Video Surveillance & Physical Security Industry Viewpoints
February 22nd, 2024
Author: Lizzi Goldmeier

How Retail Chains Can Maximize Cross-site Business Intelligence

Intelligent Technology for Marketing, Merchandising & Strategic Decision-Making

Retail chains ranging from big box stores, pharmacies, and gas station/convenience stores have one thing in common; they all need quantifiable, actionable business intelligence. Typically, a store collects data about inventory loss, visitor demographics, in-store traffic, revenue, and point of sale purchasing data, but changes in consumer behavior and expectations have increase the demand for even more comprehensive data for retailers to stay competitive. By investing in intelligent technologies, such as video analytics software, retailers can analyze data that is captured by a 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 for each individual store.

The Multi-site Multiplier

Beyond obtaining critical, store-specific insight, corporate headquarters of large retail chains can also aggregate and centralize data across multiple stores and regions for chain-wide analysis of 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 a new dimension of critical business intelligence.

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 for multi-site enterprise organizations, regional, national, and international executives can draw conclusions about shopping trends and customer preferences. The result: critical, cross-organization decision making that impacts operations and customer experience, marketing, merchandising, staff management, and even traditional safety and security use cases.

Store Navigation Trends

All retail organizations know that their customer’s journey starts before a customer even enters the store. While many retail analytics can provide valuable data once a customer enters a store, video analytics can help management understand how many customers pass by a store entrance versus how many enter a store. This data can be benchmarked as a key performance indicator and help inform strategies that drive traffic into a store, and also provide insight into where consumers tend to go upon entering the store.

Employee Traffic Analysis

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. By aggregating employee traffic analysis across multiple locations, retail management can not only see which locations have more successful engagement and why, but they can also A/B test new strategies and easily determine which have the greatest positive impact.

Customer Engagement Intelligence

Retail management can also leverage video data for multi-site analysis by measuring engagement with displays, advertisements, and 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 anecdotal experience, assumptions, or instincts, retail merchandising managers can base their 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.

Customer Demographic Analysis

In the long 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 even consider how to expand their targeted marketing efforts. By understanding who shops where and when, and what they buy, managers can cater their marketing efforts towards those audiences, and make better advertising, promotion, and purchasing decisions to drive traffic and revenue.

Strategic Insights for Business Optimization

There is crucial, untapped business intelligence in video surveillance, and video analytics software equips large retail organizations 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.

Interested in more information about video analytics for multi-site retail organizations? Explore BriefCam Nexus and our 2024 M1 release:


Editor’s note: This post was originally published in August 2021, and has been refreshed and updated for accuracy.