Retail sales are growing steadily every month and every year, and shoppers are flocking to stores and shopping centers around the country by the millions. Operating a retail location can be tremendously rewarding, with the opportunity to serve a vital community role and get to know customers face-to-face -- an experience online stores have yet to replicate.
According to a recent Retail Dive survey, many consumers prefer retail storesover online shopping because they can see the products they're purchasing, and because they can take the products home right away. These factors work in retailers' favor, but they also create some challenges.
The most obvious of these is potential theft, but there's also the need to maximize employee productivity and improve customer experiences to keep them coming back. To compound the problem, many companies have to address these issues across several store locations.
The National Retail Federation says that crime costs the retail industry $30 billion each year. In addition, "inventory shrink" -- a polite term for merchandise disappearing from stockrooms and displays -- accounted for almost $50 billionin 2016. About a third of that shrinkage is caused by errors on the retailer or supplier side, but 66.5 percent is attributed to theft perpetrated by employees, shoplifters, and organized criminals.
Who's minding the store?
It's hard to be everywhere and see everything at once, but that's what retail operators need to do, in essence, if they want to keep theft low and productivity high. These concerns are driving many retailers to choose connected video surveillance solutions in order to leverage the latest advances in smart camera and sensor technologies.
Connected cameras work with the local broadband service, storing footage on a local server that's accessible from any web browser or smartphone. Retail operators can check in at any time, get alerts via text or email when the camera detects unusual activity, and control the cameras remotely.
Security footage can be kept on-site or offloaded to secondary backup in the cloud, as needed. As it's digital, sharing footage with law enforcement is also significantly easier than traditional, tape-based approaches.
Digital video proves useful not only for security and surveillance purposes, but also for training employees and for optimizing product displays and layouts. A review of a busy day's footage might indicate the paths customers follow most often, the products they're most interested in browsing, and the places where they may encounter a bottleneck or problem. Examining footage over time may help retailers tweak their staffing schedules to ensure adequate coverage during peak shopping times. These kinds of adjustments can pay off in improved customer experiences and repeat visits.
Partner with an expert
When retailers are looking for a connected surveillance solution, partnering with an expert provider is a smart move. Cox Business Security Solutions, for example, leverage the power and reliability of Cox's broadband service to deliver full video solutions for busy retailers.
When you engage with Cox Business Security Solutions, an expert consultant reviews your specific needs and custom-designs your surveillance system. Cox offers a variety of fixed and adjustable cameras and on-premises storage options, all of which feature remote access, motion detection, event alerts, and all the networking equipment you'll need to connect the cameras and servers.
When you're ready to phase connected cameras into your retail operation, Cox experts manage the wiring and installation, ensuring reliable network performance and even setting up a backup cellular connection, in the unlikely event that broadband is unavailable.
All told, Cox Business Security Solutions takes the guesswork out of purchasing and installing a video surveillance system, delivering high-performance, connected solutions that help retailers protect their stores from theft, monitor customer and employee activities, and optimize operations to improve customer experiences and keep them coming back.
Click here learn more about Cox Business Security Solutions.