Guest Column | October 21, 2013

7 Ways Your Retail Clients Can Use IP Video — In Addition To Security

By Gadi Piran, President, OnSSI

Video in the retail environment has many uses beyond surveillance and can provide high value to retailers who embrace the expanding capabilities and surprising cost-effectiveness of IP-based networked video. This opportunity is particularly attractive in the retail environment since narrow margins and downward cost pressures make it important to show a technology ROI. The added value of uncovering additional benefits and uses of video — like the following list of seven non-security uses — makes the ROI case that much stronger.

  1. Employee performance: Video can present opportunities to improve employee performance in the areas of customer service, attentiveness, sales aptitude, and more. Both good and poor performance can be reviewed and analyzed to create teachable moments and positive reinforcement.
  2. Merchandising: How well is your new display performing compared to other point-of-purchase materials or by part of the day, day of the week etc? Beyond sales numbers, video enables you to watch how a display changes traffic patterns and attracts attention.
  3. Utility cost control: Video integrated with third-party offerings such as HVAC can save costs. For example, the heating/air conditioning levels can be automatically adjusted based on how many people are in a room.
  4. Traffic management: By reviewing and analyzing movement of people within a retail outlet, it is possible to improve the store layout to alleviate crowding. You can also increase profits by placing high-profit items at a higher-traffic point.
  5. Personnel scheduling: Watching video can provide data as far as when more personnel are needed in specific areas of the store. Having additional sales associates available in busier day parts can improve sales and increase the value of individual transactions.
  6. HR issues: Video tells the unaltered truth in cases of accusation of harassment.
  7. Liability protection: Many liability cases hinge on the story of the plaintiff with little supporting evidence. Video showing a “customer” planning a slip-and-fall situation will provide absolute proof that a slip-and-fall incident did not take place.

Exploring the management benefits of video, in addition to the traditional focus on security and loss prevention, is key to leveraging the complete value of video in retail operations. Real-time video coupled with the reach of networking is a powerful tool for today's retailers, who are now beginning to recognize and embrace these expanded benefits. Retailers should take a look at the wealth of benefits video can provide beyond shrinkage or personal liability lawsuits. Today’s video is a broad-based management and business intelligence tool whose value to retailers is just now being realized.