The Use of Surveillance Cameras for Store Market Planning by Chris Lontok

A good and reliable security system is a must for big supermarkets in any state of the US. Big stores in Tampa, Clearwater, and St. Petersberg, Florida have recently gone through simultaneous upgrades in their security systems for higher businesses growth and customer safety. There has also been greater public concern for security due to the growing trend of private security in the homes.

Owners of these stores testify that having these systems not only helps the store keep track of people coming in and out of the building, but also provides assistance in managing customer traffic and efficient monitoring of their employees. But an additional advantage to having a good surveillance system is having an alternative marketing tool in order to help develop better strategies and business plans for the store. This is because video surveillance of customers allows the owners to observe consumer behavior and reaction to the products and services they are offering.

One case study of this marketing strategy can be seen in Coop Mart, a supermarket in Ho Chi, Minh, Vietnam. They employed the help of a video surveillance system in order to gather qualitative data on their customers regarding certain products and services in their store. They strategically placed cameras in specific areas like the information desk, high price product aisle, and other aisles. Cash registers were, of course, provided with video surveillance for security. The end results for the store were more developed sales and marketing plans, with more ideas on customer preference for competing products, shelf-layout, shopping routes, and merchandise display. Employee assessment and evaluation has also become easier and more manageable for the store.

A related study conducted by Andrew J. Newman, Daniel K.C. Yu, and David Oulton entitled, New Insights into Retail Space and Format Planning from Customer-Tracking Data, utilized CCTV technology to observe and record consumer behavior. They also assessed the effectiveness of CCTVs in quantifying consumer behavior, in turn. Though the results were unable to directly put a link on the use of CCTV to record customer behavior for the store's planning in marketing and security, they were able to experiment on different lay-outs and merchandise display. The study was also able to monitor customer count and behavior during a sale, as well as the number of times complaints were filed for faulty merchandise. All in all, the study initiated further research on using surveillance systems for consumer behavior observation and store marketing development.

Commercial security systems that provide well installed CCTV for large establishments have contributed a relatively good amount of revenue for supermarkets across the US. Theft and vandalism have been reduced and manufacturers have gained useful information on consumer behavior to their products.

Traditional security systems can no longer provide the same benefits that a new, state of the art security system can give which is why an upgrade is needed for the stores every 2 to three years. A good security and surveillance system should at least have advanced digital recording, multiplexing, and alarm inputs. These advancements will provide the store (or other authorities) faster and easier video review. The camera should also be versatile enough so it could be positioned in certain angles. It can be done if the camera has a three axis system.

A reliable and modern access control should also be part of the package. Authorized store staff can have greater control over restricted areas of the building with the help of a system of access control. Proximity readers with key cards have replaced locks. One health club, Anytime Fitness, has availed this type of access control for their system. The Anytime Fitness security system was ensured of an efficient tailgating detection system which only allows a one-person-entrance to their establishment. Supermarkets use this technology for their storage facilities in the store which will secure their supplies and equipments.

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