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Retail Loss Prevention: 5 Ways to Maximize CCTV Systems

Retail theft, whether it is due to shoplifting or employee theft, is one of the biggest factors negatively impacting the profitability of any retail establishment. No matter how secure a store may be, there are always ways to improve security. One of the best ways to do that is to ensure that you are maximizing your video surveillance and CCTV system to its full effectiveness.

A retail video surveillance and CCTV system is an essential part of any loss prevention strategy. Here are a few simple but critical ways you can maximize your system and reduce theft.

Prioritize Your Cameras

Most facilities do not have a surveillance system that covers every inch of the facility. There are many common reasons for this, including unique and challenging store lay out, physical obstructions, and budgetary issues. Take a close and critical look at the business layout and processes and prioritize what needs to be covered, then implement the security camera coverage accordingly.

Position Your Cameras Wisely

Often, a business owner will have an idea of the area that needs to be covered, but fails to consider the conditions under which it would be recording as well as the capabilities of the camera. Video surveillance camera placement is not just about the optimal angle, it is also about optimally using the camera’s features and capabilities within the given environment.

Maximize Your CCTV System with the Right Cameras

Consider the true needs of each area of coverage, and then match the type of camera to the need. In many cases, a facility does not need more cameras. It just needs the right kind for the application, whether you need to cover POS in fine detail or a way to better capture images over a wider space in challenging lighting.

Consider a CCTV System Upgrade

If you have had your CCTV system a while, consider investigating what options are available today. As security technology advances quickly, upgrading can have significant value to the business in many ways, in addition to loss prevention. The cost of upgrades is minimal compared to the added value.

Integrate Business Data with Video Surveillance

One of the most valuable ways to maximize your CCTV system is to integrate it with business intelligence. The insights provide a more in-depth view of the business so that you can stop loss, reduce shrinkage and improve processes. The insights you gain are immediate and actionable and the results are powerful.

Installing, upgrading, or integrating your retail CCTV system can foster profitability and peace of mind. Established in 1995 and headquartered in Melville, NY, S-TRON serves thousands of retail locations with distinction.

8 Ways To Use Data Analytics to Improve Product Placement

Traditionally, the role of video surveillance in retail was primarily, and nearly exclusively in security. Since the rapid maturation of IP, video, and analytic technologies– that has changed dramatically. The increase in functionality and accessibility has proven to be a real boon to the retail industry and retailers are finding a multitude of beneficial uses for video surveillance analytics, one of the most powerful is in product placement and planning.

Use Video Surveillance Analytics and THRIVE

Retail business owners know the importance of proper product placement. In fact, product placement can make or break a business, retain or lose customers, and solidify relationships with product brands who want to see partners move merchandise. Until recently, businesses relied on current trends, historical sales trends, seasonal shopping patterns, and good old instinct to determine inventory levels and product placement. This, of course, could result in anything from a big win to a devastating fail. Today, video surveillance analytics provides retailers with a wealth of information that changes everything.

Small Changes Can Yield Reward

You’ve seen it. Small, seemingly negligible changes in product placement can reap huge gains. A shoe department of a large chain store saw as much when it was performing poorly. Data analytics revealed that the benches were too close to the wall for shoppers to try on shoes. Simply moving the benches allowed the department to perform far better. Without data analytics,  the store could have missed the problem altogether.

8 Ways To Use Data Analytics to Improve Product Placement

Using heat maps and dwell times can provide an enormous amount of information for improving product placement. Here are some examples.

  • Use popular products to shoppers toward lesser popular products.
  • Uncover flow and ease of movement. It is easy to unintentionally funnel traffic in a specific direction.
  • Measure the effectiveness of special promotions and displays.
  • Use flow of traffic and buyer habits to place products more efficiently.
  • Use heat mapping to direct shoppers to promotions.
  • Gather information to improve flow of traffic and make navigation intuitive.
  • Run A/B displays to discover what truly appeals to customers.
  • Analyze customer behavior to increase their  Units Per Transaction (UPT) rates

Once you know what works, it is easy to develop a repeatable plan for success. The ability to see real-time retail analytics also provides the opportunity to make changes immediately if something isn’t working which can save a campaign. Overall, video analytics give retailers the ability to analyze store traffic and product and merchandising success and use that information to make decisions that better fit the customer, and the business.

About S-TRON

Headquartered in Melville, New York, S-Tron is a national security systems integrator with local, professional service and installation. We serve the restaurant, hospitality, grocery, convenience store, and retail industries.

