Gardner-White is an American furniture retailer founded in 1912. The Michigan-based company has 11 stores, does over $120 million in annual sales, and operates a 500,000 square foot state-of-the-art distribution center. Gardner-White was one of the first furniture distributors to bundle televisions and furniture together and, as part of a long-standing co-marketing initiative, has stores inside of two Best Buy locations.
Any company that’s been in business since 1912 is doing something right. For Gardner-White, this means maintaining its long-standing culture of innovation. The company was the first in Michigan to offer same-day furniture delivery. They were the first in the industry to offer removal of a customer’s old mattress when they purchased a new one. And they’re one of the first providers to allow customers to track the status of their home delivery or service call.
The continual reinvention of Gardner-White is a point of obsession for its President, Rachel Tronstein.
Putting the customer first informs everything that we do... from our showroom layouts to how we engage customers digitally, we’re constantly looking for ways to improve and evolve.
As a part of this customer-centric culture, Gardner-White invests heavily in a range of mediums to reach and engage customers—print, TV, and digital. And, like for any retailer with a high volume of in-store and offline purchases, it was difficult to track how each campaign impacted the bottom line. The marketing team was unable to measure the performance of each campaign in terms of the traffic it brought to each store. Understanding the performance of each store was equally challenging without accurate foot traffic data. Store managers needed to understand how many shoppers converted into actual sales.
Tronstien’s team had tried other technology for tracking foot traffic data—such as traditional video camera—but was unsatisfied by the results. The technology didn’t provide the insights her team needed.
To get your data, you had to keep digging, and with multiple locations. This wasn’t easy.
After seeing Density in a Wired article, Tronstein was hopeful that Density would provide the data her team needed to measure performance. Tronstein installed Density’s people counting technology at each store’s entrances and integrated the data via Density’s API into her homegrown retail analytics solutions, which she and her team call the Upboard. A mashup of data from staffing records, Point of Sale (POS) and other sources, the Upboard provides Gardner-White’s leadership team with the insights need to drive business results.
Easily integrated with Gardner-White’s existing PoE+ networking equipment, Density’s retail people-counting solution was installed at all 10 locations within two weeks and began accurately counting every customer who entered and exited the store. Using machine learning and processing power, Density’s device analyzed data in real time to anonymously measure foot traffic at each location.
Tronstein and her team were quickly able to use Density to measure the performance of each advertising campaign.
Whenever we do an ad, we’ve used Density to see where it pulls and if there is a lift.
The team also leverages the accuracy of Density’s solution to understand group size for each shopper entrance. Sometimes a couple will go to the store together or a whole family. We can see the variation there and see how it plays out. If we do free gifts, we see all six members of the family and their cousins too.”
Her advertising team isn’t the only team that’s been able to track ongoing performance. Company leadership and store managers use the tool to manage and measure how each store performs. With accurate foot traffic data, the company can effectively compare the number of people who have entered a store to the number of transactions. Tronstein explains, “With Density, you know who is most efficient at managing their store and driving sales. Anyone who manages a store better be watching the data. And, you bet they are!”
The number of people who visit every store helps Gardner-White with staff scheduling. Density’s platform predicts foot traffic patterns at each location based on historical trends. Tronstein believes this has profound implications on optimizing costs.
Every store has different traffic patterns based on the neighborhood or area, but with enough data you can start to understand them... it changes how you staff your store.
Predictive insights help store managers adjust staffing to match expected traffic, lowering operating costs.
As Gardner-White continues to look for ways to evolve its business to respond to customer needs, it’s looking to build on the tools for data collection. Tronstein sees Density as a true partner in this effort.
We need every tool we can get— with Density you know who to call and they respond. It won’t take them two years in development to build something out, they’re incredibly reliable and move fast.