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Watching from afar: Why remote video monitoring has never been more important

Filed under: Retail, Video Management System, Loss Prevention

As the world adapts to a new normal due to the spread of COVID-19, retailers and restaurant chains are changing their practices to abide by new and unprecedented restrictions on social gatherings. Some loss prevention managers might be watching establishments from afar, while others might be monitoring new procedures to help keep customers and employees safe.

While these new business practices seem daunting, there are tools available to help manage the changes. Intelligent video surveillance with remote monitoring capabilities can help you stay on top of what’s happening inside your business, especially in the following scenarios:

Monitoring from a distance

Many retailers have had to close or reduce their in-store offerings in the wake of COVID-19. If you aren’t able to physically be in your retail space, you’ll still want to monitor your business, even if it’s just for peace of mind. Whether you have one or several locations to monitor, a video system with remote capabilities can help you keep track of what is happening inside and outside your retail space.

For businesses that are still open, but operating with reduced capacity, video surveillance combined with security analytics can help detect suspicious behavior, like a backdoor opening at an unusual time or people entering sensitive areas. If you’re monitoring several locations, you can filter by store and view associated footage from one or multiple cameras.

Keeping up with new cleaning procedures

The importance of cleanliness and sanitization has been stressed throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. Your business might be implementing regular cleaning procedures throughout the day, and you might need to monitor several locations to ensure rules are being followed. For example, if you work at a supermarket and have asked your staff to wipe down credit card readers after every transaction, you can make sure this gets done even when you’re not there. With remote video monitoring, you can review what’s happening at one or more of your stores. You can spot check your stores, or use video snapshots to capture regular images of the checkout area, to ensure sanitation is taking place. Some video systems, like March Networks Searchlight for Retail, have audit features that take multiple still images, or snapshots, and supply them to you in grid format so you can easily review what’s happening at a certain time or place, without having to search through archived video.

Computer monitor displaying Searchlight for Retail Operations Audit mobile phone displaying Command Mobile

Searchlight for Retail Operations Audit and Command Mobile

Customer occupancy counts

Many retailers have had to implement occupancy counts to help distance customers from one another and to keep employees safe. But, how do you make sure there aren’t too many customers in the store and that the count isn’t exceeded? With an intelligent video solution that uses people counting analytics, you can see reports on how many customers are in your store at different times throughout the day and even determine how many people are waiting in line at the checkout. This helps ensure that your staff aren’t overwhelmed and that occupancy rules are being followed.

Much like counting customers, retailers are also implementing dedicated shopping times for certain vulnerable populations. For example, for the first hour of the day, some supermarkets are only allowing seniors and immunocompromised populations to shop. While that may seem like something that is hard to monitor, you can use video surveillance to take random snapshots of what is going on at that time of day. If you see something suspicious, you can alert your employees to let them know they should be aware of it for the next day. This lets you ensure your store is keeping up with promises made to its customers.

Keeping track of key inventory

During this pandemic, certain items are flying off the shelves. Toilet paper, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, meat, milk and eggs have all been sought-after products. Using a video surveillance system that has integrated analytics and point-of-sale (POS) transaction data, you can tell which promotions are working well and the average cost of each transaction. With this type of system, POS data is combined with video, so each transaction is recorded on surveillance and can be searched and sorted in one central database.  If you combine people counting and dwell time analytics with your system, you can also tell which areas of the store customers are spending their time in, so if there is a merchandise aisle with a lot of activity, you’ll know it’s a good place to put your most important promotional offers.

To learn more about intelligent video solutions for retailers, download this datasheet.

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