How the Retail Industry is using Video Analytics to Extract Data from CCTV Streams?
Video analytics is a powerful tool that is capable of analyzing video to determine various objects and events and when this video analytics is blended with AI it can change the way of business in the retrial industry that too without increasing the store’s capital expenditure, the management can get hold of essential analytics and insights about visitors and customers all by using the existing CCTVs.
The Lesser-Known yet Crucial Problem
The retail industry, as we all know, relies a lot on good customer service and smart marketing campaigns. The brick-and-mortar stores work just fine in analyzing manually the requirements of their prospective customers, their purchasing habits, and their reaction to the marketing campaigns. Although, these data points are prone to be biased as per the different store supervisors or auditors. There is no ‘third eye’ available for the top management which can assist in making proactive decisions in real-time and collate all the necessary customer analytics centrally on a dashboard easily accessible and comprehensible by the management.
Furthermore, one of the major reasons why e-commerce websites are winning the retail race is because of their ability to track the daily customer inflows, dwell time, and purchase choices through an automated system. They know exactly what to offer to their customers the next time they open their virtual store. Therefore, some key customer analytics which is crucial in making important decisions for marketing, operations, inventory control, etc. are not available with the offline stores.
How can AI assist?
This is exactly where the ‘dumb’ CCTV cameras that hardly do anything but record the events come into play. Like a child learns to count from 1 to 10 and then to 100, Artificial Intelligence also enables devices like CCTV cameras to learn and smartly identify the events taking place and collate them for future reference. As a result, with Video Analytics, your CCTV cameras aren’t ‘dumb’ anymore.
Now, the enablement of such technology has multiple outcomes for a retail outlet. It provides crucial data points, as and when required by the personnel from marketing, operations, safety, security, and also inventory control departments and therefore enables them to make smarter data-driven decisions which ultimately affect the customer experience and store performance for the better.
Some of the many AI-based features that can be enabled through CCTV cameras are:
- Footfall Analysis and Occupancy Check: Retail outlets and restaurants/cafes can have a track of the number of visitors on an hourly or daily basis. This can assist the management in analyzing the inventory requirements of a store along with its performance and customers’ reaction to marketing campaigns. Along with the calculation of daily walk-ins, the management of the store also has easy access to the real-time occupancy of the store and customer dwell time as well by using Video Analytics on their existing CCTV cameras.
- Heatmap Analysis: track the flow of customers within the outlet. This feature uses CCTV cameras to identify the ‘hottest’ spot within the outlet. It can also help the management analyze the brand/product that is performing the best and enables smart data-driven decision-making.
- Staff Productivity Check: real-time monitoring of staff performance is made possible by automating CCTVs with AI. The store supervisor can centrally or remotely check whether the staff members are executing their tasks in a prescribed way or not. Optimizing the exact number of staff members needed in-store is a product that is possible by analyzing the customer inflow and outflow. The management can take direct cost-cutting measures to assist make the most out of the available resources.
- Queue Management: AI-enabled cameras can now also track the length of queues and the average waiting time per customer in those queues. Such a feature can enable the store supervisors to make smart decisions regarding counter optimization.
- Demographic Analysis: analysis of the age and gender of the customers can be enabled on the CCTV cameras. Such insights are efficacious in inventory management and also assists in smart marketing campaigns.
- Premium Customer Identification: with the use of Facial Recognition, the staff members can identify their repetitive and premium customers using CCTV cameras. Such an analysis can enable a better customer experience, and considering 80% of a store’s revenue comes from 20% loyal customers, this feature of Video Analytics is a must-have in this era of digitalization.
- Custom Events: as per the requirements of the stores of different orientations, custom AI modules can now be trained to help the outlets make the most out of their investments. Analyzing customer’s specific activities, trigger points, turn-around times, etc. can all be done with custom AI developments as per the situation within the outlet/store or cafe/restaurant.
These are only a few examples of the use-cases which can benefit a retail outlet the most. Apart from these, there are multiple safety and security-related AI events as well such as, Face Mask check, fire/smoke detection, hostile customer detection, safety gear, and hygiene protocol check, etc.
Effects and Benefits?
Automating your CCTV cameras with AI in a retail space can go a long way. You can achieve both, Direct and Indirect ROIs by utilizing your cameras as a 3rd eye. From the reduction of manual auditing to better staff accountability and highly optimized marketing campaigns to target customer-centric offerings, this virtual workforce enabled by Video Analytics offers a plethora of benefits and breakthroughs for the organization.
Utility for Marketing Department:
Key Customer Analytics such as Footfall, Demography, Dwell Time, Heatmap, etc. derived from CCTV cameras enabled with Video Analytics can very well assist the Marketing department to optimize their campaigns in the most effective and streamlined manner. JARVIS, on its Gender Analytics dashboard, gives an overview of the gender count coming in at each store. Therefore, such an insight can be of significant use for the marketing department to align their campaigns in a way that caters to their most loyal customer segment.
Similarly, the performance of any marketing campaign such as any banners, posters, or any type of visual merchandise can be better assessed by such analytics. An increase in the daily customer footfall, in such as case, shall denote good performance of the campaign/visual merchandise.
How can the Daily Operations benefit?
The day-to-day operations of each store can be optimized and streamlined to ensure the best possible use of the resources available. For instance, the daily flow of customers shall help deduce the requirements of staff at a particular store/location for a given period of time. On the same lines, the performance of the same staff can be tracked by checking their availability at the counters, near trial rooms, around the aisle, etc. Staff performance in terms of their attendance and dress code can also be tracked using the same CCTV cameras with Video Analytics.
Safety and Security Department’s take:
Similarly, there are different AI offerings in Video Analytics that can assist the Safety and Security departments as well in their processes of Auditing and maintaining a safe and secure environment for their customers and employees. Tracking any hostile customer, fire, theft, etc. in real-time can effectively help the management potentially save a lot of money. Nowadays, CCTV cameras are installed equipped with inbuilt microphones, which can also be used to track any suspicious audio within the stores. AI modules are trained to actively notify the security about any sounds such as a person shouting, gunshot, etc.
Thinking about RoI?
There has hardly been an easy way to justify any investment in digitalization during this era of technological transformation. Digitalization either improves the bottom line for the companies in a direct manner or in an indirect manner.
When it comes to the use of Artificial Intelligence-based Video Analytics, any organization can avail of both types of benefits. A direct reduction in manual monitoring and auditing costs has been noticed at many stores and outlets with the use of Video Analytics on the existing CCTV cameras. Whereas, it is really more about the indirect benefits that a store/outlet can avail from such a technology. Potentially, huge sums of money can be saved yearly by ensuring proper adherence to all safety and security measures, and there are exponential benefits that a retail outlet can derive by streamlining their marketing campaigns and their staff performance by utilizing the crucial data derived from the CCTV camera feeds.