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IP solutions help retailers know their customers better

IP solutions help retailers know their customers better
Modern video surveillance solutions in retail are not just about security, but also about understanding customer behavior patterns and utilizing them in improving businesses. In a lot of ways, this is about understanding how the customers think.
In a recent report, Johan Åkesson, Director of Business Development in Retail at Axis Communications, explained how learning the behavior patterns of the customers leads to better business. Beyond working as a tool to monitor a store, IP network cameras with the right analytic solutions can be leveraged to understand the customers.
“When you understand the way your customers think, you can better understand the way they shop,” Åkesson said. “From knowing the most popular route taken when walking through a store, to finding out the least frequented areas and where shoppers dwell the longest; by getting inside the mind of the customer you can more easily adapt your store to facilitate their needs.”
He pointed out two major areas where IP solutions come into play in retail. 
Heat maps that identify popular spots
IP network cameras can help retailers learn the dwell time that can be displayed to store managers in the form of a ‘heat map’ image.
“This can be invaluable information in deciding whether a customer is intently reading packaging information or whether they are having difficulty locating a certain item, and this could be crucial in making a sale,” Åkesson said.  

Similarly, there are ways to learn the customers’ preferred route within a store. With heat mapping technology, the movement of sales shoppers around a store is tracked by IP network cameras and displayed to staff using an illustrated image that marks out the main paths that customers are taking.
“Intelligence gained from a heat map can then be used to decide where the most popular products should be placed to ensure easy customer access, as well as the best areas to display items that stores are keen to turn around in a hurry,” Åkesson said. “Heat mapping can even be used to prevent congestion, thus maximizing sales.”

Queue monitoring to reduce wait times
IP network cameras can be integrated with queue management solutions that give data on queue length, waiting and total checkout times.
“This intelligence can then help store managers to analyze optimal numbers of checkout aisles and balance staff levels during peak trading times, thus enabling improved profitability while retaining high levels of customer satisfaction, Åkesson said. “Working in this manner, the store manager can be the first to know about potential setbacks and act accordingly to prevent the situation getting out of hand.”

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