3 min

The Benefits of Enhanced Video in Retail

Stores can boost security, minimize nuisance activity and catch repeat offenders with advanced surveillance systems.

Today, even the smallest stores use video surveillance to deter crime and investigate incidents. But there’s an enormous difference between standard surveillance systems and enhanced video surveillance.

An enhanced system will include features such as high-resolution cameras, analytics and object detection. Together, these tools give retailers a leg up in the never-ending fight to prevent loss and keep their stores safe.

Using Technology to Prevent and Prosecute Theft

Enhanced video surveillance helps retailers prevent shoplifting and investigate and prosecute incidents. High-resolution cameras, for instance, can help security staff and law enforcement positively identify suspects. Meanwhile, object-detection capabilities can automatically flag expensive merchandise.

Enhanced video surveillance solutions also are changing how user search through hours of video to identify and review issues. Thanks to artificial intelligence and advanced analytics, dashboards tie point-of-sale data to video clips that can be presented to the loss prevention team and can even suggest transactions of interest for them to review.

According to a 2022 survey from loss prevention firm Jack L. Hayes International, the average theft incident costs retailers nearly $1,200. According to the same report, less than 8 percent of total losses result in a recovery. Efforts made by retailers to curb these losses can add up to substantial financial wins.

Enhanced Video Surveillance Can Deter Nuisance Activity

Stealing isn’t the only criminal — or even merely unpleasant — activity that retailers must battle. Nuisance activities such as loitering, for instance, can turn away paying customers and create an atmosphere where shoplifting becomes common. Many retailers also have reported an uptick in violence perpetrated against customers and employees in recent years.

The presence of enhanced video surveillance, along with associated signage, can greatly curtail nuisance behaviors, creating a safe and welcoming environment conducive to profitability.

Making Stores Safer by Avoiding In-Person Confrontation

Often, store policies determine how much action employees can take to prevent shoplifting. Even when security staffers are empowered to confront thieves, these in-person confrontations are frequently tense and can even put customers and employees in danger.

Enhanced security systems often feature two-way audio, which allows security staff to communicate to specific areas of the store. Through such conversations, security staffers can let potential thieves know that they are being watched. This may be enough to prevent theft and reduce the need for in-person confrontations, time-consuming arrests and costly prosecutions.

In addition, enhanced video can provide data analytics to help identify potential threats and prevent incidents. Enhanced security cameras can monitor movement within a store, provide analytics around dwell time and observe patterns of behavior around incidents occurring in the store. All of this data can be analyzed to help thwart future incidents before they occur.

Technology Can Be Used to Promote Employee Honesty

Through features such as object detection and through integration with point-of-sale systems, enhanced video surveillance solutions can help stores detect and deter practices such as scan avoidance and “sweethearting.” Dishonest employees use these methods either to pocket portions of sales or to provide steep, unauthorized discounts to friends, family and coworkers. These activities often fly under the radar of standard video surveillance. But enhanced systems can catch these behaviors and deter employees from engaging in them in the first place.

Story by Chris Black, Link Simpson and Andy Szanger

Chris  Black

Chris Black

CDW Expert
CDW Expert
Link  Simpson

Link Simpson

CDW Expert
CDW Expert
Andy  Szanger

Andy Szanger

Director of Strategic Industries
Andy Szanger, CDW's director of strategic industries, leverages over 27 years of IT industry experience, particularly in retail. He assists high-profile retailers in implementing solutions to enhance customer experience, gain business insights and utilize technology as a competitive advantage. Previously, he held operational roles in the retail industry, overseeing loss prevention teams.