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What makes crowd management solutions useful in retail?

What makes crowd management solutions useful in retail?
Crowd management solutions have become more and more popular amid user demand to keep their venues from becoming overcrowded. Applications include smart cities and stadiums. Increasingly, crowd management is demanded by retailers as well.
Crowd management solutions have become more and more popular amid user demand to keep their venues from becoming overcrowded. Applications include smart cities and stadiums. Increasingly, crowd management is demanded by retailers as well.
The growth of crowd management solutions is not to be ignored. In a recent report by Allied Market Research, the global market for crowd analytics was valued at US$331 million in 2015 and is estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 24.9 percent to reach at $1.5 billion by 2022.
According to the report, the Asia-Pacific is expected to grow at a highest CAGR in the forecast period, and a primary driver is retail. “Expansion of global brands and increase in expenditures by citizens of the several emerging countries, such as China, India, Australia and others, have led to growth in the number of visitors at commercial malls,” the report noted. “Industry participants have realized the importance of strengthening the overall crowd analytics market due to growth in need for public and crowd control management at large retail malls.”
So how does crowd management by way of video analytics benefit retailers? A recent blog post by eInfochips provided a few details.
“What does a retail shopper want? The list would be a lengthy one, but a few of the factors will be common in every consumer’s answer to this question. These factors are a minimal wait time, best prices, plenty of options, and no rush,” it said. “Video analytics help retailers enhance the customer shopping experience by reducing customer service time, ensuring ease of shopping, avoiding overcrowding and providing best prices and buying options.”

Various benefits

According to the post, crowd management analytics can help retailers with the following:

Queue management: Queue management algorithms provide the count of people in the queue along with the estimated wait time for each person. “At the same time, it can calculate the delay in servicing for a particular queue. This helps to pin down any issues, to optimize the total number of queues, and to reshuffle the customers between queues for quicker billing,” the post said.

Staff-to-consumer ratio and staff productivity: Video analytics helps differentiate the staff from the visitors based on certain dress code detection along with some other methods. According to the post, this helps to derive the staff to consumer ratio and helps reallocation of staff within the store to minimize the service time and enhance the assisted shopping experience.

Aisle management: Video analytics data pertaining to crowd behavior analysis (such as heat maps and footfall analysis) combined with BI can be used to derive conversion rate for a particular product or for a particular store area, thus helping in aisle management. This results in avoidance of overcrowded areas and ensures a pleasant shopping experience, the post said.

Product placement: The heat map, crowd monitoring and conversion rate help in logical product placement, which not just provides an ease of shopping but also is an important store management metric, according to the post.  

Also according to the post, analytics can help retailers in other ways, for example smart shelves. “Smart shelves are utilized for focused advertising based on the liking of the consumers as well as to provide information regarding the products on and around the shelf area. This not only helps customers with multiple options similar to what they are buying without having to explore but also provides them with the best prices available across the brands. This caters to the wish list of a typical shopper by providing multiple options and best prices,” it said.

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