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Retail and Video Analytics

How Retail
and Video Analytics are Going to Save Brick-and-Mortar Stores

How Retail
and Video Analytics are Going to Save Brick-and-Mortar Stores

video analytics video analytics

How Does Adding Video Analytics Help Retailers Generate More Revenue?

In the last decade, brick-and-mortar stores have been closing down left and right, especially in major cities like New York. With the rise of new AI technology, there just might be a chance for these brick-and-mortar retail companies to stay alive in the coming years.

Most likely, if you manage a retail company, you’ve heard the phrase “video analytics” or “security analytics” or something along those lines. So to solidify, and add on to your current understanding, we are going to talk about how utilizing VCA can generate extra revenue for your retail company.

In a quick summary, VCA is able to monitor the following areas:
  • Heatmaps
  • Dwell time (how long a customer spends in one area)
  • Loitering (people acting suspicious)
  • Queue management (check-out time)
  • Employee performance
  • Theft

Loitering and theft are not going to be discussed, simply because they are the most popular reasons people have security cameras installed in the first place.

A new way of looking at Big Data

A new way of looking at Big Data

A brief overview of video analytics:

Between the 1960s and 1970s, American companies began installing CCTV cameras to monitor the behavior of people in their buildings. One challenge for retail store owners and other property managers was the fact that there was an overwhelming amount of data and it would be both unrealistic and inefficient to have people constantly watch and analyze the security footage.

The solution came from software engineers and data analysts who developed what we call Video Content Analytics (VCA), aka “Video Analytics.” Video Analytics is the capability of having software automatically analyze video footage to detect and determine the type of spatial and temporal events. Utilizing AI (Artificial Intelligence), property managers are able to monitor and analyze their surveillance footage at a much larger efficiency and accuracy than ever before.. This article will focus on how video analytics has been used by large retail companies to not only prevent losses, but also drastically increase revenue.

Maximize Floor Space and Identifying Underutilized Space

A huge part of retail analytics, and business management in general, is knowing what is working well, and what isn’t. With video analytics you can see what areas need to be improved and optimized.

These days, security cameras that come with heat mapping software are widely available. The beauty of heat mapping is that you are able to visually see what areas of your store are gaining the most amount of traction and what parts are being left empty. It should come as no surprise that knowing where your customers are shopping is important, but what is more important is knowing what to do with that type of data.

Example of heat mapping on a website (image from Wikipedia). Heatmaps visualize traffic on a warm-to-cool spectrum.

By utilizing VCA and retail analytics, companies can determine how specific customers prefer to navigate the store, and how long they take (dwell time). This type of information is incredibly important, since you can get very specific and determine if items and signs are prompting people to move faster, and keep them engaged in specific areas. You can also determine if it is necessary to move shelves around and make certain areas more navigable.

Queue Management and Employee Performance

Taking a look at your customers’ check-out-time and how employees are working says a lot about your company. If a customer is waiting in line for 15 minutes, while your cashier is moving slowly and looking at their phone, you can easily identify the problem.
A business analyst might determine that certain employees are costing you thousands of dollars, while other employees are actually generating revenue for you by working harder. This is crucial information, especially when it comes time to evaluate your employees.
You may also note that at certain times of the day you need more staff, while at certain times you may need a lot less.
While this may seem obvious at first, many stores still forget the value of looking into their queue management and employee performance by using their own security footage.

Queue Management and Employee Performance

Taking a look at your customers’ check-out-time and how employees are working says a lot about your company. If a customer is waiting in line for 15 minutes, while your cashier is moving slowly and looking at their phone, you can easily identify the problem.
A business analyst might determine that certain employees are costing you thousands of dollars, while other employees are actually generating revenue for you by working harder. This is crucial information, especially when it comes time to evaluate your employees.
You may also note that at certain times of the day you need more staff, while at certain times you may need a lot less.
While this may seem obvious at first, many stores still forget the value of looking into their queue management and employee performance by using their own security footage.

Mood and Facial Recognition

No, this is not sci-fi, this is something that has been heavily researched in recent years.
Today, security cameras are able to pinpoint whether a customer is smiling or frowning at a specific item.

With facial recognition technology, you can now see whether or not an item has a positive, or negative effect on a customer. By automating this recognition process, you can view written reports or view it live on customized dashboards with in-depth analysis.

It could be that the color of a product is a turn-off for some customers, while another is attracting a user’s attention.

Mood and Facial Recognition

No, this is not sci-fi, this is something that has been heavily researched in recent years.
Today, security cameras are able to pinpoint whether a customer is smiling or frowning at a specific item.

With facial recognition technology, you can now see whether or not an item has a positive, or negative effect on a customer. By automating this recognition process, you can view written reports or view it live on customized dashboards with in-depth analysis.

It could be that the color of a product is a turn-off for some customers, while another is attracting a user’s attention.

Knowing When to Turn On and Off Devices

Let’s use a fridge for example. If a camera notices that a customer is about to open up the fridge to grab a drink, it can tell the fridge to lower the temperature in order to save a few bucks.

Yes, it is only a few bucks you may save, but there’s a lot more that video analytics can provide. The same idea can be applied with AC and heat control units throughout your store, as well as lighting.

During the summer, let’s suppose customers are shopping for clothing and looking at an outfit. While they are standing, the surveillance camera notices these people checking out a specific item. If setup properly, the camera can automatically notify a technician, or connected software, to increase the ventilation and discreetly active the AC to enhance the customer experience, in the region of the store. Thus, making a user more likely to stay in the store longer, and make a purchase.

Knowing When to Turn On and Off Devices

Let’s use a fridge for example. If a camera notices that a customer is about to open up the fridge to grab a drink, it can tell the fridge to lower the temperature in order to save a few bucks.

Yes, it is only a few bucks you may save, but there’s a lot more that video analytics can provide. The same idea can be applied with AC and heat control units throughout your store, as well as lighting.

During the summer, let’s suppose customers are shopping for clothing and looking at an outfit. While they are standing, the surveillance camera notices these people checking out a specific item. If setup properly, the camera can automatically notify a technician, or connected software, to increase the ventilation and discreetly active the AC to enhance the customer experience, in the region of the store. Thus, making a user more likely to stay in the store longer, and make a purchase.

How does this actually generate more revenue?

By first recognizing specific patterns, and then by analyzing those patterns and behaviors, retailers can determine what actions need to be taken in order to decrease costs and increase revenue.

This information can be vital to a company’s financial planning, employee evaluations, marketing efforts and overall business performance. Retail analysts ask the following questions when helping companies in these areas, “why did this pattern occur?” “will it happen again?” “what do we need to change in order to optimize performance?”

What Kind of Video Content Analytics (VCA) system(s) do I Need to Have in my Store?

Having up-to-date dashboards that have the least margin of error, making sure your cameras are strategically placed, and having someone who can decipher this data will ensure your company is receiving the right kind of insight.
Because every store is different, and every bit of software is different, having customized dashboards and control panels are a must for modern retail stores. Many retail analytics companies offer assessments to determine if your store is using the most efficient analytics software.

A Data-Driven Approach to Company Success

If you are interested in learning more, contact axity for more information.