While COVID-19 initially shuttered businesses across industries, physical stores such as retail and grocery are finally looking forward to reopening. Of course, this means prioritizing the safety of employees and shoppers, figuring out strategies that keep customer experience top of mind and give employees the tools to keep everyone safe and properly distanced. Guidance varies, but many phased retail store reopenings come with new requirements to track and limit the number of in-store customers as part of business occupancy restrictions.

In the UK, as the High Street (the main commercial retail and business district) reopens, consumers are wary of entering physical shops according to a Fashion Network survey. The survey also shows that new forms of delivery and new technology — including consumer convenience technology — will become ever more important. While regulations and government guidelines vary by country, regionally, even at the local level, overwhelmingly social distancing is being enforced. This distancing starts with queuing at the entry doors, to directional in-aisle restrictions, checkout aisle distancing and monitoring the store exit flow.

To stay compliant with the guidance, retailers and store managers need a people counting system, strategy or solution that provides the measurement of shoppers and employees in their retail space and queued outside with the highest possible accuracy. Ideally, the information and data on in-store occupancy is collected and reported in real time, and then effectively communicated throughout the store, to customers and sales associates alike. Enter digital signage. When in-store occupancy measurement is tied to digital signage throughout the store, shoppers are better informed of wait times and reassured of in-store conditions — key aspects of a positive customer experience — while employees are given the tools to ensure accuracy and safety.

A recent study showed that shoppers in general are looking for in-store safety measures to be in place. It’s important for stores to listen to their customers and adapt when possible to make shoppers feel safe. One way to do this is to reallocate customer-facing employees where possible. While hiring a door person may work for your local bar or as an initial, quickly implemented solution to monitoring in-store occupancy, there are smart ways to use technology to ensure your business is compliant and safe while freeing up existing staff for customer experience tasks rather than head counting.

Walkbase IntelliCount Occupancy Management Technology

According to Retail TouchPoints, 84% of purchases still go through brick-and-mortar stores. Further, shoppers are likely missing in-store shopping experiences — 16.7% of US adults said they would shop more often at physical stores after the coronavirus pandemic is resolved, per Business Insider Intelligence. In response to updated government guidance to in-store capacity limits, we launched the sensor-based Walkbase IntelliCount occupancy management technology, part of our retail analytics and marketing platform Walkbase. Using sensor technology to monitor footfall traffic is nothing new to applying Walkbase technology. This traffic counting solution has been effective in the field for more than ten years in thousands of locations, and it now has a new application as a critical COVID-19 technology solution for stores. IntelliCount is immediately available to support business capacity needs. With broad applicability (grocery and retail stores, banks, transportation hubs, convenience stores and more) and extended audience intelligence capability, this occupancy management software is a useful investment for many businesses, but especially so in these early days of reopening essential and one-step-removed from essential businesses.

Using 3D footfall cameras, cloud analytics and a mobile-friendly dashboard, IntelliCount provides a comprehensive people counting system that delivers accurate counts and data reliability while saving cost over time compared to manual methods. Longer term, when paired with other digital marketing technology, the data gathered doubles its utility by helping you understand your business foot traffic to inform in-store marketing efforts moving forward.

Scala fully understands the marketplace and market conditions across industries, including groceries, restaurants and other retail outlets impacted by in-store capacity limits. As leaders in retail technology and part of the STRATACACHE family of marketing technology companies, we’re able to apply or pivot existing digital solutions and bring them to market at scale to meet business’ needs.

How IntelliCount Supports Store Capacity Efforts During Coronavirus

For retailers facing unfamiliar business operating circumstances, IntelliCount provides a mature, proven solution that optimizes customer experience while meeting compliance needs. STRATACACHE teams globally deliver improved customer experience strategies and are equipped to quickly bring this new solution to bear in the market. So how does IntelliCount support store capacity efforts during Coronavirus?

  • Accuracy - Get quick and accurate reads of in-store occupancy
  • Efficiency - Improve efficiency by freeing up staff from head counting to take on other important store operation tasks
  • Simplicity - A mobile-friendly dashboard and easily accessible URL make managing the technology easy
  • Timeliness - Stay on top of in-store capacity limits with email and push notifications set to alert staff

What’s more, IntelliCount is scalable and integrates with existing technologies for maximum utility. To further improve convenience and safety, this people counting system can supplement store systems as well as work with digital signs and back-of-house dashboards for a comprehensive digital marketing solution.

Integrating IntelliCount footfall data with these other solutions makes for an advanced post-pandemic customer engagement strategy. For deeper customer engagement and information output, this solution can be expanded. When used in tandem with digital signage, your business can mount customer- and employee-facing displays to share updates on wait-times, current store capacity and safety procedures. To better understand and address business operations, this occupancy management software provides reporting and dashboards based on insights such as customer behavior and preferences. And for a truly integrated experience, Walkbase will work with existing operations dashboards, automated door technology and queuing systems. An integrated, sensor-based insights solution is the key to a deeper understanding of your business and, ultimately, optimized customer service.

Why Partner with Scala?

While the number of businesses able to operate during the global pandemic is increasing alongside phased re-openings, operating in reduced capacity scenarios is new territory. Managing in-store operations around slim capacity caps means an overhaul of customer interaction strategy, and the right digital technology to execute it well.

Enter Scala, a STRATACACHE company with over 30 years of experience in digital signage solutions and optimizing customer engagement across industries. Restaurants, grocery and retail stores re-entering a transformed business world need partners who understand the landscape. We fully understand these industries and, importantly, the market they operate within.

In the best of times, we’re on top of emerging trends and policies in business, and in this unprecedented moment, it’s more important than ever that we stay informed so we can better support our partners. We develop bleeding edge technologies that streamline a brand’s ability to meet the evolving demands of the market.