Edmonton Research Park Company HeadCount Tracks Retail Traffic Making Customers Out of Browsers

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Fast-growing Edmonton technology company, Headcount, casts eyes at European market from its base in Edmonton’s advanced technology centre

An Edmonton Research Park based company is dramatically increasing sales for international companies by tracking and analyzing customers in retail stores.

In starting up HeadCount, founder Mark Ryski discovered retail companies were not counting customers who entered their stores and, more importantly, they were not tracking customers’ buying habits or shopping patterns.

HeadCount provides retail companies with the data to track and analyze customers visiting their stores by installing traffic counters. The customer traffic data is analyzed by HeadCount employees to determine how many customers visited the store compared to sales transactions made, advertising campaigns, number of staff and weather conditions.

The idea of HeadCount was born in 1994 when Ryski was a student at the University of Alberta. The original concept was to develop electronic traffic counters and sell them to local retail stores. After graduation, Ryski decided to abandon his business to pursue other career options. Nine years later while shopping at West Edmonton Mall, Ryski discovered retail stores were not using traffic counters and there was still a need for his business.

Headquartered at the Edmonton Research Park, the clientele of the Edmonton technology company vary from small to large retail organizations in North America. Some of the companies it has successfully helped improve their business from the Alberta research park base include Hallmark, Ashley Furniture and Visions. HeadCount has already expanded its office space and will soon expand into the European market.

Ryski realized the majority of retailers do not have the staff to review customer traffic data or to use this data to learn how to cut costs and improve sales performance. Upon reviewing retail operations he decided to further develop his business by offering customer analysis services. HeadCount data analysts review visiting customers versus purchasing customers (customer conversion) to eliminate low sales and improve customer satisfaction. HeadCount was reborn, tracking customers visiting retail stores and analyzing how to convert them into buying customers.

“By measuring traffic and customer conversion, retailers are able to clearly see how stores are performing compared to the traffic opportunity that comes in the door,” said Ryski. “It’s always an eye opener for the retailers and it’s through these studies that they become clients for our ongoing service.”

The Edmonton Research Park provides a supportive community and environment for start-up Edmonton technology research companies with easy access to resources and world-class facilities. “HeadCount is a model of how business incubators work at the Edmonton Research Park. We house start-up companies and, as they become more successful, we graduate them into expanded facilities at the park. Mark’s company has been a great tenant at our Edmonton research centre," said Candace Brinsmead, Vice-President of Technology Advancement at the research park.

“From the start, being part of the Edmonton Research Park’s community has enabled us to network with other entrepreneurs, share ideas and experiences,” said Ryski.

For more information on HeadCount, visit http://www.headcount.com.

About Edmonton Research Park
Managed by the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation, the Edmonton Research Park (ERP) houses dozens of research companies. The ERP is also a stakeholder in TEC Edmonton, a joint venture with the University of Alberta. For more information, visit http://www.edmonton.com. Learn more about Edmonton through the stories of people who’ve experienced it at http://www.edmontonstories.ca.

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Nicole Nytchay
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