September 12, 2008, 12:00 AM

How store traffic monitoring boosts sales at Virgin Mega Stores

With an Internet-based store traffic monitoring system that combines traffic and sales data, Virgin Mega Stores boosted sales by better matching store personnel and promotions to traffic patterns, the retailer says.

After implementing an Internet-based store traffic monitoring system that combines traffic and sales data, Virgin Mega Stores increased sales by several million dollars during the first 18 weeks by better matching store personnel and promotions to traffic patterns, says Robert Fort, chief information officer and senior vice president of information technology.

Virgin has used the system-based on Internet-connected traffic monitoring cameras from ShopperTrak RCT Corp. and an in-house database that combines store traffic and sales data-to better manage store sales clerks and product promotions to the swings in visitor traffic, Fort says.

One store manager was surprised, for example, when the traffic monitoring system showed a sharp increase in store visitors every weekday around 6 p.m. But after he thought about daily traffic patterns, the manager realized that the uptick in visitors was probably related to people passing through his store, which was near a commuter subway line, on their way home from work.

The store manager responded by adding an extra salesperson during that after-work time period and rearranged the entire store staff to accommodate shoppers in a hurry. “The store shifted personnel to the front of the store so they could address the quick in-and-out commuter on her way home from work,” Fort says.

Such tactics have produced substantial increases in store sales, he adds. After Virgin first implemented the traffic-monitoring system in the fall of 2004 at the start of that year’s holiday shopping season, the steps stores took to better align personnel and promotions with store traffic led to several million dollars in year-over-year sales increases across the 24 stores in operation during the first 18 weeks the system was in place, Fort says.

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