Making the best use of VCA in retail

Making the best use of VCA in retail
In order for retailers to take maximum advantage of business intelligence, it is critical to understand the power of using video analytics in combination with each other versus with only one stand-alone analytic.
Uma Welingkar, VP of Product Management at 3VR gave some specific examples of different segments in retail business and their proper utilization of VCA.
For merchandising, motion detection and dwell time analytics combined with directional heat maps can illustrate the flow of customer traffic in retail locations.
Marketing management can leverage demographic information such as age and gender, obtained using video analytics, to help determine which local promotions drive the desired store traffic. Retail business intelligence also offers enormous value for operations teams.
Jason Luther, Head of Products at RetailNext opined that one of the best approaches to empowering retailers to take maximum advantage of analytics solution is to first start with the big business questions that the retailer needs to answer with data.
“With that, we then collaborate with customers to design and deploy a solution to answer these questions as effectively and efficiently as possible,” said Luther. “One of the reasons many technology initiatives may seem to not show promise is that they're done first for the sake of the technology instead of for the business value.”
According to Eric Olson, VP of PureTech Systems, in addition to using VCA to analyze trends and patterns, retailers are starting to take advantage of the technology in real time. For instance, VCA can easily detect loitering, and many solutions the company provides utilizes location-based video, meaning the software understands the real location of the object in the video.
“That means, a retailer now has the ability to know when a customer has been standing at an exact shelf location for a period of time, which may indicate that they have a question, or perhaps they are up to no good,” Olson said. “Either way, the capability exists to find the nearest associate and provide them a store location image of where that customer is located, so they can immediately go to the location to help. This idea can also be used at help desks, service desks, reception areas, or any other location, to monitor and alert for situations where a customer is present without an employee attending to them. Obviously, many trend metrics can also be collected around these transactions, such as wait time, average time of interaction, etc.”
David Jones, VP of Marketing at IntelliVision said that his company has converted its retail analytic solution to a cloud-based solution, where it’s not just the data that’s provided, but a dashboard and a user-interface and even an app that runs on the phone.
“So ultimately your analysis becomes cloud-based technology,” Jones said. “How that improves performance is when you have constant analysis of the huge amount of information that comes into statistical data or any way you want to see it.”
Speaking of interface, Olson pointed out that retail operators want a simple and easy-to-use one.
“We have found that a map view or plan view of the retail operation, both inside and outside, makes for a very intuitive means to set up the VCA and analyze the results,” Olson said. “This includes trend visuals like activity heat maps, but can also be much more involved, showing most traversed routes through the store, or product correlations- customers who purchased higher priced wine also spent more time in the fresh produce area.”
“This interface also works extremely well for communicating real time events, including customer service opportunities, safety or security situations,” Olson continued. “Locations can be indicated directly on the store’s layout and categorized by event type for quick response. It is also easily adaptable to mobile devices, so the information can be shared throughout the retail space in real time.”
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