testing shop window displays and converting browsers into buyers, e-mail or call +44 (0)161 839 6437.

Why retailers miss easy opportunities to grow sales

Many retailers collect people counts, but few use the information to its full potential. Here’s why they are missing out on easy opportunities to grow sales.

It’s not the number of people going into the store on which they need to focus, but what the potential customers do when they get there.

Converting more browsers into customers, increasing the amount they spend and upping the number of items they buy can massively increase sales from the shop visitors they already have. This is achievable in just three months.

Step 1 – Collect the Data

The first step is to install a video counting system and collect data on, for example,

  • Number of people entering the store
  • The most popular areas visited by shoppers
  • Conversion rate
  • Average transaction value
  • Average number of items in a shopping basket
  • Average shopping time
  • Time until first contact between staff and customer
  • Any significant differences in values between different days of the week or hours or the day

Some Initial Data

Conversion Rate:
Average Transaction Value:
Number of items per basket:
Contact between staff & shopper:
Staff initiating 1st contact:
5.5 mins
Average shopping time:

Step 2 – Analysis

What do the figures tell us? Which can be the easiest improved? A quick glance to experienced eyes shows that both average shopping time and staff contact with customers are very low and should be easy to improve.

Step 3 – Improvements and Implementation

Average shopping time can be improved by better signs and, most importantly, good service. Focusing on the data – getting the staff to interact more with customers will bring about a longer average shopping time and increases in the key parameters of conversion rate, average transaction value and number of items per basket will follow.

Of course, the staff will have to buy into the process but incentives for raising the values over which they have direct control – like average shopping time and number of interactions between staff and shoppers – have good results. Focusing on the small details brings great improvements in the big picture.

Step 4 – Monitoring

Have the changes worked? What do the figures say now?

Data after Three Months

Conversion Rate:
Average Transaction Value:
Number of items per basket:
Contact between staff & shopper:
Staff initiating 1st contact:
7.2 mins
Average shopping time:

Step 5 – Repeat from Step 2

By now the improvements in sales will be clear and it’s not long until the people counting system has more than paid for itself. But there will be other opportunities to grow sales. The system provides continual improvements over time.

The Results

An increase in conversion rate of 2% may not sound like a lot, but it actually resulted in a 30% increase in sales. Let me explain.

An average of 404 people visited the store each day.
An 8.1% conversion rate of 404 gives 33 people buying something.

After the improvements, conversion rate rose to 10.1%.
10.1% of 404 gives 41 people buying something – 8 more people per day.

Assuming that the amount spent per person remained the same, that gives a 24% increase in sales (8/33).

But people on average spent €2 more. So the takings jumped from
33 people spending  €42 per day – €1386 to
41 people spending €44 per day – €1804

This means that the improvements resulted in an extra €418 a day being spent in the store: which is a massive 30% increase in sales.

Sales Increase per Day

Increase per day in number of people buying, spend per person and total takings – assuming that the number of people visiting the store remains the same.

To find out if we can help you increase your sales with a video people counting system, email or call +44 (0)161 839 6437

Optimising the museum visitor experience by counting people

More and more museums are installing people counting systems to track their visitors and learn…

  1. Current occupancy levels: which rooms are busiest at the moment?
  2. Which exhibits captured people’s attention, and which were neglected?
  3. Where visitors lost interest and left?
  4. How many people visited in total, how many of these went to every floor and how many went every room?
  5. How long people looked at each exhibit?
  6. Peak visitor times?
  7. Queuing times?

The real-time counts for each area means that the museum can allocate extra security guards or other staff to that exhibit. Items are more often damaged or stolen in busy rooms with few personnel on duty.

Many museums are funded by governments, and receive their funding according to how many visitors they get. Video people counting gives a true number of visitors, rather than basing the footfall figure on the number of tickets allocated (for example when a bus-load of children get in under one group ticket).

The information collected also enables museums to adapt floor layouts to increase visitor satisfaction and encourage repeat visits.

The data is not just useful for enhancing the visitor experience, they system can be used to increase sales in the museum shop.