analyse du parcours et comptage des clients

What analytics and counting solutions for retail in 2023 ?

As a result of the lockdown, online stores have experienced an unprecedented boom to the detriment of retail, which has suffered deeply. The historical players of physical commerce have seen this new competition strengthen and disrupt the way they work. To survive, they have had to find new tools to face these difficulties.

The democratization of artificial intelligence and predictive algorithms for consumer use has revolutionized the way we can collect data in real time, giving power back to brick and mortar stores in the face of online businesses.  

One of the best technologies available to you, the retailer, to better manage your store is people counting and customer journey analysis.

There is a multitude of solutions to collect and process this data, so how should you choose? What are the most appropriate solutions for your needs in 2023?

This article aims to give you an overview of these solutions so that you can find the one that will be the most adapted to your needs.

Counting with a connected sensor

The first way to collect data is to use connected sensors or counting boxes. There are several types that we will present here.

The infrared sensor

compteur personnes infrarouge

The infrared sensor is the one that has been historically the most used. It allows to count in a very simple way the number of people entering or leaving a store thanks to a sensor placed at the entry points. The counting is done thanks to an infrared laser beam that counts an entry when it is cut off when a customer passes.

This solution has several advantages:

  • They can run on batteries and therefore do not require electrical connections.
  • Their format is relatively compact and therefore allows a discreet installation
  • These boxes are inexpensive since they are relatively basic
  • They do not require advanced skills to use
  • The metering is anonymous

However, it has some disadvantages:

  • The sensors can only count entries and exits since they count with a beam and therefore give you relatively limited data
  • It does not give you access to more advanced features like other sensors.
  • Counting is not accurate and not suitable for multiple entries: when groups or multiple people pass through simultaneously, 
  • The sensor is overwhelmed and cannot accurately count the number of entries.
  • The size of the entrance that can be covered is relatively small

The thermal sensor

One of the evolutions of infrared sensors is the thermal sensor. It will allow you to count at the entry points of your stores but this time in a much more precise way.

You will be able to count the number of group entries in your stores and the number of individual entries, in a very precise way this time, since the sensor is placed above the entry and is thus not affected by the simultaneous entry of customers.

The advantages of this solution:

  • The data collected is accurate
  • The counting is done in an anonymous way
  • The installation can be less expensive than installing cameras and if it is battery operated, the sensor does not require electrical installation.
  • These sensors can cover larger entrances


Disadvantages of this solution:

  • These boxes can be relatively expensive
  • The boxes are quite imposing and not very discreet
  • The data collected is limited, you can only know the number of entries and exits, they do not allow you to better know your prospects

Counting with a camera

Cameras are already very often present in stores, especially for surveillance in a security purpose for a boutique. However, they can now be used for a new purpose: to better know your customers and follow the performance of your point of sale.

There is a multitude of solutions on the market giving you different levels of knowledge on your data.

Surveillance camera feed analysis.

The first and simplest solution is to analyze the flow of your surveillance cameras.

If your store is already equipped with this kind of system, you can use software that allows you to analyze these video streams to get information about your business.

The installation of this solution does not require any expensive investment since you have already invested in your cameras. However, you will have to make sure that your cameras have a sufficient image quality and that they cover your entire point of sale. Finally, you will have to subscribe to the analysis software which can be relatively expensive and not very accurate if your installation is not perfect.

This solution, covering the whole store, will allow you to follow the path of your customers in your store and thus to be able to draw information helping you to make better commercial decisions.

The advantages of this solution :

  • The accuracy of the data: if your installation is well done, you will be able to accurately count the entrances and exits of your store but also, follow the path of your customers
  • The accessible data is much more numerous and the processing can allow you to extract more complex information than a simple count
  • You don’t have to pay for the installation of cameras if you are already equipped with them

The disadvantages of this solution:

  • The cost of subscriptions is often high
  • The data processing is done online on servers that you do not own, which causes a data management problem.
  •  The installation of cameras is very expensive if you do not have a sufficient or well configured surveillance system.
  • The Big Brother aspect, (surveillance with cameras) can negatively impact the user experience.

Video analysis boxes

Video analytics boxes are an all-in-one solution that will allow you to access rich data with a simple, discreet and compact tool.

All-in-one solutions such as the IVStore represent a real revolution for the retail world since they give back the control to retailers, whatever their size, thanks to artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Their wide-angle camera allows them to be placed on the ceiling of your store and cover a much larger area than traditional video stream analytics solutions, allowing you to follow your customers’ journey from their entry into the store to their checkout and thus better understand their path and needs.


  • Accuracy and richness of data: once your box is installed, the solution will be able to autonomously process counting and analysis data to offer you valuable insights.
  • Respect for customer privacy and the GDPR: the data is processed directly on the box and anonymized in order to offer you a segmentation of your customers while respecting their consent to reduce friction points
  • The boxes are small, compact and discreet and you don’t need dome type surveillance cameras that can oppress your customers and give them the feeling of being spied on.  


  • The installation of this box requires the installation of power cables, which can sometimes be expensive depending on the surface to cover.
  • The cost of the subscription to these solutions can sometimes be an obstacle

If you want to discover how this technology can help you on a daily basis and boost your business: Come and discover the IVS 


Discover the counting and analysis solution that will boost your sales

Counting with a beacon

The beacons are small compact boxes that will connect to your customers’ phones in order to know them better. They will connect via bluetooth and wifi to be able to count the entries and recognize a customer at certain specific points of your store.

Counting using bluetooth

Bluetooth beacons are traditionally used as proximity marketing tools to send notifications to your customers when they are within a certain radius of your store.

These devices can also be used to count people entering the store when they have their phone with them.

The advantage of this solution:

  • This solution is particularly suitable for large spaces such as shopping malls or other public facilities that can accommodate a large customer base.
  • Tracking allows you to access the recurrence of the customers’ visit without having them download your application (only outside the European Union) 
  • Beacons are very easy to install since they do not require any internet connection and run on batteries. You can then hide them so that they are not seen.

The disadvantage of this solution:

  • Tracking is very approximate and customers may not be detected or may be detected very approximately because we cannot know the radius in which they are located.
  • The detection of the recurrence of visitors does not respect the GDPR since it stores the MAC addresses of their devices.
  • To push notifications, you must make your customers download an app

Counting using wifi

The wifi beacons are sensors that will take advantage of the fact that users tend to leave the wifi active on their cell phone. The tracker will then detect the cell phone and will be able to count the entrance of a customer.

These solutions, which can cover large areas, are quite interesting for shopping malls or other large spaces where the flow of passers-by is more important.

The advantages of this solution:

  • This type of sensor detects users without having to ask for their consent
  • The surface covered by the sensor is very large and only one sensor is needed in most cases
  • The box is very easy to install
  • You have access to the recurrence of customer visits

Disadvantages of beacons:

  • Beacons do not respect the GDPR in case they detect a device through wifi without asking for consent and without using an application
  • The tracking is very approximative and if people don’t use a cell phone or if they have switched off their wifi, the counting is impossible and your customers becomes invisible to the sensor
  • The price of beacons can be relatively high 
  • With the anonymization of the Mac address launched by Apple, the relevance of this technology is questioned
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