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New surveillance systems hit UK retail market

A new service is being offered to retailers that can extend the capability of their CCTV systems, allowing them to gain customer insight in addition to providing the traditional benefits of security and loss prevention.

Most of the technology that businesses require in order to use the new function is often in place through existing CCTV systems, but by downloading additional software they can now monitor how customer behaviour is impacted by factors such as store signage, layout or staff numbers.

The company offering this new service is Footfall Analytics, which is already working with businesses across the UK, including convenience players Spar and Londis, and fashion retailer Blue Inc, to provide insights into how consumers conduct their shopping. It comes at a time when in-store analytics are top of many retailers' wish-lists, as they look to blur the boundaries between online and physical retail.

Footfall's software used in CCTV cameras allows retailers to track and analyse customer movement and interaction through visual maps, charts and graphs. The information gathered can then be fed back into business planning processes.

Gurshinder Liddar, director of Footfall Analytics, said: "Footfall counting and analysis is not a new concept and there are many companies out there supplying retailers with their own technologies.

"The difference with this approach is that most of the technology required is already in place – a major part of the investment has already been made. Unlike other footfall systems that require the installation of additional cameras and heat sensors, this approach is quick and easy and retailers can immediately set up their own experiments, trailing and testing any public area of their stores."

While developing ways to analyse in-store customer behaviour is an emerging trend in retail, the traditional industry issues of security and loss prevention seemingly remain high in importance.

Centre for Retail Research figures estimate UK retail crime losses in 2012-13 to be almost £4.7 billion – a year-on-year rise of 0.4% excluding cybercrime – with customer theft and employee theft having the most significant impact on shrinkage.

Security surveillance solutions provider AD Network Video has, this week, announced the launch of a high definition IP video anti-fraud surveillance solution which can be integrated into a retailer's operational processes.

The Virtual NVR solution distributes video storage across single or multiple locations, with IP cameras recording and storing images on the in-camera server. AD Network Video says that these will carry on recording even if there is a network outage.

Jamie Horastead, business development manager responsible for AD Network Video and the new Virtual NVR Solution, said: "Fraud, such as sweetheart sales, as well as shoplifting contribute to the 1.32% average loss of a retail business's turnover through shrinkage.

"It has a substantial impact on a retail company's fine profit margins."

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Footfall Analytics

AD Network Video