Friday, May 2, 2014

How retailers can use video data to drive business growth

In our previous article, we talked about why data and analytics is important to brick and mortar retailers, and also some of the technologies available to capture these data. However, data on its own does not serve any purpose. What is more important is how these data are put to use, to reduce inefficiencies and maximize profits. Having spoken to many retailers, here are some of the ways that the data has been or can be utilized to help improve the business.

People Counting
People counting measures the number of people who enters a store, recorded by time. It helps you understand the flow of traffic to your store through the days, weeks, months, or years.

  • To measure conversion rates, whether customers are not entering the store, or are they simply not buying.
  • To measure whether advertising dollars are paying off to attract higher traffic to the store.
  • To understand traffic trends over time, and plan marketing efforts to bring in the crowd during quieter times.
  • To optimize manpower allocation during the day according to traffic level.

Audience Profiling
Audience profiling analyzes the face to detect age range, gender, and emotions, broken down into percentages. It tells you your customers’ demographics, and whether customers are smiling. Cameras can be pointing at entrances to capture visitors, or pointing from cashier counters to capture customers who make purchase.

  • To understand whether the crowd you are attracting is your intended target audience.
  • To test whether your advertisement are bringing the right crowd in, the buying customers.
  • To craft your in-store messaging to better appeal to your visitors, to get them to buy.
  • To detect whether service staff are smiling at the guests.
  • To detect whether customers are happy with the service.

Face Indexing
Face Indexing allows you to better understand your customers in a glance. It detects when a face is captured in the video, and tracks for how long the face was looking in the direction of the camera. The face image is then extracted and indexed according to the date time stamp and duration.

  • A stronger indication of who the customers are with face image.
  • A stronger indication of how customers feel when they are in your store. Example, are they fascinated? Focused? Frustrated? Bored?
  • With the duration being tracked, you can tell how long customers spend looking at displays or signages. Are customers not buying because they don’t spend much time browsing? Or have they been browsing but end up not buying?

Crowd Density
Crowd density detects and records activity level in an area, reported in an activity heat map. Activities include people walking by, and people stopping. In a store setting, it provides information on where there are more passing traffic, and where people are spending more of their time to browse the displays or look at advertisements.

  • “Hot zones” are good indicators of popular product categories.
  • To identify the paths least taken, which could indicate missed opportunities for sales.
  • If an item is not moving, crowd density can show if it is due to lack of interest in the product, or bad product placement.
  • To identify ideal locations for advertisements.

Human Traffic Flow
Human traffic flow tracks the route taken by visitors. It identifies the direction of travel, to show from point A, percentage of traffic that moves towards point B versus point C, to indicate the preferred route.

  • Indicates which are the products that better attracts the attention of the visitors, what they notice upon entering the store. These products can be used as window display to draw visitors in.
  • Popular products can be placed at the start of the route, since customers are more likely to continue browsing if they find an item they like at the start.

Some of the direct benefits that retails have seen after using video analytics include optimization of resources, such as space, human resources, and marketing dollars. With information on customers and their behavior, retailers find it easier to be able to meet their customers' needs. Data has also enabled them to evaluate and improve on each outlet's service quality, to provide the best for their customers.

Of course, how the data can be used are not limited to the examples above. While talking to others about our technology, we often get to hear about new and innovative applications of the data that is captured. If you have any interesting or innovative ideas, do visit us on our Facebook page to share it with us.