6 Reasons Why Your Retail Business Needs to Invest in Video Analytics

By Kathleen Siddell • Oct 11, 2022

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Video analytics and computer vision (CV) are changing business operations across many industries by delivering more automation, real-time alerts, and better business intelligence (BI). This is because computer vision can be trained to identify and interpret virtually anything in video data, presenting immediate, actionable insight through your analytics platforms.

In retail, most stores have already implemented camera systems to prevent theft and monitor activity, but AI-powered video analytics provide far more than just security footage to sift through manually.

Leveraging CV-collected metrics like dwell time (how long a customer looks at products), checkout wait times, and so much more enables brick-and-mortar retail stores to optimize operations and boost their sales. Below, we’ll explore six uses of video analytics in the retail industry, honing in on the benefits of computer vision as a tool for super-charging your video analytics.

How Is Video Analytics Used for Brick and Mortar?

For retail stores relying on video footage for security, safety, or training purposes, video analytics is a game changer when it comes to transforming the efficiency of brick-and-mortar operations. Video analytics automates business decision-making, enabling retail stores to respond rapidly to patterns or outliers — and it accomplishes this with your current cameras.

For example, video analytics can inform you of which shelves to restock promptly, your product placement’s effectiveness, and how aisles should be configured to best accommodate store traffic. If an action or data can be captured visually, computer vision can analyze it and provide actionable insights in real-time.

Intelligent Video Analytics Using Computer Vision

When powered by AI and computer vision, video analytics leverages existing camera systems and edge computing so you can analyze digital patterns in real-time and automate your business intelligence systems.

Adopting computer vision solutions in retail stores translates into improved customer experience, robust inventory tracking, and innovative store design and planning. Computer vision applications can also help retail stores increase revenue and better manage costs via pattern-based predictions.

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6 Ways Retail Stores Can Innovate with Video Analytics

Video analytics technology helps you engineer the look and feel of your retail store to meet the needs of your customers. Most importantly, video analytics solutions help you catch in-store blindspots, optimize foot traffic and staffing, reduce costs and boost overall retail efficiency.

Here are six ways video analytics can innovate your retail store experience:

1. Optimize the In-Store Experience

Video analytics will help you provide an outstanding experience for customers from the moment they walk into your store up until they pay for their items and leave. Data-driven insights will help you understand which in-store experiences appeal to customers — and which are unappealing.

For instance, if customers are consistently waiting too long in checkout lines at certain times of day, you can make decisions about automatically increasing staffing during these peak times. Computer vision also gives you the ability to eliminate the checkout line entirely with contactless shopping.

CV solutions can help notify customer service representatives when people need assistance finding items or making selections. The data-driven insights garnered from computer vision applications can also guide store design and layout, ensuring that customers’ favorite products are placed in easy-to-reach locations in the store.

2. Improve Loss Prevention

Intelligent video analytics also augment the existing security infrastructure you have installed in your retail store, providing you with greater visibility over all the events that take place. Computer vision can prevent the loss of merchandise by monitoring and flagging unusual behavior while tracking items as they leave shelves. 

Using object detection and tracking techniques, you can accurately identify products being handled by customers and track those items to determine if they follow typical behavior like being placed in a cart or carried to the checkout line.

Unlike the traditional manual video analytics that requires designated security staff to review footage during a suspected shoplifting scenario, CV tools do the heavy lifting and automate security processes — even notifying you immediately of atypical behavior - allowing you to take a more proactive approach to loss prevention.

3. Easily Track Inventory Levels

Robust object detection applications can guide inventory management and help employees keep track of which products must be restocked in real-time. Instead of manually tracking inventory, CV analytics solutions will help you promptly fill shelves and order products well before the stock is depleted.

Computer vision will also provide data-driven insights into the most effective ways to organize and display items on shelves to deliver the best customer experience. And CV inventory tracking opens up possibilities for managing seasonal irregularities. You will be able to anticipate, prepare for and allocate more staff to specific areas of the floor where products tend to be in higher demand and shelves are emptied much faster.

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4. Boost Employee Productivity

Enhancing employees’ productivity is critical to streamlining in-store retail operations and increasing staff retention. By tracking metrics such as the time employees spend restocking products, interacting with customers, or providing checkout support to customers, you can gain a better sense of the sources of productivity gaps. 

Following the implementation of new systems observing the retail floor, computer vision solutions can help you optimize these processes as needed. For example, dynamic staffing decisions can be made based on store areas that demand more employees during peak traffic hours. You can also leverage video analytics to identify employees who perform tasks much faster and may be better suited to work in high-traffic areas of the retail floor. 

5. Protect Customer Privacy

As you collect facial and other types of private data from your retail customers, it is critical to respect and safeguard privacy rights. Facial blurring applications like those offered by alwaysAI address those privacy concerns while still allowing you to generate actionable retail insights.

Importantly, computer vision applications deployed with alwaysAI make it easy to preserve privacy. Edge computing eliminates the need to collect and share private data externally. Adopting an edge CV platform in retail enables predictive decision-making based on observed patterns and trends without imposing unwarranted customer surveillance.

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6. Supercharge Your Existing Camera Infrastructure

When you integrate computer vision applications into your existing brick-and-mortar analytics infrastructure, you will rapidly improve the effectiveness of your business intelligence.

You might be thinking computer vision is too expensive or too challenging to implement. However, integrating intelligent video analytics into your existing cameras is easy with alwaysAI's computer vision platform. Adopting our platform vs. building one in-house accelerates your time to deployment by eliminating the complexity and long development timelines often associated with computer vision. You can also leverage your existing IT teams and developers to build CV applications quickly since our platform is easily accessible to any Python developer.

Working with alwaysAI provides you with pre-trained models and starter applications, along with additional computer vision experts who will help meet your unique business needs. Best of all, the CV solutions offered by alwaysAI can be connected to any infrastructure currently operating on IoT, cloud, or edge devices, avoiding the prohibitive costs of brand-new implementations.

How to Get Started with Intelligent Video Analytics

For many companies, computer vision applications can be challenging to adopt, especially if they have little to no expertise in operating or managing AI-driven video analytics technology. 

However, this should not be the case. alwaysAI simplifies integrating computer vision into your existing camera infrastructure, making it easy to get started immediately with AI video analytics.

We also understand the ROI implications of adopting a cost-effective computer vision solution. Our intelligent video analytics solutions are best-in-class and can be deployed quickly, saving you time and money while helping you generate more revenue from robust data-driven insights.

To learn more about alwaysAI and our intelligent video analytics solutions, contact us today.

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By Kathleen Siddell • Oct 11, 2022

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