Big Picture Intelligence for Small Retail Businesses
Owners are leveraging the convenience of today’s video surveillance solutions to improve compliance and profitability
Smaller retail and franchisee owners are among the busiest people I know. When there’s a problem, it’s usually up to them to find a solution, whether that’s troubleshooting an IT issue or dealing with staffing challenges. Add to that the fact that many owners operate multiple locations and it’s easy to understand why they are typically cautious about adopting new technologies. If the tech isn’t easy to use, or can’t demonstrate immediate and measurable benefits, realistically it’s only going to add to the ‘to do’ list.
When it comes to video security, ensuring convenience for smaller retailers and franchisee owners has led to a number of new, more user-friendly video solutions. These include hosted options that eliminate the need for owners to monitor and maintain their video systems themselves, or to buy an IT server to run required software. The majority of these hosted offerings are also available for a monthly fee, making it far easier for smaller businesses to take advantage of advanced capabilities without significant upfront capital expenditures.
In terms of demonstrating the value of the video investment, today’s intelligent video solutions often exceed expectations – particularly when owners use them to improve compliance and stem losses from theft, fraud and false liability claims.
Here are just a few examples of how many quick service restaurant (QSR), convenience store (c-store) and other smaller retail owners have leveraged their video solution to better safeguard operations and profits.
An Eye on Compliance
Many QSRs, c-stores and retail chain locations are obliged to follow a long list of compliance requirements, ranging from how employees are dressed to where promotions are displayed. In addition, they must adhere to standards related to workplace health and safety and government legislation – such as restrictions on the sale of alcohol and tobacco.
All of these requirements are critical to operations and must be monitored closely to ensure they are being met. In the case of legislated standards, owners can also face significant fines for failing to comply. More than 140 businesses, for example, were cited by New York state officials in a single sting operation in 2018 for selling alcohol to minors, with fines ranging from $2,500 to $3,000 for first-time offenders.
Whether hosted or on premises, an intelligent video solution can help owners monitor compliance faster and more conveniently. They can assess at-a-glance whether employees are in uniform, if their locations are clean and presentable, if the required safety sign is up during floor mopping and much more using daily audit reports that arrive directly in their email inboxes.
The reports will include location, date and time details, as well as snapshot images from recorded video so owners can see exactly what’s happening in each location. If something is amiss, they can forward the report to a manager or just pick up the phone – correcting the issue without the need to be physically present. If further investigation is required, they can simply click on a link in the report to review the full video clip. And if required (as many franchisees are) they can also forward the audit reports to a corporate office to validate that procedures are, in fact, being followed.
Through the integration of video and point-of-sale (POS) transaction video, owners can also use their video solution to ensure that employees are doing proper ID checks when selling alcohol and tobacco. Each sale can be conveniently flagged along with links to the recorded video, revealing any issues and providing clear video evidence for further follow up.
Similarly, video solutions with POS integration capabilities open up a world of advanced loss prevention tools for retail business owners.
Incorporating specialized software, these solutions can proactively flag suspicious transactions based on criteria such as voids over/under a set amount, or frequent employee discounts. They can reduce the time needed to investigate a suspect incident – often from hours to minutes – and provide clear video evidence to help with prosecution or recoveries.
In addition, owners can use an intelligent video solution to run transaction searches by date, time, card number, location and employee across one or all locations simultaneously. They can compare store or restaurant performance by item, discount or refund as a percentage of sales and by other key performance indicators. Along with the associated video, owners can use these comparison tools to better assess their operations and quickly identify opportunities for improvement.
Owners can also review liability claims using clear video evidence to verify what is being alleged. In an age where one slip-and-fall claim can cost a business thousands of dollars and where not every person is 100 percent truthful in all cases, being able to successfully refute a false liability claim can save a retail owner from hefty legal costs, reputational consequences or even bankruptcy.
Regardless of how you use intelligent video, what is clear is that smaller retail and franchisee owners can benefit significantly. However, the solution they select must be cost-effective, easy to maintain and, above all, it must be convenient to use.