(Photo: PEARL PEOPLE COUNTER)
If you’re in the market for a people counting system, you may be struggling to figure out which people counting company you should be, well, counting on.
Indeed, choosing a people counting system isn’t as straightforward as selecting between an Apple, Google or Windows-based product or even asking your favourite car buff about your next wheels; type “people counter” on your computer, and you’ll be greeted by so many brands and just as many ads vying for your attention.
Never one to back down from a challenge, our Tech Times team narrowed down the people counting industry’s offerings based on critical factors, including:
- accuracy and consistency
- ease of use and implementation
- range of features
- user satisfaction and customer experience
The ultimate goals for working with a people counting system are to swiftly collect footfall data and profit from business insights — whether you’re in retail, real estate, event venues, libraries, or other public locations.
That’s why we paid close attention to each people counting solution’s ability to integrate people counting hardware (the actual sensor) with a full-fledged analytics platform (the software part of a people counting system).
What’s more, we also considered the system’s ability to integrate with third-party apps and software.
One name in particular kept coming up during our market research: SMS Storetraffic. On account of their continued presence in the people counting industry, customer satisfaction scores and well-established reputation, we decided to take a more in-depth look at SMS Storetraffic’s latest people counting system offering.
You can learn more about our experience with SMS Storetraffic’s people counting system in our Tech Times review below.
SMS Storetraffic’s PEARL, 3D SCOPE II LC and T.M.A.S. people counting technology
SMS Storetraffic pioneered people counting systems in the retail industry. Look beyond the “Storetraffic” brand name, however, and you’ll see the company also caters to the people counting needs for corporate real estate, hospitality, event venues, libraries, museums, and others.
SMS Storetraffic is also behind the Retail Equation Simulator, a tool that allows retailers to understand and improve their performance by looking beyond the sales numbers.
SMS Storetraffic develops and manufactures people counter devices (hardware) and their in-house analytics platform (software). This approach, they say, allows them to uphold quality standards.
Beyond their hardware and software, however, we reckon that what stands out about SMS Storetraffic is the seamlessness with which components of their people counting system came together during our tests, regardless of the two people counter devices they offer — more on that in a minute.
Asked about their products, SMS Storetraffic’s team repeatedly mentions simplicity and transparency when referring to their user- and customer-experience benchmarks.
We gather that this “simplicity mantra” begins with people counting devices, since SMS Storetraffic offers two types of people counter sensors only: the lower-cost wireless PEARL people counter, and the higher-end AI-powered 3D SCOPE II LC people counter.
In focusing on fewer types of people counter devices, SMS Storetraffic say they can cover the gamut of people counting needs, from basic footfall situations for smaller clients to more complex foot traffic patterns for larger clients.
The same philosophy likely applies to their analytics platform since they keep options to a minimum as well. Users can rely on an app or web-based software.
That web-based software is called T.M.A.S. It’s SMS Storetraffic’s analytics platform for footfall data.
Despite its unfortunate name — they should really develop a better product name — T.M.A.S. performed flawlessly during tests. The software is intuitive and was easy to connect with either one of SMS Storetraffic’s people counter devices (PEARL or 3D SCOPE II LC).
(Photo: T.M.A.S. ANALYTICS PLATFORM)
SMS Storetraffic offers clients four people counting plans, three of which are connected to the T.M.A.S. analytics platform — the Standard, Retail and Real-Time plans.
The fourth plan is actually SMS Storetraffic’s basic plan. It’s called Lite, and it comes with an app that allows users to consult fundamental footfall metrics from anywhere. Both the Lite plan and the Storetraffic app are free. Bonus points for that.
Also: SMS Storetraffic recently increased their app’s features. It now connects with either one of the four people counting plans and allows users to access several features from the T.M.A.S. analytics platform directly on the app. We’d like it even more if all the features were available directly on the app. Hopefully, SMS Storetraffic will make these available soon.
SMS Storetraffic is adamant that they oversee their people counting solution’s entire development and implementation process. Is that just marketing speak or an actual business advantage? We can’t say for sure.
What we can attest to is the effectiveness of their people counting system and the seamlessness of the user experience. It does feel like they ironed out any kinks.
Should there be issues, however, we like that current or potential SMS Storetraffic clients can chat with the in-house technical team directly — or if a chat won’t do, book support sessions according to their personal schedules — seriously: why don’t more companies do this?
SMS Storetraffic also makes it a point to highlight that their onboarding service is “free and with real humans” — which we gather is their way of saying “no bots or third-party customer support.”
Here are the main takeaways from our review of SMS Storetraffic’s people counter system.
#1 Two bidirectional people counters are available
> Tech Times likes: both devices count people anonymously.
Because it’s entirely wireless (Wi-Fi and battery-operated), PEARL is arguably one of the easiest people counter devices to install. Zero wires. We were up and running quickly. To install, you peel off the protective film and stick to the entryway (or fix it with screws). Configuring PEARL with the free app was an easy process as well.
(Photo : PEARL PEOPLE COUNTER)
Speaking with SMS Storetraffic, they keep underlining that their goal is to make “higher-end tech available and usable by organizations of all sizes.” Current PEARL pricing appears to reflect that brand positioning, as it comes standard with premium features yet remains affordable.
> If you’re considering PEARL or a similar type of beam-based people counter, note that it works best in low-to-medium footfall entrances and most single- and double-door entrances.
