Retail is one of the fastest-growing markets for 360-degree cameras, with many businesses eager to enjoy the benefits offered by wide field-of-view video surveillance. But for today’s retailers, surveillance isn’t just about loss prevention. Retail security is evolving in significant ways, and the role of the LP department has changed significantly.
Surveillance Evolves Beyond LP
Retailers take a much more comprehensive approach to security today, and look for ways in which their surveillance investment can benefit other areas of their business, in addition to loss prevention. Video surveillance technology is now being used to not only help reduce shrink but to deliver real-time business intelligence that can help retailers improve operations and increase their bottom line. Creating a high level of customer loyalty is an important differentiator for today’s brick-and-mortar stores, which are increasingly challenged to compete with the convenience and pricing of online competitors.
The two most common types of video analytics being used by retailers today include people counting and customer traffic pattern analysis. People-counting platforms enable retailers to calculate their customer conversion rate, which helps management make more informed decisions about promotions, marketing, store design and customer service protocol. Meanwhile, understanding customer traffic patterns allows store managers and the marketing department to determine how long people dwell near certain sales displays, further improving merchandising and store design.
There are also numerous customer service applications for video analytics. For example, if lines begin to build at checkout or return counters, the system can alert managers to add another cashier. Video analytics also can be used to determine where a customer may need shopping assistance, such as finding a particular item or reaching a high shelf. Without having some way to alert store managers about areas that may be understaffed, customers could become impatient and walk away, which results in a loss of sales.
LP in a Whole New Light
As the role of surveillance has expanded, loss prevention leaders have begun to be viewed in a whole new light. Like many other vertical markets, retailers often have viewed security as a cost center rather than a department that contributes to their profitability. The physical security purchase, which the C-suite previously approved begrudgingly, now brings benefits beyond LP. Today, the LP department can be a source of profit for the business.
The retail sector is one of the markets in which video surveillance and other security technologies can deliver tangible return-on-investment results. In the past, video served only as a post-incident investigations tool to defend against bogus slip-and-fall cases or to potentially identify shoplifters; today, store operations and other personnel can now leverage surveillance footage to analyze how customers and employees behave in their stores. Critically breaking down silos and promoting inter-departmental collaboration between LP and other key business units will only lead to new ideas on how video can make them more dynamic and efficient as retailers.
As the retail security market continues to evolve, LP technology is beginning to be seen as a highly valuable part of the entire organization. This trend can only benefit retailers with improved customer service capabilities, streamlined operations and a higher level of security.