People-Counting Technology for Businesses: An Entrepreneur’s Guide


The need for accurate and reliable people-counting technology for businesses has become more critical than ever.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, customer behavior has significantly changed. For businesses in different industries like retail establishments, hotels, airports, malls, gas stations, banks, and museums to become successful, optimizing visitor conversion rates is a must. And to start the optimization process, gaining insights regarding visitor data is necessary to understand today’s customer shopping behaviors better. 

This is where customer counters come into play.

People counters measure footfall traffic to help business owners or managers make informed decisions. The counters are used to deal with traffic congestion, occupancy management, staffing optimization, and asset management.

If you want to employ people-counting technology in your business establishment, it is crucial to understand how this system works and what its benefits to your organization are.

How does people-counting technology work?

People counters are installed at key points, usually at the entrances, to monitor the number of people passing by a particular threshold.

Though most visitor counters are simple to operate, they can get confusing because there are different options to choose from.

  • Thermal – This uses a person’s body heat to monitor footfall traffic. It creates images using infrared radiation, the same way a camera transforms images using visible light. Crowded groups may reduce the accuracy of this people-counting device because it can’t differentiate objects from human beings. It might also be unable to discern adults from children. And though it can count even in no-light conditions, it requires more sensors because of its low field.
  • Wi-Fi – This type varies in size and works only when the Wi-Fi is enabled, or if there is access to it.
  • 2D Mono – This uses one camera lens for counting. It is installed top-down to detect moving objects. But since it lacks vision depth, all moving things are counted. Thus, this kind of counter works best in low-traffic areas where lighting is consistent and bright.
  • Time-of-flight – This works by sending a signal to objects underneath the sensor and counting the reflection that bounces back. Signals like laser, infrared, and ultrasound measure the distance between an object and a sensor.
  • 3D Stereo – This refers to the extraction of three-dimensional information from images. It has vision depth, allowing the cameras to omit objects that do not meet the pre-calibrated height requirements.

What are the advantageous capabilities of people-counting systems?

The beneficial functions of installing a people-counting system in your business establishment, be it a retail store, a supermarket, or a mall, are numerous:

Monitors the number of store visitors

Capturing the flow of visitors entering your store for a certain period of time is the primary function of people counters. This can help determine the real-time in-store activity.

Assesses customer behavior at the location

By observing how people move inside the store, you can have a better understanding of how your customers behave. This may include dwell time, walkaways, and conversions.  

Though the measurements obtained by people-counting technologies are general, the acquired data can offer pertinent marketing insights that you can use to create better and well-informed business decisions.  

For instance, being aware of the flow of customer traffic can help you set up promotions and merchandise in the correct places. You can even prevent bottlenecks in specific areas by spreading out the in-demand supplies across different parts of the store.

Obtains live data

Non-behavioral data is also valuable. If you know your store’s lowest-performing hours and peak times, you can come up with better operational decisions. For instance, predictive occupancy analytics can help you determine staff shifts, schedules, and the number of on-site staff.

Manages the location’s occupancy level

People counting technologies can help you manage the number of visitors inside the store. They show real-time occupancy numbers.

Depending on the system you choose, you may set up an occupancy threshold. This way, it can automatically notify you and your team if the capacity level is at maximum or exceeded. This feature is crucial in today’s global situation, where social distancing is generally recommended to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Alerts management when a particular condition is met

Besides sending a notification when the occupancy level is at a maximum, people counters can also alert the management when a customer with a high body temperature enters the establishment. This way, proper measures can be taken to remedy the situation.

Respects customers’ anonymity

People counters respect customer privacy. They don’t capture your visitors’ faces because the recording is often done through non-visual means or from above.

The retail industry uses different tech solutions to ensure that all operations run efficiently and smoothly. Besides security cameras, RFID security tags, and retail POS systems, they also install reliable people-counting technology.

To truly reap the benefits of a people counter, aim to work with a trusted solution provider of footfall counters and people-counting devices. The correct system can serve as the foundation for data collection and analyses. Most importantly, it can facilitate smooth workflows and communicate with other essential business systems to ensure business growth and success, even amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.