Top 6 use cases for edge video analytics in retail
What is edge video analytics?
Edge video analytics leverages AI and machine learning models to analyze video footage. This is done at the edge, enabling real-time and in-store insights.
Neal’s edge video analytics solutions have been specially developed to leverage Azure Stack Edge devices, IoT, vision AI and other technologies in conjunction with in-store cameras or other video sources. Using the output from our solutions can help you streamline store operations and improve the overall customer experience.
Wondering what it can do for you? Here are our top use cases for edge video analytics in retail. We divide these scenarios into two categories: People Intelligence and Product Intelligence.
People intelligence: Streamline store operations with insights into customer behavior
Use case #1: Track store foot traffic in real-time
Having accurate counts of customer foot traffic at any given moment and understanding how customers move about a store are valuable data points that many stores are missing. These types of insights can be useful not only for optimizing product placement in stores, but fine-tuning staffing levels and even safety.
Edge video analytics solutions can help retailers gauge how busy their stores are and how customers move in their store in real-time by using vision AI to analyze foot traffic.
By leveraging camera feed from high traffic areas, Neal can implement a solution that can count the number of people that move through a predetermined area (such as a store entrance), enabling accurate store traffic analytics in real-time. You can then leverage these insights to supplement store inventory planning, product placement strategy, better determine staffing needs, and even help ensure the number of customers in the store stays within its legal capacity.
These insights can also be leveraged to assess common traffic patterns and fine-tune staffing to account for peaks and valleys in foot traffic and gain insights into how external factors like holidays and weather impact foot traffic.
Use case #2: Keep customer queues short
Checkout registers represent a major bottleneck in the flow of customers through a store. If there are too many customers and not enough open registers, checkout lines will become lengthy and impair the customer experience. On the other hand, having too many registers open can lead to idle checkout clerks and reduce profitability.
Edge video analytics can help retailers maintain the optimal number of open registers at any given moment by monitoring queue lengths to determine whether to open or close registers.
This is achieved by leveraging store cameras to monitor zones placed at each open register. If the average number of people in the open register zones exceeds a pre-determined threshold, the solution implemented by Neal can automatically dispatch notifications to store employees to open an additional register. Similarly, if the average number of people in checkout queues drops below a certain threshold, the solution can notify employees to close a register. This allows the store to constantly fine-tune the number of open registers based on live metrics, enabling store managers to focus on other tasks during peak hours.
Use case #3: Bolster loss prevention capabilities
All retailers deal with shrinkage, and it can be difficult to monitor high theft areas all the time, even with a full loss prevention team.
Video analytics can add capabilities to cameras that are already monitoring a given store’s high theft areas, helping to reduce the need for physical monitoring by a loss prevention employee.
Neal’s edge video analytics for retail solutions can monitor high theft areas for suspicious behavior, such as an individual idling for an excessive period of time. When such behavior is detected, the solution can notify loss prevention of the behavior or a sales associate that the individual needs assistance.
Product intelligence: Drive sales, improve customer experiences, and reduce shrink
Use case #4: Avoid lost sales from product stockouts
Product stock-outs are one of the largest drivers of lost sales for retail organizations every year. In fact, stockouts account for nearly $1 trillion in missed sales globally each year.
Product intelligence-based edge video analytics solutions from Neal Analytics can help mitigate this problem by automatically detecting when a given item goes out of stock on a shelf and subsequently notifying employees to restock the shelf.
This is achieved by leveraging in-store cameras in conjunction with vision AI which identifies gaps on store shelves where product should be located. When it determines a shelf space is empty, the solution can immediately issue an alert, allowing employees to swiftly restock the shelf. This, in turn, helps reduce or eliminate lost sales due to the empty shelf space.
Use case #5: Gain insights into product popularity
Sales records may provide insight into which items were most popular during a given time period after sales totals are calculated, but this provides little insight into how frequently an item goes out of stock or whether sales were impaired due to out of stocks.
By leveraging a similar set of technologies in the previous use case, edge video analytics solutions for retail can help organizations gain live insights into how frequently a given product goes out of stock in a day or hour.
Neal’s solutions can also help organizations gain other insights such as how many different products are picked up and replaced before a selection is made and which SKUs sell out faster than others. Knowing which items are most popular and which go out of stock the most frequently can help organizations fine-tune their blend of SKUs on shelves.
Use case #6: Reduce shrink
Many retailers, especially high-end luxury goods retailers, display high-value merchandise throughout their stores. While display items can help drive sales by allowing customers to view and appreciate them, would be shoplifters see them as relatively easy targets.
Video analytics can help mitigate shoplifters who may try to pocket merchandise or snatch and grab by sending alerts to loss prevention and security personnel whenever someone tries to remove a high-value item from its designated area.
Neal’s edge video analytics solutions for retail can monitoring both the specific display product and the areas surrounding it. Depending on the chosen parameters, the solution can issue alerts whenever customers get too close to the display, dwell too long, or try to remove it from its designated area in the store.
Want to see how your retail business can leverage edge video analytics? Contact us to speak to a Neal expert!
Or, if you’d like to continue researching, check out these resources:
- What is Edge Video Analytics?
- The Intelligent Edge: Learn how Neal partnered with Microsoft and Intel to create StockView
- 5 things to consider before deploying visual AI at the edge in retail
This blog was originally published 7/14/2021 and has since been updated.