Protecting Your Business from Retail Shrink

Inventory shrink is the loss of products from employee or customer theft, inventory and accounting errors, and loss due to things such as spoilage or damage. Maintaining a low shrink rate is one of the most important aspects of maintaining profitability.
Retail shrink, however, is multidimensional and addressing the problem effectively requires an all-encompassing approach to security as a way to improve all operations rather than seeing security as just a tool to catch criminals.

Improve Operations

Improving storewide operational execution by using video surveillance technologies helps to maintain high levels of execution. When great processes are in place anything out of sync stands out and can be corrected quickly. This can help reduce loss due to accounting, lost or forgotten inventory, and spoilage. Maintaining high levels of execution also helps employees spot shoplifting easily, and helps them to refrain from the temptation themselves.

Reduce Accounting Errors

Security technologies can provide a wide view of the store and its operations but it can also help zero in on POS to help identify and correct errors or acts of fraud.

Product Protection

Another important aspect of preventing shrink is how well you protect your assets. Using tools such as access control is essential in controlling product storage areas.

Video Surveillance is a Crime Deterrence

The two most effective ways to deter theft are to make it too difficult and too risky. Video surveillance technologies are highly effective because they make it difficult to commit shoplifting without getting caught. This is a very important factor as preventing theft is much more cost-effective than catching it.

Video Analytics are Golden

Video analytics are great for telling you what products are performing well and why, but they can also provide insight as to why certain products or particular areas of the building see much more loss. It can also help you manage on-shelf availability and avoid over or under inventory. It also provides information that allows you to better evaluate store operation in relation to patterns of theft and allow you to make adjustments to store layout, product location, and employee engagement.

S-Tron has over 20 years of uncompromising industry experience and is dedicated to helping retail operations reach their security goals. From video surveillance and access control to intrusion detection and business analytics, S-Tron beats the competition coast to coast.

What Retailers Need to Know: Shoplifting 101

In 2016, the average inventory shrink rate increased to 1.44 percent. According to the National Retail Security Survey 2017, shoplifting by outside customers accounted for 37% retail inventory loss, followed by 30% in employee theft, 21% in administrative errors and 5% in vendor fraud. Together this loss accounted for $48.9 billion worth of inventory.

There are Many Ways of Controlling Shrink

Detecting and preventing shoplifting is an important part of any retail establishment. Whether caused by internal or external causes, controlling shrink is one of the most significant factors in controlling expenses. To do this, retailers have several options including employee training, auditing, loss prevention personnel, and loss prevention technologies.

Different Approaches to Address the Problem

Different establishments approach loss prevention differently, largely guided by budget and philosophy. The main focus could be deterrence, detection, or apprehension, and depending on the retailer’s philosophy, the loss prevention strategies utilized and policies instituted will reflect that philosophy.

Cost Effective Loss Prevention Technologies

Loss prevention technologies address every aspect of shrink, from deterrence to detection, and ultimately apprehension. Some of the most cost-effective strategies include CCTV and video surveillance, business intelligence software, and ScanCam. ScanCams helps prevent employee-caused shrink such as barcodes not registering, or making up fraudulent returns.

Quick Tips for Shoplifting Prevention

  • Use video surveillance and CCTV. Visible security deters crime.
  • Greet customers as soon as they enter the store to remove anonymity.
  • Watch for customers who avoid eye contact, seem nervous, wander the store, linger, or exhibit suspicious behavior.
  • Encourage employees to walk the store and talk to customers.
  • Keep the store clean and organized to maintain visibility.
  • Keep commonly stolen items in plain view.
  • Do not under-staff.
  • Eliminate employee distractions.
  • Post warnings in dressing rooms or bathrooms.

Stopping a Patron

Shoplifting laws allow retailers to stop and detain a person who has stolen merchandise. To do this properly in a way that can lead to prosecution requires following proper protocol.

  1. The employee must see the customer enter the area where the subject item is displayed.
  2. The employee must see the customer select and pick up the item.
  3. The customer must see the customer conceal, carry, push or pull the item from its location.
  4. The employee must maintain uninterrupted observation of the customer from the original location of the item to the point of detention.
  5. The employee must see that the patron failed to pay for the item.
  6. The shoplifter must be approached outside the store or after the last point of sale.

By properly addressing shoplifting with the right tools and strategies, a retailer can effectively reduce shrink. S-Tron has over 20 years of uncompromising experience in helping retail establishments reach their security goals.

If You Use Surveillance Technology Just for Security…

Nobody likes to miss out, miss the mark, or fail to execute well, but in retail it happens- a lot. This is especially true when it comes to retail video surveillance systems. If you own a retail business and utilize security cameras purely for security purposes, you are missing out on using it to help your business reach its full potential.

