The Crunch: Retailers have been using video cameras to monitor stores for decades, mostly as a deterrent for shoplifters. But when calculating the ROI of a security system, it is hard to put a dollar amount on thwarted thieves. Axis Communications has helped move surveillance into the future by adding consumer analytics to powerful cameras, providing actionable insights that lead to measurable ROI. From gauging dwell time and traffic patterns to providing HDTV Quality images that help resolve cases, Axis products provide security that goes well beyond standard surveillance. Cyber-attacks are frequently making headline news, and as more devices gain network access via IoT, Axis will be there to connect with them, boosting revenue while also giving retailers peace of mind.
The retail industry has been using surveillance and security equipment for decades now, and, until recently, these technologies have mostly served the same primary purpose: theft deterrence.
When potential shoplifters see a “Smile, You’re on Camera” sign, they may think twice about their plan to steal an item. But if they decide to take a product from a store where security cameras aren’t optimized for image quality, catching the perpetrator or recovering the item isn’t a sure thing.
What’s more, a security system can be a significant investment — with cameras, setup, and file storage, among other costs — and using one solely as a theft deterrent may not provide any measurable ROI. Those are some of the problems Axis Communications set out to solve by improving on security while also using networks to provide retailers with valuable customer data.
Axis is the market leader in network video, inventing the world’s first network camera back in 1996. And the company continues to take a network-first approach to security by creating intelligent video solutions that benefit from connectivity.
“An intelligent camera is as much a camera as a smartphone is a phone,” said Hedgie Bartol, Retail Business Development Manager at Axis. “It has the ability to do far more than record an image because it is connected to a network and powers insights.”
Axis produces video solutions that help retailers with problems they have always faced — like security and shrinkage — while providing them with the tools to solve problems of the future through customer experience data analysis.
Consumer Analytics Let Businesses Capitalize on In-Store Trends
When a video system can also analyze complex customer data, that dramatically increases the ROI for a business. Axis has built analytics into its systems, allowing an owner to glean insights in a variety of key areas and optimize a store for efficiency.
Axis cameras can analyze complex consumer traffic within a store and even alert a company if checkout lines are getting too long. That capability allows a store manager to call in another associate, or look at queue data over time and make more efficient scheduling decisions.
“The power of analytics is in the reporting over time,” Hedgie told us. “The ability to see what happened yesterday, but also compare that to what happened six months ago at a different store. It is that quantifiable data that means so much to retailers.”
The cameras can also track other important aspects of in-store customer journeys like dwell time and traffic patterns so businesses can see which areas of their stores are most popular. That data can lead to a retailer relocating a particular endcap to boost product sales, or reconfiguring the store to reduce cold zones.
Results can be delivered through an Axis dashboard that helps with analysis or given as raw data for a company to include in its own system. And that actionable information is in addition to the other security-related aspects of the system that are just as powerful.
High-Quality Video Helps Detect Inventory Loss and Shrinkage
While in-store cameras will always act as a deterrent, they won’t keep everyone from shoplifting, which means retailers also need ways to deal with the losses. One way is to identify the shoplifter and recover the items, but this hasn’t always been a strength of security cameras.
“We’ve all seen news stories that show a blurry blob on a photo and say, ‘If you can identify this man, call the police,’” Hedgie said. “Sometimes, the image is so bad you can’t even tell if it’s a person. But we offer retailers HDTV-quality images and surveillance.”
Rather than a grainy image that doesn’t provide much assistance to a retailer — or the authorities — Axis equipment produces high-quality video that can be crucial to closing a case. With high-definition images and 720p, 1080p, and 4K compatible surveillance systems, retailers can get a clear picture of an incident, down to the vital details.
“With Axis, retailers can identify exactly what is happening in a video,” Hedgie told us. “They can tell whether a person took a $5 or a $10 bill, if they were wearing glasses, or if they had any identifying marks. Some retailers have reported a 30% increase in case closure and restitution strictly off video quality.”
But loss prevention is only half of the security Axis can provide, as the company’s solutions are just as impactful when used outside of the store environment.
Proactive Security and Defense Made Possible by Intelligent Tech
Axis helps retailers secure not only their merchandise but also their operations and facilities as well. This type of security requires more of an outward focus, and Axis has built smart technology to help businesses monitor and react quickly to any situation.
Retailers can use the cameras to monitor storefronts, warehouses, distribution centers, and even parking lots, among other locations. By setting rules for each camera, that business owner can be alerted if a camera detects an anomaly, and other technologies can even be activated automatically.
“If someone is loitering outside the front door of a business for more than 30 seconds, the owner can be sent an alert, or it can trigger a light to be turned on,” Hedgie said. “Now businesses can be proactive. Instead of reviewing video well after an incident, they can be alerted and know about an incident while it is happening.”
The cameras can also be used as virtual trip wires for perimeter defense, sending an alert to a retailer if anyone crosses them along with high-quality video or images of the incident. This feature reduces time to action by giving business owners or investigators vital information quickly.
And Axis is always improving its products, making them more compatible with the connected technology movement that will help retailers become more efficient and secure.
The Rise of Integrated Solutions Means More Control for Retailers
While the “Smile, You’re on Camera” sign probably won’t be updated to say, “Smile, You’re on Camera and Analytics From Your Visit are Being Used to Improve Your Customer Experience,” that is what Axis Communications is helping retailers accomplish. And as technology becomes more connected, Axis will be there to enhance the ability of businesses to leverage and secure their operations.
“More devices are becoming network-enabled, even your refrigerator can be connected to the internet and build your grocery list for you,” Hedgie told us. “And when integrated solutions are working together, a retailer’s imagination is the limit to what can be done with the help of Axis.”
As Axis helps add more connected devices to a network, a clearer picture of a store’s operation becomes evident.
Axis is there to make sure that retailers can maximize ROI by providing them with smart video solutions that secure their operations while providing the actionable data needed to enhance customer experience.