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Integrated Systems

Retail boost

While traditional systems are still vital in the fight against stock shrinkage, new technology can also boost sales, says Alan Blake, Commercial, Sales and Marketing Director at Secom plc.

Technology can show the best positions for promotions, as well as providing them real-time management information on queue times, which in turn allows them to make instant decisions to open or close tills. Alan Blake says: “Reduced shrinkage and increased sales mean there could be a best-yet return on an investment in electronic security.” The company’s new multi-million pound Control and Command Centre offers analytical tools alongside monitored electronic security. Alan Blake says: “Control and command has evolved from the old alarm receiving centre concept, reflecting recent massive advances in security systems hardware and software. Staffed round the clock, 365 days a year, the Control and Command Centre is able to deploy security solutions for single and multi-site organisations in every sector – from finance, retail and manufacturing to schools and government departments.” It also provides short term deployments where conventional alarm systems are not practical – or where a permanent power supply is not available. saves time and trouble by automatically distinguishing between events of security interest and those that can be disregarded. This means security staff can use their time more effectively, dealing with genuine risks. Alan Blake says: “In the retail context, video analytics helps to reduce shrinkage by the application of loitering rules that allow operators to detect suspicious behaviour relating to shoplifting. The analytics software further enables us to map customers’ favoured routes through a shop and identify areas where they tend to linger.”

A new service, called Secom Retail Insight, offers video analytics and point of sale (PoS) data mining that works the firm says with most installed cameras. It offers:
• People Counter for a measure of footfall
• Queue Manager to calculate occupancy levels at tills
• Heat Maps of areas where customers are most likely to linger and buy
• PoS Integration combines till data with video analytics.

Alan Blake says: “Taken together, these elements can enable store managers to make instant business decisions – without the need for expensive business analysts. Combining till data with video analytics is effective in detecting returns fraud, voided transactions and the under ringing of products. It also allows performance assessments of single or multiple stores, customer behaviour and trends, so managers can allocate resources and assess the impact of visual promotions.

“This is powerful management information that can be acted on immediately – for example, repositioning promotions for maximum impact and opening additional tills to reduce queues. Issues like this can have significant impact on customer relations – and profits.”

Secom Retail Insight also allows managers to make key decisions around what promotions or advertising is needed to attract additional customers – or if a store has enough footfall but is not making maximum advantage.

Alan Blake says: “The analytical tools deliver a statistical view of people movement and behavior in virtually any situation. So this solution could be rolled out to many types of location where queues or crowd management are key issues. Video analytics as part of a security package has already shown its worth, but we are still just scratching the surface of its potential.”


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