The good news is, it is easy to turn that around.

Yes, Protecting Assets is Important

Having security cameras deters crimes like shoplifting and employee theft. These crimes account for significant retail loss, more than 1.38 percent of retail sales, so it’s understandable that it is a large focus of retail security. Every retailer should be concerned about protecting their assets. Skimming, employee theft, and shoplifting can all be minimized with loss prevention tools such as video surveillance.

A Key Component of Growth

Your surveillance system not only helps prevent loss, it is a critical tool in business growth. With video analytics, retailers have all they need to deliver more value, increase revenue, and create a better customer experience.

Harnessing the Power of Data Analytics

Retail data analytics provides a large amount of data that translates into a wealth of meaningful insights about things like customer count and behavior, employee interactions and productivity, in-store impressions, heat mapping and more.

Real Information Leads to Real Growth

Video analytics provides actionable insights that can help improve in-store performance. With real-time information, you can optimize product placement, compare product placement, monitor promotions, measure customer traffic and dwell times, and measure impressions for promotions among many other information responses.

Optimize Store Efficiency

One of the highest costs for retailers is staffing. It is a huge balancing act to provide enough staff, at the right times. Both overstaffing and understaffing can have huge consequence on the performance of the store and its revenue.

Having access to on-demand and real-time video delivers a clear picture of what is happening in a store so that you can make changes that make sense for the business. For example, it may not be that you need an increased number of employees during certain times of the day, but need a better system of handling the increased traffic. Insight might reveal a need to provide better training for increased productivity. It might even reveal a secret gem of an employee that would be better in a position of leadership.

Lower Total Cost of Ownership

A video surveillance system is an investment, but it is technology well worth the cost. When a retailer reviews how they use the system, and uses it beyond pure security and for improving overall operations, not only does it justify the modest expense, it lowers total cost of ownership.

S-TRON has over 20 years of uncompromising quality and service—from record response times to industry focus, S-TRON beats the competition.

Retailers: Is It Time to Upgrade to IP Video?

Businesses implement security camera systems for many reasons, such as protecting their employees and assets. They also play a role in preventing theft, detecting customer movement and habits, and in improving operations. If you’ve used a surveillance system for some time, it’s likely an analog system which has been the standard for decades. Recent and swift advances in the security technology industry, however, has brought us digital video surveillance systems which far exceed their counterparts. With these advances, the industry as a whole has changed making it the ideal time to upgrade to a digital video surveillance system.

What’s the Difference Between Analog and IP

There are many differences of course, but the defining difference is that analog camera systems need a direct physical connection to a recording device and use a lower resolution NTSC standard. Digital cameras, also known as IP cameras, link to the local area network rather than having a wired connection and achieve much higher resolutions.

Pro Tip: The cost of surveillance technologies have dropped dramatically making it very affordable and accessible technology.

6 Reasons to Upgrade to an IP Security System

There are many reason people are reluctant to upgrade their video surveillance systems, such as believing it will be cost prohibitive or a desire to use the old system until it no longer works. These important reasons will explain why upgrading is not only beneficial, ut economical.

Lower Cable Costs

Analog Camera systems require three cables, power, audio, and video. IP cameras use a single cable that handles between 4 to 8 cameras.

Higher Resolution

Resolution is the amount of detail a camera can capture. Analog cameras, which have low resolution, cannot provide TV standard resolution, while IP cameras provide a resolution which is many times higher. This means that IP cameras capture clear images, even while moving.

Better Image Quality

Images do not help much if they are not clear enough to identify individuals. The higher resolution of IP camera systems means the images are much clearer. Also, since the images are being recorded digitally and not being converted from analog to digital, there is no loss in the quality of images.

Remote Access

Digital cameras can be accessed remotely which allows the user to view video anytime and from anywhere.

Cost Effective

One of the most prevalent misconceptions about upgrading to an IP camera system is that it is expensive and running one might be cost prohibitive. First, the cost of surveillance technologies have dropped dramatically making it very affordable and accessible technology. Also, since the system can serve many purposes, and the NVR is able to manage video surveillance as well as operates as a foundation for data and storage needs of a remote location the overall cost is lower and advantages higher.

It’s Near the End of Analog

Low definition analog camera camera systems and DVR have nearly reached the end of their technological lifespan. The competitively priced more advanced technology is making analog obsolete.

About S-TRON

These are just a few of the many reasons upgrading to an IP video surveillance system will enhance your security, enhance your business insights, and reduce your overall costs. S-Tron specializes in retail loss prevention and addresses your specialized needs with individualized solutions.

