Window displays are one of the best ways to attract passersby and convert them into paying customers. Displays have long been more of an art than a science, making it hard to gauge just how effective they really are. With visitor counting sensors you can gather hard data to determine the types of window displays that are most effective for your unique storefront.
Counting sensor technology uses a series of sensors to count and analyze a store’s visitors. By installing two sensors, one outside the store and one at the entrance, you can measure how many people walk by the store and see your window display and gather data on actual visitors. This gives a ratio known as an “entrance rate.” Combining this data with sales information from your POS system can provide an estimated conversion rate (the number of paying customers out of the total who enter) and an average guest value. All of these figures can contribute to creating, testing and confirming the most effective window displays to increase sales.
The initial goal of a window display is to increase the entrance rate – that is the number of passersby who enter the store. But, the primary goal is to convert these entrants in to paying, repeat customers. As you’ll read later, converting entrants into customers is not always met, which is why visitor counting sensors are so important. Poor sales may account for a simple lack of visitors, or possibly a high percentage of entrants not making a purchase. Your window display testing coupled with visitor counting sensors will help you diagnose this poor sales problem while also attracting more entrants: win-win!
You can determine window display effectiveness by running an experiment with both test and control and variables. By using control variables, or constants, any change in customer entry and sales can be attributed to a particular test variable, which has been changed.
Here are a 3 simple tests can help improve your entrance rates by providing valuable demographic sensor data.
Different Sales or Promotions: Keeping everything else in the display window the same, you change only the wording or details of a sale or promotion. For instance, the first window version (Version A) reads “Buy One Get One Free (of equal or lesser value).” Version B reads “50% Off Select Items.” If version A results in a higher customer entrance rate and higher subsequent purchases, this can help establish an effective ongoing promotion strategy.
Different Products, Brands or Product Categories: Are potential customers walking by your boutique more interested in shoes or dresses? Are passersby in front of your bookstore more interested in author A’s teen fiction or author B’s mystery novels? Perhaps those passing your home goods store are more in the market for new bedding than new electronics. By experimenting with these 3 variables independently and analyzing the traffic count and conversion rate results, it’s possible to get a better understanding of the typical paying customer’s interests and preferences. This knowledge can help not only the window display strategy, but in-store promotions and visual merchandising strategy, as well.
General Aesthetic: Which design appeals more to your potential customers: sleek, modern and clean colors, or intricate and detailed with bright pops of color? Again traffic counts and conversion rates will tell the store. This type of information can be a part of a larger, more consistent branding effort across the store interior and décor, advertisements, and other branded materials.
Now let’s look at 7 ways your window display testing data can be used to increase your entrance rate.
Following the Changing Trends
It is useful to repeat the window display test periodically. Seasonal industries like fashion are especially interested in updating their displays to best suit their customer base’s ever-changing tastes. It can also be useful to guide, predict or adapt to the “latest and greatest” products.
Sometimes an avant-garde style window display can be more effective than straight forward or conventional product presentation. In fact, consumers often tend to subconsciously block out anything that resembles a typical ad or conventional display. So it may be wise to consider a unique display design that serves almost as an installation of public art. An atypical use of your lead product (such as Christmas trees made of stacks of products) or a minimalistic design can draw in customer eyes because these displays stand out among the white noise of typical visual ads.
Closing the Deal
In some cases, a window display can bring in more people without converting these potential customers into sales. The display has done its job, as confirmed by increased visitor counts, but now a conversion problem has been discovered. Are the prices too high? Is the product out of stock? Are there too few sales associated on the floor? These are crucial issues which are often present when a lack of sales is attributed to a simple lack of customers instead of a low conversion rate given the actual number of visitors to the store. With visitor counting and internal store data, it’s now possible to diagnose and correct these problems to attain both higher entrance rates and higher sales.
Adding in Drive-By Potential
A window display that has been created using visitor counts and conversion rate can take advantage of more than just those walking past your store. It can also reach those driving by, particularly when a storefront is within view of a street or parking lot.
Many consumers park in front of the store they plan to enter and may not do much, if any, window-shopping. However, if their attention is caught by a well-designed and targeted window display, they may be likely to make an extra stop. Thus the passerby and visitor count can drive store traffic from those driving by the store.
Customized Location Advertising
For those businesses with more than one location, it’s all too easy to use a “flagship model” in which one location’s experience is assumed to be the same across all of the locations. However, even two businesses in the same small town can see completely different demographics in their passersby. With people counting sensors, it’s efficient and easy to tailor window displays based on the profile of shoppers entering the store and their unique needs.
Businesses with multiple locations can greatly benefit from calculating and benchmarking their entrance and conversion rates. As just one example, a store that is average in sales may actually have an entrance rate face below the average of all location. In this case, a store is operating below its full potential, even though it looks to be on par based on sales alone. The tested window display test methodology can help increase the entrance rate to approach the benchmark.
Scouting New Locations
Visitor counting sensors can test new potential locations before expansion. Installing a sensor near a potential new entrance can estimate total passersby and thus project sales using the entrance rates, conversion rates, and average value per transaction determined from window display tests. This is especially useful data for those of you seeking an investment to expand.
While collecting data over time, you can begin seeing trends that can be applied to forecast potential new location performance. Setting up a people counter in a potential location for a week can provide a glimpse into potential traffic. By using the amount of people you count in a week or two with your counter, you can apply your store performance averages such as conversion rate and average transaction value to estimate sales and make an informed decision on the location you are considering for a new store.
Gone are the days of guesstimating the effectiveness of a new window display. Visitor counting sensors provide accurate counts of the number of people who pass by a storefront as well as those who choose to enter. When a new display is installed, an increase or decrease in this entrance rate is key to identifying which marketing strategies work—and which don’t.
Repeated display tests can help narrow down the most effective combination of window display properties, from the wording of sales and promotions, the colors and aesthetic appeal of the display, the product categories or competing brands, and even the language of written ads. All of these pieces of window display become finely tuned, leading to more people entering and, more importantly, more happy customers leaving with their new purchases. All of which, of course, means more profit for your bottom line.