With the advent of high-definition, intelligent video analytics, deep learning, and megapixel resolution security cameras and integrated software, security cameras aren't just security cameras anymore! If you have security cameras at your retail location and are only using them for the purpose of security, you are missing out on the creative and vast opportunities you could have to improve sales, customer engagement and loyalty, and the efficiency of your sales team. We've highlighted a few ways that your security cameras can do just that!
HEAT MAPPING FOOT TRAFFIC FOR SALES AND SERVICE
Thinking of your store as having prime "real estate" locations, and other areas that aren't so popular is the first step in understanding store layout. But, what if you don't know yet what's hot and what's not? And, what if you aren't sure which products on a shelf are getting the most attention and should be more front and center or those that get no attention at all? Security camera technology with heat mapping capabilities can paint a fascinating, and beautiful, picture. Plus, it's quantifiable.
Stores can and do charge vendors premiums for the best locations. For those who are not yet in the retail world, next time you go to the grocery store pay particular attention to which products are at eye-level, which products are very high and hard to reach, and which ones are at the bottom. Look at the price points as well as the brand names, and you'll start to see how this shelving "real estate" works. A good place to get a feel for shelving "real estate" is in the detergent and cleaning products aisle.
Another insight that can be gained from heat mapping is the location of “cold” areas where shoplifting has higher potential due to less traffic.
Heat mapping is store optimization. Where before heat mapping technology was available, stores still regularly moved items around and changed layout. With heat mapping the process is down to a verifiable science and makes time spent in doing so much more efficient and effective.
The following are three scenario layout heat map images (click for source) from VideoMining's 2014 study on how to influence shopper-to-buyer conversion and basket size by studying heat maps of convenience store layouts. Pay special attention to the statistics of each as the layout changes, and where new red-zones (high traffic) form.
LAYOUT 1: Center Entrance/Center Counter
Image source: www.cspdailynews.com
LAYOUT 2: Right Entrance/Right Counter
Shopper to buyer conversion: 55%
Average basket: $6.70
Flow: The store has a 5%-lower-than-average conversion rate, with most traffic stopping at the foodservice categories in the front of the store. This map suggests retailers insert points of interruption to destination categories such as fountain drinks and the coffee bar.
Image source: www.cspdailynews.com
LAYOUT 3: Dual Entrance/Central Counter
Shopper to buyer conversion: 71%
Average basket: $6.90
Flow: Multiple entrances expose the same buyer to different categories on different trips. This particular layout forces customers to navigate the store to reach destination categories.
Image source: www.cspdailynews.com
If your favorite grocery store, retail store, or convenience store recently switched things around, or seem to switch things around frequently leaving you going all over into new areas looking for your regular purchases, they have probably undertaken a heat-mapping study to increase conversion. After all, most humans are creatures of habit!
Heat mapping can also show which items get the most hands-on action as well.
LICENSE PLATE RECOGNITION FOR GOODWILL & CUSTOMER LOYALTY
The obvious reason to have license plate recognition cameras and software (also known as Automatic Number Plate Recognition Cameras) integrated with retail security cameras is to ward off known shoplifters and other offenders before they have a chance to make another hit at the location. But, license plate recognition can also be used to foster goodwill and customer loyalty!
For example, when utilized for purposes of goodwill and service, the location manager can receive an alert from the system when the license plate of a regular customer with physical disabilities drives up, prompting the manager to send a customer service associate out to greet them and offer assistance. Perhaps the manager knows that this particular customer uses the electric carts and the associate can bring the electric cart right to their car.
Image source: tabooya.com
FACIAL RECOGNITION FOR SUPERIOR SERVICE
Like license plate recognition, facial recognition enabled cameras and software have been utilized primarily for identifying suspects and making record of people who are at the location if the information is needed for the investigation of a crime. The technology is advanced to the level that it captures data such as gender, approximate age and can even assess a person's mood as they walk by the camera zone.
But, what if facial recognition could also be used to increase customer recognition and loyalty? When employees of a store recognize regulars and call them by name in greeting, and even know their favorite products, customer engagement and loyalty will go through the roof. So, not only can a store create a database of known offenders and receive an alert of warning if they come on site, but managers can also get alerts to favorite customers and make sure their experience is personalized and positive.
