Friday 6 September 2013

Counting Customers Goes Mobile

Counting your customers is an important performance indicator for shopping centres as they map retail trends and configure their centres for customer needs.

There are many ways of counting your customers, from handheld counters, through infra red  monitors, and CCTV type cameras with suitable software. But the latest technology utilises mobile phones. Customer movements are recorded by tracking wi-fi or network signals given off by phones. The system doesn’t record any information contained in the actual phones and the service providers say that phone owners stay completely anonymous. This type of technology was used to estimate crowd numbers at New Years Eve celebrations and this year’s Moomba festival.

Queen Victoria Market has a counting system but it is described as being only useful for giving broad guidance to actual customers numbers. When traders representatives have compared the system’s count with actual hand counts, it has proved unreliable. But imagine a mobile phone counter that not only accurately counted customers but also tracked their movement around our complex maze of entrances, aisles, sheds and halls. Do customers in the top end actually do the “S” up and down the aisles? How many customers use our car park? There is much to be learned.