Questions Retailers Should Ask Before Installing An Access Control System

Whether you are upgrading an existing system or installing a new one, the effectiveness of your access control system will depend greatly on the preparation you do before installation in evaluating the environment, materials and circumstance as well as knowing how you will use it in the immediate and projected future.

A professional security integrator can help you sort out your needs and explain the various access control technology options.

Avoiding Extra Cost and Headaches

As a business, you want to delegate your electronic security spend wisely and have components that are well-designed and expertly fit to your specific objectives. That requires a bit more effort than a plug-and-play system. The good news is that if you ask yourself some simple questions, you can identify your real needs and communicate them to your commercial security company and the technician. If you have trouble nailing it down, don’t worry. A professional security integrator can help you sort out your needs and explain the various access control technology options.

Top Questions to Ask Before Installing Access Control

Here are the top questions to help you find solutions that are right for your business and facility.

Why Do You Need Access Control?

  • Do you need to increase safety by controlling entrances and exits?
  • Do you need to avoid replacing keys or rekeying locks?
  • Do you have a high employee turnover rate?
  • Is it important to know who is on the premises at all times?
  • Do you need to make certain areas off limits or accessible only to some?
  • Is it important to protect products, supplies, or equipment?
  • Do you need to closely restrict or monitor access at all times?

Should Your Access Control System Include Biometrics?

  • Are there areas you need to know when it was accessed and by whom?
  • Do you need to make certain areas off limits?

Should Your System Include the Perimeter of the Property?

  • Is it important to restrict access to more than just building structure?
  • Are you wanting to prevent vandalism?
  • Do you have outdoor storage areas that need protection from theft?

Should You Have Layers of Access Control?

  • Are there other areas that need to be restricted to the public but accessible to most employees?
  • Do you need to restrict some areas to only upper level management?

What Features Will Benefit Your Business?

  • Proximity (touchless)
  • Biometrics
  • Remote smartphone control
  • Key fobs or cards
  • Keypads
  • Scalability
  • Integration with video surveillance systems
  • Tied to other smart devices such as occupancy sensors or temperature detectors

Whether the focus is on tighter cash or inventory controls, theft detection and deterrence, or improved labor management, S-TRON’s access control and integrated solutions positively impact retail operations. Contact us today for a free consultation for your retail operation.

About S-TRON

S-TRON is an electronic security integrator for national and regional retail and hospitality companies. Established in 1995, and headquartered in Melville, NY, we have served thousands of retail locations with best of class equipment installations and backed them up with our ongoing service, maintenance and support. Our brand promise is “Service excellence” and we deliver.

5 Things to Consider When Choosing a Video Surveillance System for Retail

As a retail establishment owner, it is easy to come to the quick conclusion that you will need a video surveillance system. The problem is knowing what you need and which options work best in your environment. To help figure this out, there are some things to consider when choosing a video surveillance system that will help you ask the right questions, and end up with a perfectly suited system.

What Do You Want the Video Surveillance System For?

That might seem like an oversimplified question, but defining your goal will help you choose the right components and not get lost in a sea of really amazing technologies that all seem like must-haves. List your goals, and prioritize them. Is it safety and security, loss prevention, to help minimize risks such as false injury claims? Perhaps you’d like it to help improve processes and productivity. Whatever your goals, define them.

 

What Areas of Your Retail Establishment Do You Want and Need Covered

It might be that you want every square inch of the property covered with surveillance, or you may only need certain areas covered. Determining what areas you want to be covered and prioritizing the list will help in choosing how many and what kinds of cameras later.

Attach a Retail Security Goal to a Specific Area

The areas of a business are used differently from backroom to the floor. That means each area is likely to have a different security objective. The spaces also vary in size, set-up and lighting. All of these things will play an important role in choosing surveillance system components. For example, a wide area might need a pan-tilt-zoom camera , and a storage area might be better suited for a bullet camera. Your goal might be to reduce loss at the register so using a DVR to record transactions could be an option.

What Surveillance Options Do You Need?

The bells and whistles available in security technologies and video surveillance systems is incredible. You will have options such as infrared technology, waterproof, dustproof, vandal resistant, tilt, zoom, remote monitoring, field of view, low or high resolution, and much more. You will not need every option in every location and determining your real needs can help you manage costs.

How Many Cameras Do You Need?

By knowing your goals, defining the area and purpose, and determining the need for each area you can determine how many cameras you need. A larger area does not necessarily mean a larger number of cameras. Choosing the right cameras can actually reduce the number you need. For example, depending on what you need to see, a pan-tilt-zoom camera that covers an expansive area might reduce the number of fixed cameras you need.

