How Retailers Can Use Video Analytics to Draw Valuable Insights
The retail sector has seen dramatic changes in recent years with the rise of online shopping and an isolating pandemic driving an exodus of customers from long-established shared spaces such as malls and movie theaters. Despite less-than-ideal circumstances, many of these trends have challenged traditional brick-and-mortar retailers to rethink how they do business, and some of the results represent an unqualified boon for the industry.
Take, for instance, the evolution of retail video analytics. The original purpose of video analytics in the retail space was fixed to loss prevention and security — concerns that, to this day, remain top of mind for retailers. The 2022 National Retail Study found that retail shrinkage post-COVID had expanded to a $1 billion problem, while retailers are reporting a 26.5 percent increase in organized retail crime (ORC).
But given recent strides in artificial intelligence and deep learning, today’s retailers are now piggybacking off existing surveillance systems to collect visual data that can also inform their operations in myriad other ways. Rather than lamenting the vanishing of certain industry standbys, the savviest retailers are making the most of what they already have, using video analytics to draw valuable insights that allow for the optimization of modern retail operations. Here are just a few notable ones:
Today’s brick-and-mortar retail spaces are competing not only with each other but also an entirely different style of commerce. Online shopping has combined affordability and convenience with integrated, targeted advertising and marketing campaigns that amplify customer engagement and retention. Under the circumstances, it may seem a small wonder that a mall or physical retail shop can compete at all in this new marketplace.
But they can, and do, in part because retailers have begun leveraging video analytics to tap into the data already available to them through existing security and surveillance systems. From store layout optimization to cashier-response management to restroom maintenance, video analytics is converting unusable video content into data insights that can help retailers improve the customer experience at every touchpoint.
Foot Traffic and High-Exposure Areas
Heat maps offer detailed information about customer engagement within a retail space — including the number of patrons that enter a particular area, how long they dwell, and repeat visits. This data can help a retailer better understand the natural flow of foot traffic through their space and make adjustments accordingly. These data dashboards can also help identify popular products, which, when paired with traffic maps, can drive profits by putting sought-after offerings in a store’s most highly trafficked areas.
Video analytics provide insights that, without the benefit of AI tools, were once entirely speculative. However, retailers today have the data to confirm areas that are best suited for pop-ups, seasonal kiosks and more. Knowledge of customer parking habits, foot traffic and engagement hotspots can help identify areas within a store or a mall layout that optimize retail space and drive marketing and merchandising efforts. Example: A few basic data points could help guide a retailer where to set up “Santa’s Workshop” and where parents and children are likely to visit after waiting in a strategically plotted line featuring displays and advertising of the hottest toys, games and other products of the holiday season.
Leasing and Resource Management
Video analytics is a key pillar of business intelligence, aiding retailers not only in deciding on best practices for the management of their spaces but also in matters more directly connected to profit margins. Visual data identifies parameters that can help retailers best determine the value of a space — and thus fair lease listings. Additionally, it can give retailers more information about where employees spend their time and reveal areas of potential neglect, providing necessary details for optimized reallocation of resources.
Leveraging extracted and aggregated video metadata gives retailers the opportunity to derive actionable insights that enable data-driven operational decision making.
Liam Galin is the CEO of BriefCam, a video analytics market leader and innovator.
Related story: Retailers Turn to Technology to Combat Organized Retail Crime
Liam Galin joins BriefCam as CEO to take charge of the company’s growth strategy and maintain its position as a video analytics market leader and innovator. Bringing over 20 years of leadership experience at international technology companies in various market segments, Liam is passionate about building connections between the Market, Technology, and People, in constant pursuit of innovation and new ways of approaching everyday challenges.