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Keeping tight control of operational procedures in a retail environment can be difficult due to the geographically dispersed nature of retail business. Regional and District Managers are often responsible for everything from inventory to theft to sales across many different locations, requiring the manager to travel to each store multiple times a month to verify operations are running as needed.

Emerging technologies like Computer Vision, or Vision AI, can monitor onsite store operations during all business hours and thus reduce the need for retail managers to be physically present at store locations, allowing them to utilize their time more effectively. There are many ways that this technology can be applied, including theft and fraud prevention, stockroom utilization, and monitoring of any other store areas for behaviors and patterns that provide useful metrics for managing operations.

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Computer Vision in the stockroom

Overloaded stockrooms can cause many issues for retailers. First, if all the stock is in the stock room, that means it is not on the shelves available for customers to purchase. Second, stock orders showing up to already full stock rooms can make it nearly impossible for a store to catch up and cause unneeded stress to already overworked management staff. Third, overloaded stockrooms make it easy for theft to occur and increase the difficulty to capture true loss.

Vision AI can help solve for all these issues by monitoring the utilization of stockrooms regularly. We can convert pixels in a camera picture to square footage available in the stockroom and assign a score - Low, Medium, High.

Meraki Fisheye camera, centered in stockroom with Computer Vision stockroom utilization application overlay.

By integrating this technology with the stock ordering system and other operational systems in the store, stock orders can be placed on hold until stock utilization levels are reduced from High to Medium. Each store can be scored against others in region. We can notify managers when their stockrooms are reaching High utilization levels and urge for shelves to be stocked. We can also trigger alerts if stores that typically have low utilization suddenly start to have medium or high utilization levels which could be an indicator of another issue that requires attention.

The best part about this solution is that we can use the same camera for additional solutions, like, creating alerts if stock is blocking fire alarms or fire exits to ensure safety is always a priority and reduce fines from OSHA.

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Computer Vision in marketing

Retailers with physical locations are at a disadvantage when compared against online retailers. Online retailers already know everything there is to know about their customers because they can track clicks. It is very important for physical locations to learn more about their customers. Vision AI can also be used to track the number of entries/exits, identify demographics, and perform sentiment analysis on customers. Typically, this is done at the front entrance. However, it is also useful to do this at the point-of-sale, which can help retailers learn more about their cash customers or if specific demographics are more likely to utilize their loyalty programs.

This type of analysis also provides the ability to utilize predictive analytics to aid in staffing decisions. Tracking the number of entries and exits over time, pulling in point-of-sale data and employee rosters over time gives retailers the ability to make more informed decisions on when to ramp staff up or down.

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Conclusion

WWT brings strategy-to-execution implementation experience in retail deployment of cameras, IoT and AI. We bring strategic guidance, certified expertise and technical design to help our customers get more out of surveillance cameras with EVERYANGLE.

Advances in Computer Vision technology have allowed more customers to take advantage of making data-informed decisions relating to the operations of their businesses. Using Vision AI in stockrooms and at the front entry can transform retail operations and only requires 2 cameras to accomplish. If you would like to learn more about how WWT can help implement camera and AI technology at scale in your organization, we're here to help with a complementary 1-hour briefing call.

Schedule a briefing with WWT to learn more about Vision AI technology.