Changing our shopping habits with network video

Roy Alves

In the digital age shopping habits are more influenced by the retail experience than ever before. If brick and mortar retailers want to be successful, their stores will have to become more engaging and digitally enabled.

Technology is not only changing the way people shop, it’s also changing the way retailers run their businesses. This includes rethinking their business model, deciding how to transform into digital businesses and making the right technology investments to become digital leaders.

Evolving technologies has given shoppers more choice when it comes to channel but has also given retailers more insight into customer behaviour and ways to create a more enjoyable and personalised shopping experience. According to Deloitte, shoppers increasingly want their favourite retailers to immediately fulfil or even predict their needs and desires.

Across the globe, enterprising and innovative retail companies are making surveillance a service rather than just an element of their security. Surveillance systems which use edge-based analytics can now count the store’s daily footfall as well as determine the demographics of shoppers.

Using this technology retailers can determine where shoppers spend the most time in their stores. They can also monitor how long their customers stand in the checkout queue and immediately act if, for example, more tellers need to be deployed to cut down the waiting time.

And these are just simple illustrations – there are more sophisticated ways technology can improve the in-store shopping experience.

Digital signage can provide live interaction with customers, showing them relevant product information based on their age, gender and past shopping data.

Facial recognition technology can identify VIP customers who visit the store regularly and then notify the store manager, allowing the manager to meet the customer to greet him or her personally.

Down the line, Augmented Reality (AR), Artificial Intelligence (AI), IoT, mobile payment and robotics will be strongly adopted in retail environments and within different applications in retail space.   And these technologies will further enhance the shopping experience.

For retailers, these technologies will mean being able to gather similar data as that currently being gathered by ecommerce channels and other online tools.

However, it will also mean bringing cyber risk into their brick and mortar operations. Cybersecurity will have to become a big consideration because of the importance and sensitivity of data being gathered by the connected devices in-store.  Cybersecurity measures will have to extend beyond just the cloud and online payment services to all devices connected to the network. This will include instituting the proper training and screening of staff handling and managing these systems.

Ultimately, technology provides a breadth of new capabilities that retailers will be able to employ to cater to changes in the market, competition, disruption, and consumer demands around cost, choice, convenience, as well as experience. Whether you run a single shop or a whole chain of malls, network video makes a noticeable improvement in your bottom line.

The introduction of network video has revolutionized the way retail professionals work with loss prevention, store optimization, fraud detection, security and customer service.

Overall, network video provides a whole new set of tools to reach operational excellence and will become a fully-fledged retail service in South Africa as in the rest of the globe.

These technologies are not meant to replace human factors, but to increase business productivity and efficiency as well as customer satisfaction.

The digital era has empowered shoppers. They have more channels, offerings and products to choose from than ever before. While price and quality will always play a role in determining their buying preferences, experiences and service quality will increasingly trump those as bigger considerations thanks, in most part, to advances in technology.