Whilst the rise of eCommerce has seemingly made it easier for people to shop, the retail sector has felt its disruptive impact more than most. With costs to pay in regards to staffing, rent, maintenance and stock loss, traditional brick-and-mortar operations are struggling to compete against their more agile online counterparts.
So how can physical retailers use modern tech to their advantage? Able to make the experience of shopping more effective (and safer), CCTV installers may just be able to help.
CCTV Installers – Helping Retail Customers To Find Their Way
The major reason why people choose to shop online is that it is simple, quick and less stressful. Going out into the 'real world' means expending more effort, time and money to do so – and this is before we step foot onto the high street or through the doors of a store, where the atmosphere is not conducive to what many of us would equate with being 'fun'. Online shopping is fun because it allows people to find what they want quickly – they can finish their shopping, put the kettle on, their feet up and answer questions in time with The Chase whilst we're still trying to get out of the car park.
So how to change this perception? Known to be effective monitors of crime, CCTV security systems can play a big part in setting a safe atmosphere in-store – but did you know that they can also help to make a customer's shopping experience better? Able to pick out certain elements of a store in fine detail, modern HD security cameras can help the retailer to assign staff to (and be aware of) particular busy areas, understand the effect of their advertisements and displays, even to help the customer to find the products they need.
The big advantage that in-store shopping has over their online counterparts is that they offer a more personal customer experience (or at least should be doing). With online shopping being such a big attraction, getting the customer experience aspect right is more important than ever for retailers – the trouble is that many stores aren't using the tech they have to their advantage. Customers find it hard to locate the products they're shopping for, a lack of staff around to answer their queries and be faced with long queues in the process.
The question then, is how can retailers make use of the tech brought by CCTV installers to improve the customer experience?
The Smart Tech Used By Today's CCTV Security Cameras
Being able to understand the flow of customers will help a retailer to put in place plans to optimise their store's sale performance. By using the accurate people-counting data provided by a modern camera, a store will be able to understand a wide range of statistics – including who/how many people are in the store on a daily/weekly or monthly basis, even at pre-defined 'peak' times.
By layering the collected data over their preferred time period, the retailer will be able to compare it against the store's sale figures and its overheads, informing them of what operational strategy they should take.
Another aspect of people counting is that retailers will also be able to gain an insight into the customer experience. By evaluating the conversion rate (the number of people who enter the store against the number of people who make a purchase) they can start to understand the effect any in-store adverts/offers/displays etc are having.
Another great way to know which products/areas of the store customers are most interested in is by combining the security camera system with computer software to create heat mapping. This tech monitors the store for activity and produces colour-coded maps based on its findings. The 'hot spots' (as per the name) are the areas that have been most used; understanding which areas/products are the most popular (or not).
One of the best tools available for heat mapping is the fisheye camera. This is a single, compact camera that captures a panoramic, HD image over an impressively large area; making them a cost-effective solution for heat mapping (as opposed to other types of camera that cannot view as wide an area).
Waiting in a queue for a long time has a massive negative effect on a customer's in-store experience. If they see a long queue in a store, they may be put off, stopping themselves from shopping there and going somewhere else. If they find this to be a regular occurrence, then they may even avoid going in again altogether.
With their cameras, CCTV installers can create queue detection solutions that can help retailers to manage the size of each queue. By counting the number of people, it will inform the manager whether if they need to open up a new till to shorten each line (or in times of downtime, to close one). By doing this, the store will be effectively managing their queues – if customers see that the store has done everything it can to reduce their waiting time, they would feel reassured even if they may have to still wait for a minute or two.
Integration With Point of Sale.
Teaming transaction records up with surveillance footage can help to provide valuable information in regards to reducing disputes at checkouts. In the (recent) past, these two systems worked independently – to find the correct footage, the retailer would have to trawl through hours of footage. Therefore, collecting evidence of a transaction would have taken a number of hours – with 'time being money' finding evidence of footage just seemed more trouble than what it was worth.
Today however, CCTV cameras are able to use Point of Sale (POS) integration that automatically uploads transaction data, along with the footage of it happening, to the retailer's video management system. This makes the process simple and easy – no having to sit through hours of footage or constantly rewinding images, a retailer can find proof of all its transactions within seconds.
All of these examples are designed to give retailers the insight into what they need to do to bring their brick-and-mortar stores up-to-date, competing against the threat of the Internet. Thinking our way out of issues is never the problem – we just need to think smarter. This is something that CCTV installers can help with.
Maxtag – High-Quality Retail Security & Analytical Solutions
If you're interested in learning more about how you can improve the performance (and security) of your store with the latest in surveillance camera technology, why not get in touch with the experts here at Maxtag? You can call our CCTV installers on 0800 044 3160 or e-mail us at email@example.com