S-Tron is an electronic security integrator for national and regional retail and hospitality companies. Specializing in an industry means we keep current on every trend, changes, challenges, and advances so we can address your specialized and unique needs.

Commercial Security for Retail Matters More Than You Think

One of the most valuable reports to any retailer is the National Retail Security Survey. The most recent, the 2016 report, reveals something every retailer knows. Theft hurts a business. In 2015, inventory shrink totaled $45.2 billion, up by $1.2 billion from the previous year. While the number is staggering, we can learn one very important lesson from how the numbers break down– commercial security for retail matters, a lot.

Shrinkage is an ENORMOUS Problem

But it could be worse. While the total amount of shrinkage is up, it represents the lowest percentage of sales in the survey’s history. So, retail sales is growing faster than the shrinkage. What is making the difference? The implementation of industry specific commercial security for retail. Since more retailers are implementing sophisticated loss prevention technologies, sales have increased.

Employee Theft is a Bigger Problem Than We Think

No employer wants a culture of suspicion, but the study reveals that preventing internal theft needs more attention. In 2014, internal loss broke down in this way:

  • Shoplifting 37%
  • Internal Theft 35%
  • Paperwork Errors 17%
  • Vendor Fraud 7%
  • Unknown Loss 6%

This means that internal theft is just as concerning as shoplifting! But internal theft is also more sensitive to handle, and much more personal. No employer wants to believe a trusted employee is stealing, and obtaining sufficient evidence of criminal activity is very difficult without the help of sophisticated loss prevention technologies. The narrowing margin between loss and percentage of sales indicates that the increased usage of POS systems, access control, and remote access.

Implementing Loss Prevention Solutions is a Win

The commercial security industry is rapidly advancing, and retailers realize the value in implementing these technologies in loss prevention. Most retail store owners report adjusting their security budget, allocating more money for electronic solutions, and seeing the reduction in loss.

Spending Wisely is a Must

No matter the size of the security budget, retailers are realizing that those funds must be spent wisely. This means leveraging the knowledge of electronic security and retail loss professionals who both understand the capabilities of the individual technologies as well as the complexities and demands of individual retail establishments. More retailers are seeing the importance of having a professional recommend solutions that can be fully integrated to provide valuable actionable intelligence which results in a lower total cost of ownership.

S-Tron specializes in retail loss prevention and commercial solutions to help retailers leverage data to target loss prevention and drive sales. Contact us today for a free consultation. 

Critical Reasons Your Retail Business Needs End-to-End Security

A recent industry study noted that most businesses (nearly 60%) monitor less than half of their valuable assets with video surveillance systems. This statistic does not include how many businesses thoroughly and effectively safeguard other aspects of the business, such as POI, entrances, and exits, or the overall business. This means that critical aspects of most businesses are left under or unprotected.

How Businesses Fail

In addition to under-utilizing security cameras and CCTV, responders to the survey reveal another problem—a failure to utilize analytics. Fewer than half actively monitor footage or use it to gain important business insights. The majority of users only store the footage and review it if a crime is suspected. Additionally, businesses fail to upkeep and upgrade security equipment frequently enough, resulting in incompatible technologies and low-quality images, among other issues.

Sharp Images Matter

Just having a video surveillance system is not good enough. The system must be able to provide quality images to be of ultimate advantage. Sharp images are necessary for identifying crime and those who commit them as well as in gaining important business insights that can help improve things like customer service and profitability.

Analytics Are Priceless

When most think of video surveillance and CCTV, they think of it in relation to deterring or spotting crime. However, these systems can also provide incredible insights on how the business works, or doesn’t. By tapping into that information, a business owner can spot issues in productivity, quality control, or traffic flow.

End-to-end Solutions Improve Security

Even better than security cameras and CCTV alone, when paired with intrusion detection and access control systems security and other advantages are multiplied exponentially. Together, problems are identified sooner and an emergency response initiated much more quickly.

Better Solutions Put Time on Your Side

Surveillance, security, and access control integrated systems put time on your side. While surveillance systems can spot someone committing a crime or in a restricted area, it still takes someone to see it to initiate a response. When paired with access control, you can be alerted to activity and initiate a response immediately.

End-to-end Solutions Improve the Cost Model for Security

Investing in security is important and businesses want to get the most out of their system as possible. Having and end-to-end solution makes that possible.  For example, having quality cameras means you can cover more area effectively which allows you to delegate funds toward access control solutions. Together these reduce loss more significantly than one or the other alone.

S-TRON Security Electronics is an electronic security integrator for national and regional retail and hospitality companies. For more information, call us today.