Video Analytics for Retail
Retail security systems face a number of unique challenges to protect your business, theft and loss prevention chief among them. Video surveillance analytics can help solve these problems and provide additional benefits, as well. Commercial video analytics are quickly becoming a necessary part of retail business, both for security and business analytics. Modern security cameras can identify people, objects, and patterns in real-time, giving your business a powerful edge in the age of the Internet of Things.
Video content analytics can be done in real-time as well as on recorded footage. The software can be run on-board the cameras or on a central server, making VCA a versatile solution that will work for nearly any retail business, no matter the size.
Security Analytics – Theft and Loss Prevention
One of the greatest difficulties in securing retail spaces is the prevention of theft and the apprehension of thieves when it does happen. Installing security cameras for retail stores has historically been a reactive solution – they’re used to identify the criminals after the fact – with one small exception. Retail video surveillance cameras can be installed in two ways: high- or low-visibility. Obvious security cameras help deter shoplifters and troublemakers – thieves think twice when they know they’re being watched. Unobtrusive cameras, on the other hand, don’t prevent theft – but they’re not as easily damaged, either.
Video analytic cameras reduce loss and shrinkage by taking a proactive approach to security rather than a reactive one. They do this by identifying four things in their feeds:
- Recognizing objects like people or vehicles in a particular area
- Identifying objects lingering in areas
- Detecting objects crossing a virtual line
- Counting objects entering or leaving an area
The object-counting functions in analytic cameras can detect drastic changes on shelves in real-time, giving you the opportunity to stop thieves as soon as they try to leave. High-quality surveillance cameras – 3MP or better – can pick out facial features well enough to identify criminals if they do manage to slip away. Advanced appearance search functions provided by Avigilon will actively track an individual through recorded footage and identify them if they show up again, giving you the opportunity to alert the authorities and apprehend them on the spot.
Analytics also solve problems after-hours. In the days before video analytics, clever burglars that managed to bypass the other security systems would be long gone by the time the theft was discovered. Person recognition software can now identify anyone trying to break in after closing, sending out your choice of an on-site or remote alert to any number of people. If you’ve got a security guard on the premises, they can meet the intruder head-on even before the perimeter is breached. With a speaker mounted near the camera, you can scare off trespassers through remote viewing.
Business Analytics – Shopper and Store Traffic Mapping
The same identifying technology that lets you track down shoplifters can help you understand your shoppers’ demographics, as well. All the research in the world can’t compare to unique, in-store data you gathered yourself. Retail video analytics give you a report you can use to tailor your store’s layout, products, and advertising to increase revenue and meet your customers’ needs.
Even the basic people-counting functions will tell you more about your busiest time of day than records of sales. Point-of-Sale data can be overlaid into your video feeds, too, giving you a better idea of who buys what. It also gives you an idea of your conversion rate – you can accurately compare the number of people that pass through your store with the number that made a purchase. A more thorough report will tell you where customers are lingering, which can indicate a struggle to purchase a given product. Other critical points to analyze are your checkout lines, making sure customers are being helped in a timely fashion and moving smoothly. At the cutting edge, video analytics have the potential to inform advertisements in real-time, targeting customers with different TV ads based on their demographic.
Reports can be compiled on stored footage, showing you a heat map of your store so you can see which areas are heavily trafficked and which areas are barely visited at all. Analytic software can also track your merchandise, identifying what people look through, touch, and buy. With that information, you’ll know whether you need to rearrange your products or redirect your customers.
Video Analytics for Retail
Upgrading to analytic cameras provides you with a lot of data that, when used correctly, can add to your bottom line. Of course, the trick with all this data is to do the right thing with it. It’s not worth much if you interpret it incorrectly or make the wrong adjustments. Make sure you’re making the right changes with the information you’ve gathered, or you might just cause more problems than you’re solving. Preventing loss and theft in the first place is a large part of increasing revenue, but making informed changes to your business model smooths out operations and makes your store better, for both you and your customers.