How smart surveillance can optimize retail operations and increase sales during the holiday season

  • IoT-enabled smart cameras offer retailers the ability to gather valuable consumer insights, while providing a safe shopping experience
  • AI applications can assist multiple retail sectors in enhancing customer experience and increasing sales conversions with actionable, intelligent data
  • Data can be used to determine staffing needs, analyze peak shopping hours to increase sales conversions and assist in e-commerce functions

5 November, 2020 — Retailers who have successfully navigated difficult spring and summer months are finding themselves facing new obstacles in the critical holiday season shopping. While businesses have been safely and successfully reopening with proper health and safety guidelines in place to protect customers and employees, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on holiday shopping is yet to be seen. 

To assist in navigating these challenges, retailers should consider an option that can be used to ensure safety of shoppers and staff, as well as offer actionable business intelligence – such as smart surveillance cameras equipped with AI-enabled applications. Smart cameras today can provide retailers with valuable real-time insights into customer behavior, using a wide range applications that can be easily added to the camera the same way apps are loaded to a mobile phone. 

With this in mind, Security & Safety Things (S&ST) outlines a few ways in which smart surveillance technology can assist retailers in daily business operations, as well as during peak holiday shopping:

  • Optimize e-commerce operations by syncing together logistics and warehousing with in-store inventory
  • Increase sales conversions and boost in-person cross-selling 
  • Use of heat mapping to determine products in high demand
  • Enhance customer experience by reducing time spent in waiting lines or checkout queues – creating a safer shopping environment 
  • Enable better planning for busy periods, identify potential bottlenecks and assess where extra signage for social distancing and proper facial protection could be required

Smart cameras can assess highly trafficked zones, while zone counter applications can be used for analyzing interactions with a particular shelf or area of a store – allowing for better management of on-hand inventory to meet customer demand. When connected to point of sale systems, smart cameras can enable retailers to optimize conversion rates by analyzing the correlation between store or individual department occupancy and sales rates. Additionally, they can detect demographic data of customers, recognizing that a group of two adults and two children entering the store together is likely a family that intends to make a single purchase instead of four potential customers.

While many think of e-commerce only in terms of online shopping, it’s important to remember the other elements – such as supply chain optimization. An important step in any e-commerce strategy is to ensure your warehouses are running as efficiently as possible, especially during busy holiday seasons where customers will be reserving items online and possibly picking them up in-person. By deploying a smart camera equipped with intelligent analytics, warehouse managers can utilize this solution to fulfill orders quickly and more efficiently. They can also utilize these cameras to track basic inventory, or notify them when popular products are running low on stock.

While many shoppers are used to long holiday lines, this year brings additional concerns in terms of occupancy limits and social distancing policies. A security camera, which was previously only able to provide video data, can now also enable retailers to better understand their customers shopping habits and optimize business operations – offering far more than just a security or health safety tool. These cameras effectively become IoT sensors that can be used to enhance shopper experience, increase sales and optimize retail processes during the holiday season and beyond. 

For more information on how businesses can leverage video analytics to gain enterprise-wide operational intelligence, visit