Successful retailers rank ‘customer experience’ as the most important measure of real performance. A good customer experience leads to increased sales; a bad one can be disastrous.
In this article, we outline the critical role intelligent video surveillance can play in helping retailers understand, measure and improve the customer experience in their stores.
Can customer experience be measured?
Customer experience is made up of both emotional and practical factors. Emotional factors might include customer satisfaction, complaints and customer loyalty. Practical factors might include how easily customers find what they want, the assistance they may have needed and how quickly it was provided.
It is apparent that using intelligent video surveillance in retail applications offers great insight. Additionally, it provides a method by which to measure many of the practical and emotional aspects of the customer experience.
Digifort drives overall business performance.
Digifort comprises Video Management Software (VMS) and Video Analytics. A VMS allows CCTV video data to be stored, filtered, indexed, viewed, searched and retrieved. Video analytics enhances this with artificial intelligence or “computer vision”, mapping video images to relevant descriptions and including pattern recognition, statistical learning, projective geometry and image processing for categorizing data for subsequent search and retrieval.
Digifort is a reliable, commercial video surveillance solution operating on standard IT server and PC architecture. It changes a passive surveillance system into a proactive, information gathering, analysis and reporting tool. Retail benefits include reduced labour and layout costs, improved surveillance accuracy, increased system scalability, improved business management and increased operational compliance.
Business intelligence for improved customer experience
Intelligent surveillance provides retailers with concrete data for monitoring and evaluating store performance and improving the customer experience. Analytics software provides people counting data; footfall and customer aisle routes; dwell time at shelves, checkouts and queues; POS conversion rates; behaviour patterns and more. Analytics increases customer interactions by up to 3 times, helping retailers sell more.
The analytics data can also be correlated with other retail data including sales, merchandising, marketing, security, loss prevention, logistics and staffing. This can help to inform retail practice, procedures and areas for improvement. The data provided is visual, measurable and contributes to improving the customer experience by helping the retailer to deliver:
- Appropriate staff deployment during identified peak periods.
- Enhanced queue and check-out management to reduce waiting times.
- Identification of customers requiring assistance, using dwell time data, messaging and deploying staff accordingly.
- Evaluation of store promotions, such as signage, product positioning and displays.
- Improved sales performance through increased customer interactions.
- Improved customer service performance through improved response times.
- Cross-selling and increased sales opportunities through footfall and shopping pathway analysis.
- Enhanced store layout and aisle design using footfall and bottle neck data.
- Video management in retail applications
Digifort provides retailers with business intelligence by combining video analytics with video management and recording. The entire retail process can be monitored from distribution centres and loading areas, to store entry points and POS. Suspicious or dangerous behaviour can be identified, critical scenes reviewed and remedial action taken in real time.
Loss prevention – the security aspect
Digifort can recognise when an item is removed from a shelf, providing alerts to retail staff. Removal of high-value items, small objects such as cosmetics and thin items including books and CDs from shelves can all create alerts. Unusual behaviour, such as numerous items being removed from the same shelf, groups of people gathering is aisles, movement in alarm zones, loitering and left items can all be identified, recorded and indexed. Alarm schedules can be created for day, night, weekend and holidays.
Staff theft, which mostly occurs at the POS terminals, is estimated to be more than five times greater than shoplifter theft. Digifort will correlate surveillance footage with POS data to give even greater protection, identifying internal theft and poor staff performance. Employee sweet-hearting, including altering sale tags, charging less, allowing multiple items through a till at once, deliberately discounting items and unusual product returns can all be detected automatically.
Advanced search facilities enable quick investigation of events, providing irrefutable evidence of what has happened. Intelligent systems simplify the search and retrieve process by linking video footage to categorized alert types and filtering out unwanted footage. Search time is reduced, saving labour costs, and incidents are more likely to be investigated as a result. This makes an intelligent video system much more effective as a loss prevention tool.
Retailers benefit from enhanced security, business intelligence and process control. Shrinkage is reduced, sales are increased and the customer experience is improved. Digifort retail solutions play a prominent role in the retail community’s achievement of broader company-wide goals that ensure positive customer experience, increase revenues and drive overall business performance.