Video Surveillance & Physical Security Industry Viewpoints
August 31st, 2021
Author: Lizzi Goldmeier

How Retail Chains Can Maximize Business Intelligence with Cross-Site Insights

Intelligent Retail Marketing, Merchandising & Store Layout Decision-Making

Retail chains such as big box stores, pharmacies, and gas station/ convenience stores have one thing in common; they all need quantifiable, actionable business intelligence – both for individual stores and across the entire chain. Typically, a store may collect inventory loss, visitor demographic, in-store traffic, revenue and point of sale purchasing data, but by investing in intelligent technologies, such as video content analytics software, an individual store stands to uncover additional insights: Leveraging video intelligence solutions, retailers can analyze data that is captured by the store’s video surveillance infrastructure, including unique, bounced, and return traffic to the store; customer demographics; and site navigation trends. This data is vital to guide marketing, merchandising, and planning decisions.

Beyond obtaining this critical, store-specific insight, corporate headquarters of large retail chains can also aggregate and centralize data across stores and regions for chain-wide analytics on statistics, such as footfall and in-store navigation, advertisement and display engagement, return and bounced visitor rates, and customer demographics. Most major retail operations already rely on robust video surveillance systems for security purposes, and video content analysis empowers the entire corporation to leverage that technology investment to uncover new dimensions of valuable business intelligence with the help of video resources.

How Does Video Analytics Technology Work?

Driven by Artificial Intelligence (AI), video analytics technology identifies, classifies and indexes objects in surveillance video, so the extracted and categorized data can be searched, acted upon, and quantified for video investigations, alerting, and data analysis. Video can be processed on demand and in real time, as well as aggregated over time for long term business intelligence.

When these volumes of video data are centralized, regional, national, or international corporate executives can draw conclusions about shopping trends and customer preferences and, as a result, drive critical decision making across the business – from operational efficiencies to customer experience, marketing, merchandising, staff management, and even traditional safety and security uses.

Insights about In-Store Customer Movement, Dwelling, and Navigation

A great example that demonstrates how a chain might leverage video analysis is store navigation – which, of course, starts before a customer even enters a store. Understanding how many customers pass by a store entrance versus how many enter a store, can be a key performance indicator and help inform strategies to drive traffic into a store and understand where consumers tend to go once they enter the store.

Another important data point that video analytics can uncover is employee traffic analysis. By empowering retailers to distinguish between customer and employee traffic, management can develop staff coaching strategies to improve customer engagement, streamline queues based on peak traffic data, and more.

A final example of how retail management can leverage video data for multi-site analysis is for measuring engagement with displays, advertisements, and particular products. Measuring traffic, dwell time, and object interactions around key displays can help indicate product popularity and uncover key merchandising insights, such as whether the product draws interest even though conversion rates and sales are low. Rather than relying on manager experience, assumptions, or instincts, retail merchandising managers can base their purchasing decisions on quantifiable data about which products draw the most attention in-store. With this crucial intelligence, corporate executives can optimize floor planning and display placement, as well as merchandising, marketing, and inventory planning strategies for maximizing customer experiences, operations management, and, ultimately, sales and revenues.

In the longer term, brand marketing and advertising managers can also use the data gathered in stores across a region or country to better understand their typical customer profile and consider how to expand their reach into new target audiences. By understanding who shops where and when, and what they buy, managers can cater their marketing efforts towards those audiences, and make better advertising, promotions, and purchasing decisions to drive traffic and revenue.

There is crucial business intelligence to unlock in video, and with video content analytics software large retail organizations are better equipped to uncover and utilize that information effectively. With quantitative and qualitative information about customer demographics, dwelling and footfall, and in-store navigational patterns, not only can store owners make branch-specific decisions, but corporate executives can also build strategies that improve the broader customer experience and the company’s bottom line.