Retail Feature Article: Making small stores shrink-resistant - Using low-cost video surveillance to combat shoplifting
The retail industry has been struggling to stay relevant in the new age of internet shopping. This has affected a lot of high street stores, with more chains going under every year. Those that survive are learning to keep up with the trends, including small stores, who are more vulnerable than most. One of the biggest challenges for these stores is making end meet within tight budgets.
At the same time as rising internet shopping is the rise of ‘shrinkage’ caused mostly by shoplifting and employee theft. In 2014/2015, global shrinkage was 1.23% of total retail sales globally – that’s equivalent to €252 per household. In this challenging environment, small stores are struggling in communities across Europe.
Owners of small stores have certain constraints to their operations, needing to keep costs to a minimum. Security systems, though, can be instrumental in reducing shrinkage and good quality monitoring can now be achieved using lower cost surveillance equipment. Hikvision has brought many of its recent innovations in security to more models.
Products like the mini PanoVu give affordable and flexible coverage of a wide area. Using this, owners can see a lot of a store with just one camera. Low light cameras mean that activity can be monitored even when the light is very poor, such as in dark corner of the store, or in back alleys at night. Technologies like Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) and Hikvision’s LightFighter model allow them to monitor poorly lit or over-lit areas. They can clearly make out people silhouetted on a bright background (for example, when they come in the door from a bright exterior).
Simplicity is also a factor for these customers, since they will not have the time to worry about any complicated installation or set up. Where many businesses would turn to an installer for this, small store owners may not have the budget. Hikvision products are designed to be intuitive to operate and easy to install to serve this market. The ‘plug and play’ nature of the cameras and the flexibility of the solutions – including Network Video Recorders and monitors, for example – deliver easy solutions.
HDMI outputs and VMS software means that the owner can easily monitor and record camera feeds. This gives peace of mind and would also be useful as evidence if a shoplifting case needed to come to court, for example. They would also be able to use the software to view the footage on their mobile phone – handy if they are off the premises or in the stock room, for example.
Other features include smart functions that will provide an alert if someone crosses a predetermined line, or even moves in a certain area. These can help a busy owner focus only where there is a potential issue, rather than constantly monitoring. Since small stores do not have security guards to keep an eye on the monitor at all times, these features, as well as recording functionality, become important tools in the fight against crime.
Of course, solutions can be extremely flexible, offering more, or less – depending on the needs of the individual store owner. From multiple camera options and recorders to monitors, access control devices and technology to read license plates, Hikvision can deliver a smart security solution.
Small stores have specific needs to keep their premises, their goods and their employees safe. Peace of mind is also important in this market, since often they have everything invested in the business and it’s a personal risk. But using the right simple solution, Hikvision can help create secure, shrink-free stores on a tight budget. And hopefully these measures will help more small stores to survive, so they don’t disappear forever.
*_Global Retail Theft Barometer 2014-2015