Video Surveillance & Physical Security Industry Viewpoints
May 31st, 2022
Author: Lizzi Goldmeier

What is Intelligent Video Surveillance and Why Should Retailers Care?

Modern-Day Brick & Mortar Retail

These days, ever-evolving technology is an essential part of our everyday lives. We use it to make hundreds of decisions each day, whether it be checking the weather to determine how to dress or searching for a recipe to prepare for dinner. We use technology to help us improve our lives, and likewise, business owners do the same, relying on data and solutions that extract, aggregate, and visualize the information to make-decisions and derive valuable insights.

Retailers, specifically, see significant benefits from leveraging technology, such as video analytics, to improve their brick-and-mortar stores. Video analytics technology is powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) to process video to identify and classify objects in the video, such as people, vehicles, and other items. This metadata is then indexed, enabling operators to quickly and easily search, filter and alert on real-time feeds as well as recorded video processed on demand. Intelligent video analytics solutions make video searchable and filterable, as well as actionable through increased situational awareness and real-time alerting. By aggregating video data over time, video content analytics also makes video intelligence quantifiable, by visualizing the video metadata and providing business intelligence that critically helps management understand trends, make decisions, and develop strategies that increase conversion rates and improve the customer experience.

Video Analytics Applications in Retail Environment

Traditionally, video surveillance is used by retailers for investigating and, when possible, preventing shoplifting and shrinkage. Video analytics technology streamlines these applications and introduces additional use cases. Many actionable insights and extensive business intelligence can be derived from video analysis, enabling data-drive safety, security and operational decision making. Video analytics solutions are being used by retailers as a proactive means to create strategies that enhance the shopping experience, improve retention, and increase sales.

Video analytics provides retailers with a wealth of customer trend data that can be leveraged to increase operational efficiency and ultimately enhance the customer experience. For example, by assessing and understanding visitor traffic trends, including where they tend to dwell, which products and displays they interact with, and how they navigate a store, a retailer can examine the effectiveness of a store’s layout and product placement using video analytics technology. This can help retailers identify both popular items and areas, as well as potential problem hot spots.

Video analytics-generated heatmaps help achieve this by illustrating customer traffic patterns throughout the store, highlighting most common pathways and aisles that customers navigate, and the most (or least) popular product displays or information kiosks. Marketers and merchandising managers can leverage this actionable information when developing strategies, planning campaigns, and ordering inventory. Similarly, store planners use this information to optimize space utilization in a physical store.

Ultimately, data-driven heatmaps and trend reports help retailers make informed and intelligent decisions about placing products or displays, help marketing with product popularity insights and help store designers create an optimized shopping environment.

In addition to better elucidating in-store activity, in the aftermath of a crime, video analysis makes understanding incidents much easier. A common issue that retailers face is loss-prevention. Video analytics can help security operators advance loss-prevention investigations through accelerated video review and extensive search and filter functionality. In real-time, rule-based alerts can increase security’s situational awareness by notifying operators of pre-defined suspicious behaviors that require further investigation – for instance, excessive loitering near high value items or stock rooms or detecting entrances to a staff-only area. By better understanding traffic trends in the store through video analytics, retailers can also uncover patterns, make plans, and configure alerts to behaviors that will help mitigate shrinkage in the short and long term.

Beyond loss-prevention and security, video surveillance platforms can be used by retailers to optimize staffing. Through the trend reporting and traffic insights visualized by video analytic technology, retailers make better decisions about their staffing needs based on the time of day, week, month or even year.

Whether for safety and security or the evolving operational efficiency and customer experience use cases, video analytics empower retail businesses with a new dimension of intelligence that they can’t afford to overlook.

Learn more about video analytics for retail in The Retailer’s Guide to Revolutionizing the In-Store Experience with Intelligent Video Surveillance.