Retail Feature Article: Using integrated surveillance technology in retail
The retail sector is very competitive and with the explosion of online shopping, ‘bricks and mortar’ shops need to find ways to maintain profits. Integrated surveillance systems can offer much more than security – they can also provide crucial business information to help with decision making.
Security itself is becoming more relevant – shoplifters are rife and employing different strategies. For example, there are incidents of them replacing the sticker on an expensive item for one that’s much cheaper. In the year 2014-2015, 11.03 billion dollars was attributed to retail shrinkage (defined as mainly shoplifting and employee theft)*.
Hikvision can offer retailers an integrated, scalable solution to help secure and monitor their business.
It starts with a comprehensive Control Centre, which gives security managers the ability to manage all of the surveillance devices from one place. Features like flexible storage, redundancy design, recovery and backup provide peace of mind. There are also smart search as well as alarm verification and handling functions to help to maximise the value of the data that streams into the centre.
Cameras designed for bright light scenarios, and specific people-counting technology provide clear images and footfall data at entrances. Wide view cameras, such as PanoVu and PTZ make sure all areas are covered within the store and operators can zoom in to areas of interest easily. Low-light and ultra low-light cameras can provide sharp images for security at night, both inside the store and in outside areas, like car parks.
Surveillance also provides useful business information, with special cameras trained on the Point of Sale, for example. Heat mapping technology can show the most popular areas (and shelves) of a store. Using this, zones of interest can also be drawn for focus – users can search all the events and records related to this zone. This allows retailers to be more efficient by placing the products that drive most interest in a position where they can drive promotion.
Hikvision cameras with intelligent functionalities can also help to manage queuing, alerting an operator, for example, when a queue gets too long, using accurate counting of people in the queue.
There’s a positive side of this story for customers too, who will feel more comfortable in the store if they can find products more quickly. Currently, customers often come to buy a list of things and typically can only find 80% of the products on their list. Facial recognition technology could be used to target the age and the type of people to promote the right products to them, for example. These are all designed to make the customer feel that they matter and are being looked after on a more personal level.
Taking this further technology could even help if a customer forgot their credit card – with recognition, the shop would simply be able to charge them, subject to suitable checks and balances to prevent misuse, of course. Who knows, cash desks might soon be a thing of the past!
*The Global Retail Theft Barometer 2014-2015