Best Ways to Automate Retail Store Occupancy Monitoring

COVID-19 has forever altered the way consumers shop and retail stores run daily operations. Retail store occupancy monitoring has become paramount in keeping store guests safe and healthy while they continue to enjoy the in-store buying experience.

At the beginning of the pandemic, many retailers had to improvise their live occupancy monitoring by placing a human gate-keeper at the store entrance. While an effective temporary safety solution, “analog” occupancy monitoring has several long-term drawbacks.

Discovering ways to continually uplevel store occupancy monitoring helps retailers surf the waves of a changing retail sea. Automated occupancy monitoring can be simple, cost-effective, and easily integrated into your operations.

Storeworks is your store automation partner from strategy to implementation and beyond. Contact us today to discover the occupancy monitoring solutions that will keep your store guests and staff safe while placing customer experience first.

Retailers need live and accurate occupancy data

A red sign with social distance text showing the amouont of customers that can be in the store at one time for a pandemic shopping idea.Of course, occupancy monitoring is nothing new. All stores have had to comply with fire-safety occupancy limits for decades. Before the pandemic, though, shoppers rarely approached those limits in-store, unless a spectacular Black Friday sale wooed consumers to a particular location en masse.

Social distancing guidelines and expanded local regulations have pushed the need for occupancy monitoring to a unique and evolving stringency. While it can work to post a staff person at the door with a manual counter, automation is the way to go in the long term.

The downsides of manual occupancy monitoring may be obvious:

  • It’s expensive: why employ a human “bouncer” at your door when it’s not in your business model to do so? Your sales staff should focus on sales and in-store customer experience, not gate-keeping. 
  • It’s cumbersome: A team member controlling customer traffic is a weak link in the customer experience chain. Your human team should focus on welcoming and serving your guests, rather than telling them they have to wait to come inside or bombard them with store safety regulations and heavy-handed directives for their time in the store.

Inform, guide, and up-level with occupation monitoring automation

Picture of a white dome security camera above a store sales floor with customers belowAutomating this key element of consumer safety and compliance means you stay free to maintain and improve in-store visits for your loyal guests. It’s best to get help procuring a system that fits your needs, stays ahead of your challenges, and nestles into your budget.

Here are some hardware and software solutions you’ll need to consider:

  1. Multi-tasking camera-sensors: These cameras can mount on ceilings, in corners, and on walls to give you a bird’s eye view of changing guest numbers in any location within your store. Unlike regular security cameras, these devices give you continual customer traffic reporting and precise data on guest entrances and exits from stores, and even select departments. Further, some systems feature “master cameras” that tally and integrate the data from all the other location cameras. You get a full picture of who’s in your store without necessarily having to purchase extensive software systems to manage all your data sources.
  2. Mobile integration: Choosing a system that lets you leverage your existing mobility solutions can help your staff manage occupancy nimbly, in-the-moment. Occupancy data can upload to your team’s mobile screens and provide occupancy alerts, allowing your staff to remain responsive when customer counts reach mandated limits. Such a counting app keeps you ahead of customer traffic surges so you can communicate more effectively with staff and guests via digital signage and mobile solutions.
  3. Accurate reporting: You will indeed need to consider daily occupancy alerts, as well as predictive analytics, so you can anticipate customer rushes and manage guest and staff communications with ease and efficiency. Automated occupancy monitoring can help you see trends before they happen so that you can adjust your messaging to staff and customers accordingly. After all, a satisfied and loyal customer is usually an informed one.
  4. Digital signage: Integrating your occupancy monitoring system with customers and staff-facing reporting tools can help you manage questions and concerns from all the humans in your store before they happen. For a successful store occupancy monitoring upgrade, many of your automation systems must communicate effectively with each other. Ensuring you have the proper software platforms in place is crucial to the efficacy of implementation.

Choosing the system that works best

Trying to DIY store occupancy implementation in-house may pull you away from other essential operations. It’s crucial to get help from a store automation specialist to navigate the market’s extensive automation choices. Here’s how that process unfolds at Storeworks.

  • Consultation: We are a niche expert in retail technology, and we can help you find the right store automation solutions at a fraction of the cost and time of doing it on your own. 
  • Staff team extension: We provide all the personnel needed to curate and implement your project on time.
  • Project management: Our team ensures timely execution of all steps in the upgrade, working directly with all your stakeholders. From proof of concept to lab testing, pilot roll-outs, and chain-wide implementation, we oversee your occupancy monitoring installation from end-to-end. We use an extensive list of trusted technology and software partners we’ve vetted for reliability, functionality, and price. One of our store occupancy partners is RetailNext for their innovative products and systems.
  • Maintenance: When you select a partner like Storeworks, post-rollout challenges need not be a concern. Our comprehensive services include trouble-shooting, in-field repairs, and lifetime solution support. Indeed, we’ll ensure your system operates without interruption, so your staff can focus on customer service and guest experience.

Remain a customer favorite for safety and service

Beautiful woman in red shirt and white pants walking with shopping bags in front of storefrontIn a post-pandemic culture, customers will still place a premium on health and safety in-store. Stores that prioritize those safety measures can win with their customer base and expand their audience.

When shoppers can trust that you put their safety first while providing a satisfying, uninterrupted in-store experience, they return reliably. 

Your occupancy monitoring practices can be invisible and effective for every guest you serve. Integrating your occupancy messaging seamlessly into your stores can help staff and guests alike preserve the shopping experience they love.

Storeworks is your number-one partner to bring this crucial part of your operations to a new level of professionalism and ROI. Contact us today to discover the store occupancy monitoring strategy and solutions that work across your entire brand.