Best-in-class retailers are leveraging video analytics to better strategize workforce management and optimize customer engagement initiatives in-store. During a previous ViewPoints article, Verlin Youd, SVP of Sales and Marketing for SCOPIX Solutions, a video analytics solution provider, discussed how retailers are implementing video in-store to improve efficiencies and boost sales.
In this special follow-up Q&A, Youd shares recent developments in the video analytics space, and how these solutions can attribute to a successful customer loyalty strategy. Youd also discusses top metrics retailers can track to improve customer experiences and boost ROI.
Retail TouchPoints (RTP): In your previous interview with Retail TouchPoints, you discussed multiple benefits of video analytics solutions, including a detailed view of store activities. How can retailers adopt these solutions to stand out in light of new retail developments such as mobile and social networking sites?
Verlin P. Youd: Regardless of new technologies such as mobile and social media, retailers still must focus on differentiating themselves from the competition, delighting their customers and providing a compelling in-store customer experience. There are many technologies retailers can implement; however, it is difficult to measure their efficacy. Video analytics allows retailers to measure the impact of changes made in-store, including the implementation of new technologies.
For example, if a retailer thinks rolling out a handheld mobile app in-store will impact sales, video analytics can be leveraged to measure how many customers actually are using the technology in-store. SCOPIX has partnered with a number of other solutions providers in the retail space to connect more in-store information, provide richer analytics and broaden the impact of in-store video analytics. For example, a retailer could leverage SCOPIX Real.Suite to measure the impact of customer-facing technologies.
RTP:Measurement and analytics are vital to retail success. What information does a video analytics solution provide to enhance in-store operations?
Youd: That’s a great question. During the past year, many retailers were focusing on the customer engagement area of video analytics to determine if store associates were engaging with shoppers correctly and for the right amount of time. More importantly, retailers implemented these solutions to quantify whether these engagements were turning into sales.
Although this strategy continues to hold true today, many retailers are getting excited about the merchandising side of video analytics. Byusing a video analytics solution such as Real.Suite, retailers can ensure shelves are stocked in the most efficient way, promotional endcaps are set correctly and planograms are followed as designed. The SCOPIX solution helps retailers determine if their customer engagement and merchandising strategies are meeting plans and if they are resonating with shoppers as desired. It’s interesting to see how these necessities are consistent across verticals, and a low-hanging fruit opportunity for retailers.
RTP: How do video analytics solutions allow retailers and store managers to measure customer engagement and workforce management efficiently?
Youd: Video analytics are finally giving retailers the critical business information they need for successful in-store retailing, from the customer’s point of view. By leveraging video and integrating other key in-store data such as POS, workforce management and loyalty, a video analytics solution finally gives retailers an understanding of what is going on throughout their stores. Now they can determine if customers are being engaged, if that engagement is impacting sales, if merchandise is where it is meant to be, if customers are being served on a timely basis, if staffing is matching actual traffic by department, and more. Regarding workforce management, retailers clearly can see who was scheduled, who clocked in, and, most importantly, who was on the sales floor to assist customers. Armed with this new critical information, retailers can drive store performance and improve the customer experience.
RTP: Are retailers primarily using video analytics to improve customer service or to prevent loss?
Youd: Historically, video has been focused on loss prevention, but the application’s growth area is customer experience. Visibility into customer experience is, frankly, a black hole in today’s retail environment. Retailers have attempted to gather information using various tools such as customer surveys and mystery shoppers, but those can be expensive and unreliable. By leveraging video, retailers can obtain an accurate, fact-based, relevant set of measurements. Additionally, SCOPIX focuses on ensuring those measurements are actionable and impactful in the store.
RTP: In the coming year, how will video analytics and its demand in the retail space develop?
Youd: Without a doubt, the video analytics market is going to grow by leaps and bounds in 2012. In-store retail will be a critical sales, delivery, and profit channel for many years to come, sustaining a strong market for video analytics. The in-store experience also is critical for retail branding, communicating a retailer’s value proposition, and overall customer fulfillment. As a result, retailers will continue to implement video analytics solutions to better understand the customer experience and take action to drive their businesses.
RTP: You joined SCOPIX in February 2011. Please discuss SCOPIX’s and the company’s overall growth since you joined the company.
Youd: The past year has been a very eventful and rewarding for SCOPIX. The market has responded to the SCOPIX solutions’ benefits: retailer reaction and acceptance have been overwhelming as the value proposition of SCOPIX and video analytics have become better known in the market. Our retailer prospects understand what video analytics can do for their businesses, usually resulting in immediate pilots that eventually lead into rollouts. Within the last year, the SCOPIX client portfolio has doubled.
Verlin Youd is the Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at SCOPIX. In his position, Youd is responsible for market growth initiatives, including direct sales, channels/partners, strategic alliances, marketing, and press and analyst relations. Verlin has 20 years of strong industry and software experience. Prior to joining SCOPIX, Verlin held previous positions as SVP, Global Trade Sector for SAP, VP of Global Industry Solutions for Motorola’s Enterprise Mobility business, as well as VP and GM of the Solutions Division of Symbol Technologies (Symbol was acquired by Motorola in January of 2007). Verlin has held several other executive and management positions in sales, marketing, channels, solution and product management, and development at IBM and Systech Retail Systems (now part of Torex Retail).