September 28, 2020 | Enzo Signore
Today’s retail management function is much more than simply making sure shelves are stocked and stores are staffed. It’s about understanding, managing, and maximizing traffic patterns in retail stores, shopping malls, and other locations. The idea is to truly understand customer preferences and deliver a positive shopping experience. That means knowing what products customers are looking for, what their movement trends are in stores, and how to capitalize on every square foot of retail space available.
Online retailers have long had the technology to understand customer journeys and habits. Brick and mortal shops, however, have had to largely rely on sales reports and instinct to understand the most popular spots in their stores, areas that are underutilized, and how layout may be impacting traffic flow and sales.
Now, those traditional retailers have access to technology that helps them more efficiently and effectively manage their locations, something that has become even more important as they look to provide safe environments for their customers in the wake of the pandemic.
LiDAR technology leverages more than a million light pulses per second that reflect off surfaces – including people – to create complete 3D perspectives of any scene and identify individual shoppers in retail locations. A LiDAR-based system assigns a unique digital ID to each shopper with no images, video, or other personal data attached, and is able to track that individual throughout the location anonymously. Quanergy’s solution adds an Automated ID Handover™ feature, which enables seamless handoff of the digital IDs from one sensor to another for maximum accuracy across very large shopping centers.
Flow management – LiDAR sensors not only identify shoppers, but also their movement. By tracking shoppers’ movement, retail managers can better understand traffic flows and identify high-profile areas, as well as low-traffic locations. Traffic patterns can also help identify relationships between products within stores, or between different stores in a mall, which might otherwise not be obvious. By understanding the actual paths customers take, retailers develop a better understanding of how to maximize store layouts and other resources based on data.
Occupancy – Today, it’s more important than ever to understand how many people are in a retail location, with capacities typically well below normal limits. Tracking and monitoring shoppers when they enter and move through stores allows management to always have accurate, real-time occupancy data for compliance – without having to retain employees to stand at entrances to manually count shoppers entering and leaving. An accurate count of the number of shoppers that enter a store is also critically important to calculate the store convertion rates, by correlating it to the number of transactions completed. By measuring it hourly, daily and seasonally store managers can determine opportunities for revenue growths, and compare store to store performance. It also provides data to better manage staffing resources by understanding peak and low periods.
Distancing – Under current conditions, ensuring shoppers and staff follow distancing mandates is also a key component of retail management. With their accuracy, LiDAR sensors can not only identify individuals, but determine their spacing to trigger warnings if people are too close to each other. This allows management, security personnel, or others to politely remind people of existing distancing requirements and to provide a safe environment for everyone.
With available LiDAR technology, retail managers now have access to technology that can deliver highly accurate data to help them better understand their operations and customers. By deploying LiDAR solutions, which pose zero PII risk since they don’t use facial recognition technologies and work under any lighting conditions, they have an opportunity to not only create better customer experiences and maximize their physical space and staffing resources, but also have better control over health and safety compliance.
For more information on how Quanergy’s LiDAR solutions, including our Flow Management Platform, can be applied in a wide range of applications, including enhancing security measures, connect with us here.