This week in retail security news, we take a look at the evolving role of in-store video surveillance systems in both security and customer analytics, as well as how one struggling retail brand is putting new digital payment security systems at the center of its turnaround plan. Read on for your dose of retail security inspiration for the week.
Payments Security: Key To A Retail Brand Turnaround?
American Apparel has made headlines most recently for its bankruptcy hearings. In January, a judge ruled the controlling interest in the retailer not be turned over to its divisive founder, Dov Charney, but instead have its assets reorganized to pay creditors. The move takes the company private, with its largest bondholders now at the helm.
In a sign that the new leadership intends to turn the brand around, the company has recently announced that it will be implementing a new cloud-based payment infrastructure through Index, a payments service provider. According to an article from Retail Info Systems News, the move to this new digital technology will allow American Apparel to bring Apple Pay, enhanced payment security and a more personalized checkout to shoppers.
The move to a cloud-based system is also expected to increase internal efficiencies, drive down costs, as well as improve security, future-proof payments and expand digital capabilities across the brand’s U.S. storefronts, according to RIS. Index will also provide point-to-point encryption (P2PE), EMV, NFC, processing flexibility and value-added services, including robust analytics and personalized marketing.
Another win for American Apparel, notes RIS, is seamless email capture on the PIN pad. This creates a great opportunity for easy, one-time signup for eReceipts and loyalty programs that will allow American Apparel to deepen engagement with customers long after the transaction at the point of sale has ended.
“Our launch with Index provides a strong technical foundation to prepare our stores for the future,” said Brian McHale, American Apparel’s chief information officer, in a recent statement. “Index is an incredibly valuable partner to help us accomplish our objective of moving major systems to the cloud and overhauling security.”
Traditional Surveillance Gets a High-Tech Upgrade
As video surveillance has moved from analog to digital platforms over the past few years, retailers have found themselves on the receiving end of a slew of new opportunities that high-tech surveillance creates.
Retail analytics gathered from in-store surveillance systems can be a boon for retailers, as long as they know how to access them and later implement the insights they provide back into their operations. To do this, there are several key factors, as a recent article from Security News Desk outlines. As the story points out, several major retail and grocery chains are already using video-based analytics and seeing significant returns on their investment, with benefits that go far beyond security. In order for other retailers to take advantage of the same benefits, several components must be in place.
To begin with, the right systems must be installed properly. The challenge for installers, as the Security News Desk article points out, is that instead of just approaching a retailer’s security teams, more advanced surveillance solution options must be discussed with stakeholders from various departments, including marketing, IT and security. One of the nice things about these systems is that they are extremely scalable, allowing a retailer to make a small investment upfront and continue to expand capabilities as it sees a return on its investment.
A retailer can start with a single, wide-angle of view network camera integrated with people counting analytics to monitor the entrance to the store and evaluate foot traffic patterns throughout the week and day. These analytics into traffic patterns can also be used to help control inventory management and staffing. As Security News Desk reports, retailers can even add sophisticated systems that will notify managers when stock is running low and it’s time to reorder. Later, they may decide to add heat mapping, which shows hotspots around the store, how long customers browse in different sections and ultimate purchasing behavior. This can be used to inform store layout, merchandising and product placement. They may also add facial recognition software to track repeat visits and visits by a single customer across multiple store locations.
As technology continues to advance, the future capabilities of these types of intelligent and integrated analytics/security systems are virtually endless. If traditional retailers who still maintain a real estate footprint want to stay competitive with their eCommerce counterparts, they need to continue to educate themselves about these emerging technologies and get on the bandwagon early, lest they be caught off guard as these technologies go mainstream.