For instance, if a grocery store has a coffee bar and a certain customer comes in frequently for their morning cup-o-Joe and their favorite scone, the manager will get an alert they've arrived and can send the café an alert the customer is on the way. Imagine the positive word-of-mouth that customer would have for the store if a friendly employee was already ready for them with their favorite brew and scone by the time they arrived? Or, a regular mom with a baby was greeted at the door with a baby-carrier ready shopping cart and she didn't have to go hunting for one? And, what about the elderly man whose wife recently passed away and she did all the shopping? Someone could spring into action to lend a helping hand. A+ customer service goes a long way, thanks to your security camera.
One California restaurant called CaliBurger is using opt-in customer-activated facial recognition technology as part of a loyalty program. Customers who agree to share their facial images get in on perks and rewards. The software and cameras are located at ordering kiosks and recognizes members immediately, activates their associated loyalty account, and can even display their favorite meal with suggestions they may also like. Don't be too surprised if this type of thing comes to a food joint near you in the near future!
ASSESSING "DWELL TIME" NEEDS FOR SALES OPPORTUNITY
You may have noticed that when you go to your favorite store there are certain areas where people dwell for longer periods than others. For example, in the lotion section of the grocery store people dwell a long time looking at all the selections of face cream opposed to in the battery section. Another long dwell time zone is the wine section, so many grocers now have dedicated wine section assistants at the ready to ask you if they can help you find anything, whereas you won't find employees at the ready to assist in the canned soup aisle. These stores have studied dwell time.
With dwell time, analytics cameras have the intelligence to identify and alert store managers to a variety of potential situations, from a customer who is confused about a selection or having trouble finding something, to a customer who is looking for an opportunity to slip some lipstick into their purse without getting caught. Being able to view dwell time locations without having to actually go to the location can protect employees and get the right people activated in the right situations.
In addition, as a store manager or owner, you can share your dwell time data with your vendors to show them which displays are getting the most attention and why other displays are not. Combined with heat mapping, stores can pinpoint issues and come up with great solutions.
Finally, what about those terrible check-out lines that form leaving customers disgruntled that of the 20-or-so check out stations there are only three lanes open! We can all relate to this. There are some stores we just won't go to based on the hassle of check-out alone, and unless the products and prices are so good or there's not other option so customers have to keep showing up then that's a real loss of customer loyalty. With dwell time assessment using camera technology, managers can be alerted to long lines forming so they can spring other employees into action and decrease customer irritation. At one store we visited, when the lines get long we noticed the managers helping shoppers get into lines quicker by browsing the line lengths for customers and guiding them to the one that will potentially go the fastest.
HOT PROSPECT ALERTS FOR LEVERAGE
Let's say you spot a shopper who is dwelling in one particular section, or with one particular item, and so far no associate has come to assist them. Perhaps you can tell from how they are acting that they really like the item but are undecided, and they seem genuinely in need of assistance but haven't asked for it. You can leverage your security cameras for sales by alerting a nearby associate via text or walkie to go assist the customer and find out if they need another size or have any questions. This is how you can really optimize an in-store team, drive sales, and monitor customer service.
STORE TRAINING TOOLS FOR SUPER SALESMANSHIP
Last, but not least, is how you can improve sales training of employees through your security cameras. By identifying hot zones and areas where there is significant dwell time, a manager or trainer can point out gaps in engagement and needs for greater service. Moments of poor service can be used as a training tool as well as moments of outstanding service can be used for praise and positive examples. And, seeing where your most engaging sales staff would be better utilized to increase customer satisfaction as well as moving your diligent but less engaging staff to low-visibility roles could have double positive impact on both your customers and employee fit and satisfaction. Additionally, management can assess where there is excess employee dwell time as well and ensure that supervisors are keeping the flow moving for everyone.
Today, security cameras aren't just for security!
If you are a retailer and would like to find out how GenX Security can provide smart technology and smart cameras with sophisticated software to help your retail store improve sales and management engagement, give us a call. We have a number of outstanding, sophisticated brands to custom tailor to your needs, and our quotes are always free.
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