Security and Beyond: Video Management Systems in the Retail World


Video surveillance technology can have a huge impact in the retail environment, helping store officials protect against customer and employee theft, fraud, slip-and-fall claims and even the unexpected. However, the benefits don’t end there.

Retail surveillance systems can collect hundreds and thousands of hours of video footage of employees, customers and management. Increasingly, stores are leveraging that “extra” footage for non-security applications in order to improve processes, increase sales and more.

Video management systems are especially powerful tools for retailers. Let’s take a look at some of the emerging non-security applications for VMSs:

Queue management. New video analytics tools can be programmed to notify store personnel when a check-out or customer service line gets too long. Employees can respond in real time to help keep the customer experience a positive one.

Reporting on trends. Understanding long-term trends in your store can help you to maximize the use of your space and marketing initiatives. For example, traffic flow software might help you to realize that customers tend to gravitate toward certain areas of the store. This can help you to redirect your marketing and display efforts – or rethink the store layout altogether.

Tracking visitor counts. How many customers came into a store during a normal weekday? How many visit on a Saturday or on Black Friday? Knowing these exact numbers can help a retailer customize promotions and other offers depending on the day or season. And, equally important, they can more accurately schedule employees according to actual needs.

Monitoring employee compliance. Video surveillance can also be used to keep an eye on employees to ensure that they are complying with time and attendance expectations, dress codes and other standards of conduct.

Honing in on consumer demand. Some advanced applications even allow retailers to track dwell time and product lift, enabling them to see, over time, which products are the most enticing to customers. This information is incredibly powerful for determining how – and when – to best market each item.

To take advantage of these types of advanced capabilities, it’s important for retailers to seek out a video management system that is based on open standards and can easily integrate with various applications. Many retailers also make use of 360-degree/hemispheric cameras, which are well-suited to the retail environment because a single camera can capture a very wide field of view. An experienced integrator can help any retailer decide on the technology and applications that will be best for their budget and unique needs.