> Also, infrared-operated automatic doors and inward opening doors can interfere with beam-based people counters. SMS Storetraffic provides specific installation recommendations for such instances.
> Finally, you’ll need to replace PEARL’s batteries every six to nine months, depending on the grade of battery you choose. Tech Times likes: PEARL will alert you when batteries are low.
SMS Storetraffic’s 3D SCOPE II LC sits at the upper end of the people counting spectrum. Its main benefits over PEARL are that it can handle everything from the simplest to the most complex people counting situations.
Users wanting to monitor occupancy in real-time — e.g. safety measures tied to the Covid pandemic — may also want to consider 3D SCOPE II LC over PEARL.
As expected, 3D SCOPE II LC is more expensive — about two times the price of PEARL, closer to three if you factor in installation costs. However, we found that its pricing is totally in line with similar people counters from competing providers.
Also: just like competing premium products, 3D SCOPE II LC is powered by a cable, which means that it’s not as simple to install as PEARL.
> Tech Times likes: 3D SCOPE II LC’s power cable also provides internet connection; one less thing to worry about.
> Other features we like about SMS Storetraffic’s people counter devices: both PEARL and 3D SCOPE II LC provide remote management and calibration, user alerts (e.g. if batteries are low or the signal is obstructed) and internal memory (e.g. during power outages). They also count people anonymously, preserving people’s right to privacy. Also: both PEARL and 3D SCOPE II LC can scale with a user’s needs — there are no limits of devices or locations you can monitor.
#2 Free app for iOS or Android
SMS Storetraffic offers an app that allows users to access their foot traffic data anywhere. We particularly like that no matter the people counting plan users pick, whether free or higher-end, everyone can use the app for free.
> Tech Times likes: thumbs up for keeping the app free — we spend so much time on our phones!
(Photo : T.M.A.S. ANALYTICS PLATFORM)
# 3 Analytics platform + third-party compatibility
SMS Storetraffic’s free app is the gateway to the company’s cloud-based software ecosystem. Users can stick to the app or get more features when upgrading beyond the Lite Plan and moving up to T.M.A.S.
The T.M.A.S. software is SMS Storetraffic’s analytics platform. It’s comes with features that give users a more granular view of foot traffic trends.
> Tech Times likes: T.M.A.S. connects with a wide range of third-party software — e.g. Lightspeed, Square, Shopify, VEND, and Heartland. These simple integrations allow T.M.A.S. to cross analyze foot traffic with other data like sales and automatically provide users with business intelligence insights.
> Tech Times likes: if you’re feeling techy, Storetraffic’s Web API makes it possible to integrate with additional third-party systems. They also have a flat-file export and import system for those who still prefer to use CSV-type files when working with different systems.
#4 Integrated design
“Fully integrated,” we’ve all heard these words before. In the case of SMS Storetraffic, we found that claim to be accurate.
The PEARL or 3D SCOPE II LC people counters worked seamlessly with Storetraffic’s proprietary app or analytics platforms. We’d go as far as to say that the fully integrated nature of Storetraffic’s people counting system extends to its annual user plans. Each plan was easy to understand and worked as promised with hardware and software.
> Tech Times likes: SMS Storetraffic’s people counting system allows users to scale the solution to their needs. You can interconnect several people counters in different locations and move from one plan to another.
(Photo : SMS Storetraffic)
#5 Customer experience
In this day and age of technology-driven objects, our Tech Times team pays more and more attention to the customer experience when reviewing products.
Whether on its website or during live demos, SMS Storetraffic insists on the notion that it provides clients with a transparent purchasing process. This includes a one-price policy — rebates are also available for non profit organizations.
We looked deeper, and there’s some substance to SMS Storetraffic’s statement.
The brand scores high for user satisfaction on third-party validation platforms like SourceForge, Google and G2. Our review team also scheduled a demo directly on Storetraffic’s website in about a minute. The live-chat response was swift too. The website’s FAQ section is extensive yet easy to navigate as well. Plus, the calibration of the 3D SCOPE II LC people counter was done remotely with the help of a Storetraffic agent.
> Tech Times likes: users can complete the entire people counter purchase process on SMS Storetraffic’s website — a feature we haven’t seen on other people counting system providers’ websites. Shipping and onboarding are free. Plus: every people counter comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
(Photo : SMS Storetraffic)
The verdict on SMS Storetraffic’s people counter system
SMS Storetraffic says they strive to “make it easy for companies of all sizes and non-profit organizations” to capitalize on foot traffic insights and improve operating efficiency.
After reviewing their product architecture, pricing options, third-party reviews — and when considering the integrated design of their people counting ecosystem — we say SMS Storetraffic’s efforts paid off.
We also feel that SMS Storetraffic’s industry experience comes through. The people counting market is now filled with other quality players. It’s clear, however, that SMS Storetraffic isn’t taking its leadership position for granted, since they continue to improve their hardware and software and refine the customer experience.
As with any product we review, don’t just take our word for it. We recommend you also do your homework — if only to understand further the basics and significance of foot traffic to your business.
Checking out a few brands remains one of the best ways to meet your needs as a consumer of tech products.
Whether you go with SMS Storetraffic’s people counting system straight away or following your own market exploration, we reckon that SMS Storetraffic is a bulletproof people counting solution and among the top choices available.
Want to learn more about people counting systems? Check out our article about the increasing use and importance of footfall technology in several industries, plus the accuracy and latest benefits of people counting systems.
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