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Top Five Benefits of Video Surveillance Systems for Convenience Stores

Filed under: Security, Loss Prevention, Retail, C-store

Convenience store owners know security is a top priority given they often operate 24/7 in high traffic environments and have unique challenges. C-stores are prone to ongoing security issues and instances of crime, like assaults, robberies, break-ins, vandalism, loitering, carjacking and more. The need for cost effective security and anti-crime solutions are paramount. Furthermore, C-stores can be prone to theft, fraudulent activities, and operational inefficiencies that can quickly erode profits.

March Networks understands these pain points and offers cost-effective intelligent video surveillance solutions tailored specifically for C-stores. Additionally, our continuing focus on privacy and data security makes our solutions ideal for C-stores that are looking for the highest level of cyber protection – at a cost-effective price point.

In this blog post, we’ll delve into the top benefits of intelligent video surveillance systems and highlight how March Networks partners with convenience stores to addresses these specific challenges.

Benefit #1: Physical Security and Incident Alerts

March Networks provides high-quality, cost-effective video solutions to address the ongoing issues of physical crime that C-stores experience.

In addition to being a powerful deterrent for criminal activity, visible surveillance cameras provide comprehensive, high-resolution, real-time monitoring of the store environment, which is crucial for immediate response to any unusual or emergency situations. In emergencies like theft, altercations, or medical incidents, every second counts. Real-time monitoring enables C-store managers to respond instantly to suspicious activities.

  • Emergency Response: March Networks’ custom C-store solution enables instant video streaming and two-way communication between store employees and security staff via a panic button. Security operations centers receive immediate alerts for fast incident assessment and action. March Networks convenience store customer, Sheetz, uses this
  • Loitering Detection: Intelligent video surveillance systems, like March Networks CloudSight, use AI analytics to efficiently monitor and automatically identify loitering and vagrancy activities both inside convenience stores and in outdoor areas like under fuel canopies, parking lots and surrounding areas. Automated alerts for loitering help ensure the safety and comfort of customers and can protect the store’s reputation and brand.
  • Smart Camera Coverage: Comprehensive, 360-degree camera coverage eliminates blind spots, ensuring every inch of the store is visible and reducing the need for a larger number of cameras. March Networks cameras also offer powerful analytics that help automate security and investigations, providing businesses with all the tools to enhance security indoors and outdoors.
  • Instant Alerts: March Networks’ real-time alert system provides instant exception-based notifications, enabling convenience store operators to configure alarms, swiftly respond to security incidents and ensure immediate, effective action. You can monitor and receive alerts on your computer, tablet and smartphone.

Benefit #2: Loss Prevention and Real-Time Monitoring

  • Prepaid Fuel Voids: Losses connected to voided prepaid fuel transactions at the gas pumps are a common concern among C-store operators. They often struggle to identify fraudulent voids, wasting time sifting through hundreds of receipts. March Networks Searchlight Cloud eliminates the need to comb through hundreds of recorded receipts each day to find the transactions you’re looking for. It also makes it easy to review the recorded video to see if the customer actually pumped gas, and if an employee received the payment (and perhaps pocketed it later after voiding the transaction).
  • Gift/Phone Card Activation: Unauthorized activations of gift or phone cards can result in significant losses. March Networks’ solutions capture footage that reveals when cards are activated without customers present, identifying fraudulent behavior easily and automatically. You can even set up push notifications through your system to alert you to transactions where there is no customer detected in the video, to catch fraud in the act.
  • Skimmer Detection: Fuel pumps are prime targets for card skimmers. By integrating video analytics with POS data, March Networks’ technology alerts staff if someone is lingering at a pump or tampering with the pump door, catching skimming attempts early.
Yesway C-store leverages March Networks’ Searchlight Cloud to seamlessly integrate video surveillance, POS transaction data, and analytics. This unified platform helped reduce shrink by swiftly matching POS transactions with video, ensuring refunds (which are a rarity for C-stores) receive immediate scrutiny.

Benefit #3: Operational Improvement

Effective surveillance is not just for security; it also improves operational efficiency by identifying gaps in training and compliance, and highlights areas where time and money could be saved to increase productivity and profits. The insights provided by March Networks’ systems allow for data-driven improvements in staff performance, customer interactions, and store layout.

  • Remote Operations Audits: Searchlight Cloud’s Operations Audit feature allows C-store owners and managers to set up automated emails with thumbnails of their camera feeds at important times of the day. Remote access to live video lets managers monitor how clean their locations are, if shelves are well-stocked, if employees are dressed properly and if procedures are being followed. This information can not only help reduce fines but provide valuable insights on improving employee training. Operations audits and remote video access can also reveal maintenance issues such as broken floor tiles, trip and fall hazards, burnt out lights in parking lots, blocked exits and similar problems.
  • Customer Service Metrics: Analyzing conversion rates, customer wait times, and other metrics through easy-to-read dashboards enables data-driven decisions that enhance the customer experience and improve performance and profitability.

