Special Focus: Retail--Leveraging Surveillance

July 12, 2013
Video lends itself well to the retail environment

This article originally appeared in the July 2013 issue of SD&I magazine.

While retailers have traditionally used video surveillance systems only for loss prevention, recent advancements in IP video systems have led them to explore how integrated video surveillance solutions can provide more accurate business intelligence and maximize in-store real estate. By combining the power of video surveillance solutions with the data offered by existing sources like point of sale (POS) systems, today’s retailers can more efficiently manage store resources and guarantee a strong return on investment.

Having trouble selling your retail security customers on a new surveillance system? Educate them on these five ways retailers can harness the power of video surveillance for more than just monitoring shelves and doors:

1.       Customer Behavior Insights

When it comes to retail operations, video surveillance solutions provide a wealth of data and video analytics functions can offer valuable insights into customer behavior and purchasing decisions. Traditionally, retailers have measured store guests behavior by recording purchases at the POS terminal; however, this method often leads to inefficiency, as it only accounts for customers that actually make a purchase.

By integrating video surveillance solutions with existing data sources, such as POS and crowd-counting technologies, retailers can gain insight into information such as how long customers dwell around a certain display and how their purchase decisions are affected by in-store promotions.

2.       Employee Training

Surveillance systems enable store owners and managers to more effectively train employees on store protocols and manage expectations. By providing visibility over multiple areas of a store from a single location, surveillance systems maximize business intelligence and give store management the tools with which to make educated assessments of employee productivity.

With proper camera placement, operators can ensure that POS commands are being captured properly and product display standards are being met, increasing staff accountability and helping retailers drive sales and reduce store shrinkage.

3.       Identify Key Performance Metrics

Retailers can use video surveillance solutions to more easily identify and measure key performance indicators. For example, customer transaction data can be leveraged to determine insights such as which staff members are most engaging, how long customers will queue in checkout lines before becoming impatient and when register lines have become too long.

When matched against data collected from POS systems and crowd-counting software, IP video systems can even be used to alert store managers of a need to increase staff and provide insights about how to boost customer service during peak times. This gives store managers access to more accurate business intelligence, making it easier to manage store payroll and store sales initiatives and removing the guesswork that often hinders retail operations.

4.       Provide Real-Time Business Intelligence

With integrated video surveillance solutions, store managers gain real-time visibility into customer purchasing habits, including the ability to measure store traffic, customer conversion and other transaction data. These insights can then be used to generate customized reports that help retailers make critical decisions about store displays, promotions and product availability that could significantly improve sales and boost customer interest.

5.       Monitor Store Compliance

Integrated video surveillance solutions enable retailers to more aggressively monitor store compliance issues and track inventory flow for issues that may negatively affect store performance. These tools make it easier for retail managers and loss prevention agents to better audit store safety protocols and staff behavior patterns, streamlining store operations for employees and increasing the safety of stores for customers.