When 3xLOGIC, Westminster, Colo., hired Sales Edge, Denver, to conduct a national survey of convenience store owners, operators and loss prevention managers, the results revealed a noticeable trend - only a fraction of the respondents were using their video surveillance systems to their full potential.

The survey probed the extent to which convenience stores (C-stores) utilize various video surveillance technologies in their day-to-day operations. In addition to standard loss prevention activity, the survey also sought to understand the extent to which organizations were utilizing newer technologies and features that allow the monitoring of and interaction with various business processes. Many integrated video solutions today allow the monitoring and reporting of everything from refrigeration systems to employee performance, and remote management of multi-site locations can now be performed through systems that are connected to the Internet, but that doesn't mean that users are applying the technologies. 

The survey, which netted 125 respondents from around the country, showed:

100 percent of the respondents use some form of digital video surveillance in their organization.

92 percent of respondents operated C-stores with fuel while the remaining 8 percent were a C-store only.

100 percent used their systems for loss prevention purposes.

Only 75 percent had their systems connected to a network of any type.

Only 25 percent used audio recording at the counter.

Only 8 percent were using IP cameras.

0 percent used call logging.

0 percent used video analytics to any degree.

"We found that most C-stores only use a fraction of the capability offered by their current surveillance systems, yet we found that most organizations had definite need and desire to more fully utilize their current investment." said David Nieweg, director of business development for 3xLOGIC.

When provided with various scenarios of alternative uses for their video surveillance system, such as remote management, monitoring systems such as refrigeration or exception reporting of processes, the results showed:

73 percent of respondents were interested in remote multi-site management using video and audio.

91 percent were interested in measuring and managing the customer experience utilizing the video surveillance system.

73 percent were interested in measuring and managing employee performance with video surveillance technology.

9 percent were interested in the utilization of video analytics in the retail environment.

"It shows that the industry has a long ways to go in regards to educating the consumer about the capabilities of the systems currently being sold," said Mike Davis, 3xLOGIC's director of U.S. operations. "It also indicates that consumers are unaware of the potential benefits of emerging technologies such as video analytics. It may be a situation where they will wait until they see concrete examples of ROI before they become interested, but it also indicates that manufacturers will need to prove tangible benefits to drive customer adoption."

The tangible benefits need to be carefully catered to the individual companies' needs, however.  

"The security industry really needs to get into the verticals and understand the actual applications - just selling the solutions without understanding the applications and how they fit and how they effect people's lives and the company's operations is not enough," Nieweg said.

For more information on the survey or on 3xLOGIC, visit www.3xLogic.com

Study Sponsored by ADT-Sensormatic Finds Top Retailers Use Business Intelligence Tools Up to 46 Percent More Than Underperforming Retailers

Another Study Also Finds That Top Retailers Use Electronic Article Surveillance  Three Times More than Underperforming Retailers

A new study “Loss Prevention and Beyond: Survival of the Fittest,” sponsored by ADT’s Sensormatic Retail Solutions, has uncovered some big differences between top retail performers – those whose sales growth outpace the three percent industry average – and retailers below that average. One is that top performers use business intelligence tools like returns and void management technologies 46 percent more than underperformers. Another is that nearly three times the number of top performing retailers use Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) technology as compared to underperformers.

“Greater usage of business intelligence tools has improved the efficiency of our other loss prevention technologies and delivered a strong return on investment,” said David George, vice president of Asset Protection for Harris Teeter. “Business intelligence solutions such as Sensormatic Analytics tied to our CCTV systems have enabled our operators and loss prevention teams to quickly identify and address both operational and loss prevention issues in each of our stores and across the entire chain. The end result is two-fold: improved shrink reduction and better performing store operations.”

The online survey was conducted by Retail Systems Research (RSR) during September and October, 2008, including respondents from retailers with stores around the world. Among its findings:

§         Employee theft of goods and cash are top retailer concerns, with respondents ranking internal theft as their number one source of shrinkage, shoplifting as second, and internal theft of cash as third.

§         While almost half of the top performers use EAS to control shrink, only 17 percent of underperformers use EAS – despite all respondents ranking shoplifting as their second largest source of shrink.

§         Seventy-one percent of all respondents said they frequently use exception analysis reporting, a key business intelligence tool, as a critical technology in their loss prevention arsenal.

§         Fifty-three percent of all respondents cite better business intelligence as needed to make effective use of the vast amounts of loss prevention data that exists, especially from video surveillance systems.

According to the report, this discovery was consistent with many other findings that top performers don’t merely do the same things better compared to underperformers, but they also tend to do different things: “(They) think differently, plan differently and respond differently.”

In another example, the study found that while 39 percent of top performers audit employees’ adjustments to the quantity of goods on hand, only nine percent of underperformers do the same. The report concluded: “Even as these retailers are convinced their employees are stealing from them, they allow those employees to make adjustments to quantities on hand without even verifying what happened to the merchandise.”

“In tough economic times, shrink continues to rise,” said Paula Rosenblum, RSR’s managing director and widely recognized as one of the top analysts in the retail industry. “With the slowing economy many retailers have cut back on staff and now will be relying on technology to help control theft. Smart, winning retailers know the best way to maximize profitability and improve shrink is to leverage existing assets and improve store intelligence.”

“This study offers important insights into the difficult challenges facing retailers today,” said Jeffrey Bean, vice president, ADT Retail Sales and Operations. “In sponsoring the RSR study, we want to help educate retailers about how other retailers are using advanced, integrated technologies to best support their loss prevention efforts as they continue to thrive and weather the economic storm.”

A free copy of the 22-page report can be obtained by visiting: http://www.retailsystemsresearch.com.