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Retail & IVA: The Rise of Business Intelligence

by Benchmark

It is a challenging time for retailers, with stores forced to close due to lockdowns, supply chain issues, the need to protect premises, staff and stock from damage, abuse and shrinkage, as well as needing to adapt stores to meet changing government guidelines. More than ever, when a customer walks through the door, the focus is on their experience and maximising the amount they spend in-store.

The good news is that many retailers have the foundations in place to improve how they manage many of these issues, but it may come from an unexpected area of the business. In recent years, retailers like many other organisations, have upgraded their surveillance operations from analogue to IP-based technologies, taking advantage of the better quality video and ever lower costs. Today’s powerful networked cameras can be used internally and externally at stores and warehouses, for real-time monitoring and post event investigation.

To really get the most from these video investments requires a change of mindset, to think of them as the all-seeing eye on the shop floor. Cameras have the potential to ‘see’ so much more than incidents of shoplifting, fraud, threatening behaviour and criminal damage. Many of the latest devices can accurately observe in-store traffic, monitor footfall and measure dwell time. In order to achieve these benefits, it is not enough to invest in modern cameras. An enterprise-class video management system (VMS) is also required.

Qognify’s award-winning VMS, Cayuga, is fully integrated with Business Video Intelligence (BVI). Together these form the Qognify Retail Solution. When Cayuga is integrated with BVI, high-quality camera footage is blended with transactional data from business-related IT systems, including ERP and PoS. In doing so, it transforms from a system that is there to protect what a retailer has, to a powerful ally giving a competitive edge in terms of process and productivity optimisation, customer experience improvement and profitability.

Processes that benefit from BVI include speeding up searches and retrieval of video. Search and retrieval is important for preparing evidence to share with the police, but it can also be used to understand how and why orders are been lost or damaged, as well as resolving transactional issues at the checkout. The traditional – and predominantly manual – way of trawling through hours of footage is reduced to a few seconds using BVI. This means more searches can be carried out to identify patterns or trends.

With retailers blending online and in-store operations in areas such as collections and returns, issues inevitably arise with goods being lost, damaged or stolen. Each incident can result in additional costs, eroding the profit margin from a sale. BVI not only helps to mitigate false claims by providing a seamless audit trail of the flow of goods, but it also allows labels provided by ERP, PoS or warehouse management systems to be used as search criteria.

The final element of the Qognify Retail Solution is Umbrella, a solution ideal for larger retailers with stores spread across a country or even across the globe. Using state-of-the-art web technology (in the cloud or on-premise), Umbrella creates a live consolidated view of the entire system including every server and camera. In doing so, data can be centrally and remotely monitored, configured and managed, improving performance across the entire retail estate and achieving significant cost savings for integrators and end customers.

An example of a retailer combining video management with business intelligence is Colruyt, the largest retail chain based in Belgium. The company has more than 570 stores in 3 countries (Belgium, France and Luxembourg), and moved from analogue technology to Qognify’s Cayuga VMS. The retailer gradually discovered the versatility of the software and its potential for operational improvements. The company has decided its next step will be the implementation of the BVI logistics solution in order to optimise warehouse operations, minimising damage and losses, and enabling smoother processes.

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