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Retail is unique among industries in that inventory is directly exposed to the public. Once the primary perimeter defenses of shutters, doors and locks are opened, the possibility of inventory loss is very real. Security cameras for retail stores are therefore a vital layer of protection that all business owners in the retail industry should consider.

This guide highlights the many benefits of retail store security cameras, and summarizes the features of modern retail camera systems.

The importance of a retail store security cameras

Security cameras for stores are essentially security guards that never sleep, working 24÷7÷365 to ensure employee safety and security, prevent theft and security breaches and assist with liability and claims if necessary. 

Employee safety and security: Cameras in retail stores increase employee safety and peace of mind, especially if positioned by a qualified security camera installer to ensure there are no blindspots. 

In addition, store operators can consider adding body-worn cameras to their retail security systems as an additional safety measure. If there is an incident where a customer starts abusing a member of staff, video security will pick this up instantly, so that the altercation or incident can be dealt with quickly and efficiently.

Liability/​claims: Retail video security footage can be an invaluable asset in the event of litigation and claims resulting from a wide range of incident types. Some of the most common such scenarios are:

  • Third party damage or bodily injury through falling merchandise, slip and falls or general negligence
  • Failure to provide adequate security to prevent criminal attacks in-store
  • Security or loss prevention claims

Crime and theft prevention: The presence of retail security cameras is a deterrent against shoplifting and retail theft, such as under-ringing either by checkout staff or by customers at self-checkout. Video footage is used by law enforcement to successfully prosecute individuals.

Retail security camera shape, size, and form

A store wants all customers and employees coming through the doors to be aware that video security is in operation to discourage theft or property damage. Therefore traditional CCTV-type bullet cameras at entrances make that point obvious. However, it makes sense within the retail area to minimize the feeling of intrusion, so multisensor and dome cameras are often preferred purely for aesthetic reasons and a more covert approach.

Considerations for shopping center video camera security in malls

It’s not just standalone retail stores that need security cameras. Shopping center security is equally imperative. Installing security cameras in malls can impact visitor and employee safety in key zones, such as entrances, intersections, elevators, plazas and lobbies. In addition, merchandise loading bays need monitoring, as do parking lots and garages.

Outdoor cameras should be vandal-proof and comply with the ingress prevention standards for particles and moisture (look for IP66 or IP67 ratings) so as to withstand external weather conditions as well as dust and oil.

The top features of retail store security cameras

Whether planning for just one camera or an entire security network, it pays to know what features are available and what their benefits are. This enables you to understand the jargon, put together an initial wish list, and select the most important features you’ll need for your retail security camera system.

Mobile device alerts 

By investing in a retail security camera video management system that offers mobile capabilities provides constant real-time connectivity to camera feeds or online analytics, right on your smartphone or tablet. This feature means security personnel can receive mobile alerts on their phone for irregularities or incidents in the store such as theft, break-ins, or emergencies.

Some providers also offer the ability to update camera controls via mobile apps. This may be useful for large retail sites that deploy PTZ CCTV cameras, so that the user can make adjustments without being tied to a specific workstation. This feature gives valuable instant control and instant response capability to staff who have access to it. In addition, the best systems allow you to manage access from anywhere, at any time.

HD video resolution 

High-resolution footage delivers clarity and greater certainty, especially when fine detail is required for visibility of small objects and observing covert activity, such as pilferage or suspicious transactions.

Not all locations may warrant extremely high-resolution video security cameras but choosing the appropriate video resolution enables you to design custom deployments to meet the specific requirements of each zone or area.

Nighttime operation

Security cameras in retail stores need to be able to record after-hours when stores are empty, too. Infrared (IR) or low-light technology in cameras removes the need to keep in-store lighting on 24/7. It is instrumental in outdoor and perimeter cameras and allows for gradual change from day to night without additional lighting. 

Motion detection 

Using advanced AI analytics, a motion detection feature can significantly improve the efficiency and efficacy of store camera systems. By constantly learning what typical activity looks like in your space, Unusual Motion Detection from Avigilon prevents operators from having to fast-forward through long hours of inactivity or large video data files to find an incident. This type of feature is especially useful for locating footage of after-hours activity when the store is generally empty. 

Lights and alarms can also be connected to the retail camera system to act as a deterrent if intruders are detected, which is highly effective in causing them to withdraw once they know they are on camera.

Unusual Activity Detection (UAD

UAD is a development using advanced AI technology to help detect atypical activities. For example, vehicles or individuals moving fast or appearing in unexpected locations. Systems raise immediate alerts if they capture unusual footage, which can then be used for investigation by security staff or to trigger a lockdown system in place.

Pan-Tilt-Zoom (PTZ)

For indoor retail applications, a fisheye security camera is usually sufficient to provide visibility throughout the store. For larger retail spaces and outdoor applications, a retailer may want to invest in a high-speed PTZ camera. This capability allows a remote operator to pan the camera horizontally, tilt it up and down, and zoom in. The best cameras for outdoor retail locations offer 360-degree PTZ views and powerful zoom, even to a whopping 36x.

Cloud-connected management

IP cameras readily lend themselves to video management systems with cloud capabilities. A fully cloud-based option removes the need for on-premise servers and provides access and control to authorized individuals from anywhere with internet access. However, many on-site management systems also offer cloud-connected solutions to view live and recorded video, and check camera health status remotely. 

Video compression

Video compression means that the size of video files is not the significant factor it once was. Retail security system installers can suggest the best video storage devices for your space, including on-site servers and NVR systems with powerful AI analytics capabilities to improve monitoring.

Add new store security cameras to an existing system

Being able to strengthen an existing retail security camera scheme should be as easy as quickly plugging in feature-rich modern devices that work with the existing infrastructure. One way to retain initial retail cameras but add the latest technology is by leveraging systems with ONVIF as the standard protocol.

Essentially it’s a standard API or connection box” that allows security devices from different vendors to communicate with a central system or each other.

This means that current retail security system elements can be upgraded without rebuilding an entire system or network. In addition, it opens up possibilities to install cameras with new and desirable features, perhaps for custom requirements in specific zones – and helps minimize expenditure to achieve that.

Improving retail store security with analytics

While today’s security cameras for stores offer greater functionality and clearer resolution, some of the most significant advances have been in analytics for retail video management systems.

As IP store camera systems continue to become smarter with analytics technology, owners and managers will have greater amounts of data coming in, requiring tools that allow them to more easily find the information they need. 

Making video recordings searchable, for example, dramatically reduces the time and effort it takes security staff to locate, identify and analyze an incident. 

Using Avigilon’s Appearance Search video analytics operating on retail security camera footage, store operators can more easily locate individuals or vehicles of interest, such as to help find a lost child in a mall. 

AI also helps to zero in on irregular activity, making store security camera systems proactive rather than primarily reactive. It gives store owners and managers more real-time control over protecting the retail environment and its periphery. 

Investing in shopping center video camera security

To maximize ROI and avoid installing inadequate camera equipment, store owners and small business owners will benefit from speaking with retail store security camera installation experts. Experts can use your business’s requirements to recommend the best match in cameras and technology, and deliver optimum security and cost-saving results.

Every store, mall, or shopping center is different, with at least some unique requirements. Addressing specific requirements correctly avoids creating weak spots regarding retail store security camera coverage.

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Our video security experts can help you implement the right security system for your business.