When you imagine the start to the holiday season, the first thing that comes to mind are stores bustling with shoppers. Unfortunately, this holiday season is going to be unlike any other retailers have experienced before due to the pandemic.
While in-store shopping will still take place, the usual hustle and bustle will probably look a bit different given physical distancing rules, and other health and safety measures now in place.
But that doesn’t mean physical security won’t still play a critical role. It will be essential for retailers to go into this holiday season with a plan to protect their store, staff and customers. From reducing shrink to limiting the number of customers in store, retailers will have their hands full so it’s imperative they are using their current video technology to its fullest potential.
To help retailers plan, we’ve outlined five ways they can optimize their video surveillance for a safe and successful holiday shopping season:
Check security camera field of views
One way in-store shopping will look different this year is with layout changes. Wider aisles, directional floor signs, and one-way traffic flows are in place in many establishments to accommodate COVID-19 health and safety protocols. But with these changes it is important to ensure your security cameras are not obstructed. Often, cameras need adjusting to ensure that holiday displays or merchandise are not blocking any camera views. This will ensure that the system is still capturing high-quality images of all entrances and exits, point-of-sale (POS) systems, and high-value items.
Once cameras are adjusted accordingly, they can be used to monitor operations. It is as simple as ever now for retailers to monitor their store’s operations in real-time with many video surveillance systems allowing for remote monitoring so users can view video footage on their smartphone or tablet.
Keep software and devices up to date
For a properly functioning video system, it’s essential to keep IP camera, recorder and client software up to date. Not only does this beef up your cyber defenses, but it ensures that all your devices are optimized and have the latest feature enhancements. Ensure your system administrator does this before the start of the holiday season and contact your security systems integrator if you need assistance or need access to the latest software.
Add in health and safety tools
COVID-19 has drastically changed the way retailers have to operate during the holidays, which is why adding compliance tools to your video surveillance, such as March Networks’ Health Compliance Solution, can help.
This particular solution can help retailers protect their employees and customers by monitoring and measuring store occupancy in real-time, rapidly detecting individuals who may have an elevated body temperature, and ensuring compliance with new cleaning and sanitization procedures through convenient video audits. For example, if a customer enters your store, exceeding the occupancy limit, an alert can be sent to you via email or instant message. You can see the total number of occupants on your phone with a color-coded display, along with the associated surveillance image.
Integrate with POS and other data for improved loss prevention
Video surveillance systems that integrate with POS systems can help with loss prevention by alerting retailers to suspicious transactions and activities, such as an unusual number of voids or returns, which can be a sign of internal theft. For example, if a video alert was configured for merchandise returns, a retailer can investigate any time an employee conducts a return at the POS. If an unusual return occurs, corresponding video can be viewed to investigate what took place. It’s even possible to track online and mobile orders, when those returns are made in-store.
Video systems can also track inventory and reduce stock losses when integrated with other technologies such as radio frequency identification (RFID) tags. You can search by serial number or Electronic Product Code (EPC) for video showing the last location of an item if an RFID-tagged product goes missing. This can be incredibly useful in loss prevention efforts during the busy holiday season.
This also allows retailers to make inventory adjustments to maintain desired stock levels, transaction averages and sales per square foot. Visual monitoring and automated alerts will also provide direct links between transaction data and online order/curbside pickup locations.
Utilize business insights
You may not know it, but your video system can deliver more than just surveillance images. When integrated with the right analytics and IoT technology, it can also tell you what your busiest time of day is and how long customers waited in line for service. All this information allows retailers to find trends and plan improvements that can help with customer service and operations during the holiday season.