The image below shows a C-store with product on the floor in the aisle – which does not comply with safety regulations. The store operator received this photo automatically as part of an Operations Audit email notification and was able to call the store right away to remove the product in the aisles and avoid a potential hefty fine.from the OHSA.

Benefit #4: Investigation, Evidence Sharing and Incident Resolution

March Networks customers have been able to reduce incident investigation times by as much as 90% when using our intelligent video solutions. When incidents occur, rapid access to secure video evidence is invaluable.

  • Evidence Sharing: March Networks Evidence Vault is a cloud-based solution that enables easy and secure sharing of video evidence with law enforcement, insurance companies and other third-party stakeholders. Fast, accurate evidence retrieval simplifies investigations and strengthens legal cases. Your system can even push video automatically to the cloud based on pre-configured events, like refunds or voids. This ensures you always have access to your most important video evidence for investigations.
  • Regulated Items: The sale of regulated or restricted items (cigarettes, alcohol, lottery tickets, etc.) is often a top priority for C-store owners because of the reputational and legal damages that a failure to comply can cause. One customer faced a beer license suspension due to accusations of selling alcohol to minors. By analyzing video data, the owner discovered that a cashier repeatedly entered the same birthdate for every sale instead of checking IDs. With this insight, the owner addressed the issue directly with the employee, ultimately correcting the problem, retaining the staff member, and mitigating further reputational damage.

Quik-E Food Stores use Searchlight Cloud to recoup losses from fraud and theft. Todd Burgess, Vice President of Quik-E Food Stores recounts an example: “I had a former employee just finish paying me back $13,000 they owed us in stolen goods, and we recently caught another employee who was stealing probably $50 worth of cigarettes each day.”Read the full Quick-E Foods Store case study.

Benefit #5: Cost-Effectiveness and ROI

The initial cost of a surveillance system may seem high, but it’s a worthwhile investment due to potential savings and operational improvements. The primary financial advantage is the reduction of losses due to theft, which can significantly enhance the store’s bottom line. These savings often justify the initial expenditure, making video surveillance a smart financial decision for store owners.

  • OSHA Compliance: Detecting violations like blocked exits (see image below) can prevent fines as high as $150,000. Searchlight Cloud monitors these issues automatically, protecting your bottom line.
  • Centralized Management: Managing multiple sites doesn’t have to be a challenge. C-store operators can save time and money through centrally managing their video surveillance network. With Searchlight Cloud, March Networks maintains the surveillance network, providing consistent real-time visibility across multiple locations for a low monthly fee. This eliminates the hassle of maintaining servers, freeing up time for store owners to focus on their core business.

March Networks’ customers, including North Carolina’s Cruizers Convenience Stores, have seen remarkable ROI by recovering thousands of dollars lost to theft and employee fraud through swift detection and investigation.

Be a Smart C-store with Intelligent Video

An advanced video surveillance system is crucial not just for security, but for enhancing operational efficiency and driving profitability. March Networks tailored solutions offers C-store owners the flexibility to tailor their security with scalable services, powerful monitoring, and comprehensive POS integration. Investing in March Networks’ solutions helps convenience stores detect fraud, respond rapidly to emergencies, and improve operations—making them a smart investment for any modern C-store operator.

March Networks provides cost-effective, tailored C-store video solutions including:

Recording Platforms: March Networks’ X-Series and EL-Series NVRs offer a flexible on-premises, hybrid or cloud-based solution, enabling C-store operators to customize their video surveillance infrastructure to meet specific security needs and data management preferences. It is a cost-effective way to implement a local or cloud-based centrally managed system with data analytics.

March Networks CloudSight: CloudSight is our Direct-to Cloud surveillance service that integrates real-time AI analytics with POS data, enhancing security and operational efficiency. It provides cost-effective, streamlined surveillance, deep search capabilities (attribute search for people and vehicles) and actionable business intelligence to optimize profits and customer service.

Both systems are enhanced by March Networks Searchlight Cloud data analytics platform.

Searchlight Cloud: Searchlight Cloud excels in transforming complex data into easy-to-read dashboards, enabling C-store operators to investigate and resolve issues in real-time. This solution facilitates tracking of issues and trends and supports evidence-based decision-making by aggregating and analyzing data across multiple sites over time, enhancing overall efficiency.

About Rodney Gray

Rodney Gray, Key Account Manager, is March Networks’ resident C-store security and loss prevention expert. Connect with Rodney and others like our customer, Michael Loox, Senior Manager of Store Security for Sheetz Convenience Stores, May 30th, 2024 at TalkLP FUEL: A virtual conference for C-store LP professionals
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