How retailers can drive performance with analytics

In the National Retail Federation Retail’s BIG Blog published on 13th June 2013,  Jennifer Overstreet reported:

Not that long ago, it wasn’t uncommon for loss prevention offices to have VHS surveillance tapes stacked up in their corners. Now retailers are using video analytics to capture customer trends, track traffic, catch shoplifters and reduce fraud. At NRF’s Loss Prevention Conference, three retail LP leaders shared their experiences with implementing video analytics: Kenneth Boremi, Director, Loss Prevention, Brookstone Stores; Michael Burch, Director, Loss Prevention and Safety, Tilly’s Clothing & Shoes; and Blue Montez, Director, Asset Protection, American Apparel.

While Tilly’s hasn’t been using the technology long enough to gather ROI data, both American Apparel and Brookstone saw conversion increase and shrink decrease from video analytics.

Brookstone and American Apparel use it to determine days and times with the highest customer traffic to optimize staffing. Analyzing “dwell,” or how long customers stay in one area helps place employees and products in optimal places in the store. Merchandisers can use the same technology to determine which displays attract more traffic and marketers can measure promotions.

Video analytics provide data on customers in stores that go way beyond loss prevention, and that’s the key to making the case for it.

“This doesn’t fly as an LP tool. You have to reach across the aisle to other department heads, to store operations, merchandising and marketing folks to show the value from other perspectives,” Burch sai nd when you demonstrate the value, they said, be prepared to be the most popular guy in the office because everyone will want a piece of it.

As with any new technology roll out, there are some key considerations.

  • Partnership with IT and operations comes first. “Don’t go to finance by yourself” said Burch. “Partner with operations and improve conversion at the store level.” Soon, merchandising and marketing will want in on it.

  • Build a culture around analytics and data. The data “changes the culture for staff in the store. They want more data and it drives performance,” Montez said.

  • Start small and avoid a one-size-fits-all approach chain-wide. “Every location is different, so the ROI might not be there for every store,” Montez warned.

Most important is the ability to play an important role in the organization. “With this information, you’re going to be the center of attention. You’ll have multiple departments knocking down your door wanting to look at this and that,” Boremi said. “And that’s what you want to promote with video analytics. You want to drive your business to the next level,” Montez added.