Video Analytics for Improved Retail Performance and Customer Experience

Video Analytics for retail industry offers new ways of analysing and managing business through video data and real-time analysis. Getting actionable quantitative video data has been considered difficult till now, but with Video Analytics the vast infrastructure of video surveillance already in place can be leveraged to provide insights for better management in the Retail sector. The retail sector is facing competition from e-commerce companies and by applying Video Analytics Tools with IoT infrastructure they can provide better customer experience and marketing analysis which is important for them to stay competitive. Video Surveillance was initially installed for Security and Loss Prevention (LP) purposes and they remain one of the main aspects, but now with Video Analytics many more areas of retail business management such as customer analysis, inventory management, employee management, and marketing strategy have opened up for better insights and ideas.

Let us look at each of these aspects closely.

Video Analytics for Improved Customer Analysis and In-store Experience

Video Analysis of Customer Behaviour is the exciting new area Video Analytics offers for better management. Other Internet of Things (IoT) devices can also perform similar functions but with video analytics the idea of using already available infrastructure and having different capabilities from a single device greatly enhances its purpose. Studying customer behaviour for each product can provide a detailed analysis of how customers react to advertisements and special offers, this provides in-depth marketing analysis.

Strategies for studying Customer Behaviour using Video Analytics for Retail Application:

  • Find the high traffic paths of the store and use it for placing marketing promotions and offers. If there are certain bottlenecks then the store layout can be changed for a better customer experience.
  • Calculate and analyse the ‘dwell time’ of customers near certain products or special offers to see how customers are reacting to them and analyse them to find ROI on advertisement campaigns. Also, see which placement is most suitable for products.S
  • Study customer actions with a specific product. Whether they compare it with another product or how long they take to decide whether to buy it or not. All help in giving better insights into product acceptance.
  • According to the traffic flow and the dwell times calculate the best store layout and staff utilization.
  • More advanced methods can be used for actual customer interaction while they shop for items. Video Analytics can record the product where the customers showed interest, then in real time the IoT system can give special offers to customers for the product they showed interest in through mobile apps. This method requires a larger IoT infrastructure to be implemented but has many long term benefits which improve customer loyalty.

It is important to study customer behaviour and apply new ideas after analysis to give customers a better experience. In highly competitive business such as retail, the customer experience provided forms a key feature in the success of the overall business. Once the best models are achieved they can be replicated in other stores as well.

Video Analytics Help Increase Operation Efficiency

Video Analytics gives quantifiable data in real time which can be used to take decisions to improve Retail Store efficiency. Some of these points are:

  • Real Time Data can help in making decisions to make the operations more efficient. Such as, the opening of additional counters when the queues exceed the limit. Also, checking the customer density at different periods of times and deploying staff accordingly.
  • Better Energy Management through calculating customer density at various locations of the store. If there are areas without anyone visiting for long periods of time then the cooling and lighting can be adjusted so that energy is conserved. This also gives a green eco-friendly image to the store.
  • Observing the staff and their effective utilization. New methods of Video Analytics can separately record employee uniforms.
  • Keep a count on the number of customers at different times of the day to allocate resources.
  • Video Analytics can keep a watch on the inventory of store items and when they reach a particular level then replenishment of products can be ordered immediately.

Video Analytics Helps in Improving the Effectiveness of Security Surveillance

Security was one of the basic uses of Video Surveillance and with Video Analytics, it has been taken one step further. One of the main areas for surveillance is the Point of Sale terminals where a significant amount of shrinkage takes place. Certain exception cases can be made which point out to any type of illegal activity. Let us look at some of these cases –

  • Entering values manually can be sometimes done illegally but with the help of Video Analytics, it can provide a direct correlation to the occurrence and its video copy.
  • Returning of Products when there is no customer present is an odd case which can also be captured.
  • The cash register is opened but there is no item purchased, certain instances can be looked into to find theft.
  • Special video cameras can be used to detect activity in areas other than the main store. Such as storage space and restricted areas. Night vision and infrared cameras provide important surveillance of such areas.

In the case of security surveillance inside the store, Video Analytics can track activity at locations where expensive high-end items are on display. If there is unnecessary loitering or some suspicious activity security alert can be raised immediately by real-time data analysis.

Types of Cameras for Surveillance:

Most retail stores already have video surveillance installed but for those looking for advancements some of the best cameras to look for are –

HD CCTV Camera – It is a move from Standard Definition to High Definition camera setup. With IoT gaining prominence in Home and Commercial infrastructure, HD CCTV Cameras give more power to video surveillance with 4K display and bigger and smarter storage.

HD SDI Camera – Can give uncompressed 1080P video. The video is then compressed for storage to a lighter H.264 format and then decompressed back to 1080P at the time of viewing. The video quality is at par with HD video channels.

IP Megapixel Camera – High-Resolution Cameras connected in a network. They allow for Higher Resolution video and with different video formats such as Hemispheric and Panoramic, a lot more detail and coverage can be captured. Images with a resolution higher than 10 Megapixel can provide excellent zoom and pan capabilities. Such images provide extra details making data for security as well as customer analysis more comprehensive.

Night Vision Cameras: When there is a minimum level of light, Night Vision Cameras are the only option to record intelligible video. The Infrared variety gives surveillance even when there is no light present.

New Development in Video Analytics Space 

  • More advanced systems are coming into the market. Data recognition at the computing level is a new advancement. Video Analytics that can segment the data per age, size, and sex as well as recognise employee uniforms can further streamline data and give more in-depth analysis.
  • Many technology giants are developing Artificial Intelligence system which can be incorporated with Video Analytics Tools. This can give highly sophisticated functioning methods which can enhance efficiency and profits.