CCTV, in its most basic form, is traditionally known as a tool for capturing thieves in action. And whilst it does deter and identify criminals, it is actually a formidable tool in far more ways than meets the eye – particularly within the garden centre industry.
In fact, intuitive camera systems – when used properly – can be a powerful system for boosting profits, protecting the bottom line and preventing injury claims. And with the additional emerging threat of Covid-19, it can also be used to alert staff to potential carriers of the virus.
It is widely known that the garden centre sector is a difficult one to trade in. With cash and products being exchanged, and internal and external areas to monitor, it has always been a target of theft.
That’s why we have a disproportionately large number of clients within the industry – we have installed CCTV and access systems in many garden centres in the North of the UK, so we have a deep understanding of the challenges faced, and the opportunities that arise, from the installation of monitoring technology.
Firstly, and most obviously, is the loss of stock out-of-hours. Outside areas are a common target for theft, but with the installation of cameras, the threat of robbery is often dramatically reduced.
There is also the reduction in pilfering. Often, stock is lost due to customers shoplifting one or two items and paying for the rest. It can also be caused by staff, who take stock home to plant in their own gardens. With the installation of well-placed CCTV, the opportunity for such theft is dramatically cut. Our experience tells us the best place to install cameras, to ensure all areas are covered at the lowest cost to clients.
CCTV can also be used to identify thieves before they enter the building. License plate recognition (LPR) cameras can scan number plates on entry to the car park and alert staff to known shoplifters arriving, so that a security guard can screen them, or staff can pay extra attention to them.
Health and safety compliance is another common reason for CCTV installation. The ability to watch accidents by reviewing recorded incidents can be the difference between having a large insurance claim or none at all. It is often all-too-easy for self-inflicted slips or trips to turn into accident claims, but with HD, 24-hour camera monitoring, retailers can deny fault, and limit claims against them. On the flipside, it can also help to pinpoint areas for improvement in health and safety assessments.
CCTV heat mapping is where the technology starts to come into its own. Able to identify traffic flow, CCTV systems with analytics can provide intuitive reporting on footfall, helping to recognise the most profitable products and peak hours, which drive better, well-informed business decisions. Using this information, directors are able to ascertain optimum staffing levels, product purchasing choices and placement.
With the introduction of temperature-monitoring cameras, some CCTV systems are now also able to quickly identify persons at risk of carrying Covid-19, helping staff to decide whether to allow them entry into the facilities. This knowledge has the potential to safeguard staff, and protect the bottom line, as fewer employees will require self-isolation or sick leave.
The customer experience isn’t affected by this process, as each person who enters doesn’t require individual testing, and there’s no lag in entry, as the system can test up to 30 people simultaneously. Only if someone is identified as a risk, will the customer notice any difference in their shopping experience at all.
Upon alert, retailers can then decide if they’d like to conduct a further level of testing, with the introduction of a handheld temperature monitor, carried out by a member of staff from a safe distance. Touchless access and exit buttons are also available, reducing the threat of infection spreading even further.
These measures, which would have seemed unthinkable just a few short months ago, now seem inevitable for the garden centre sector – which has a predominantly older customer base.
For those who take the pandemic risk seriously, and want to be viewed as doing so, the decision to invest in such technology, is almost an easy one.
When it comes to ‘traditional’ CCTV, the return on investment is often recouped in a few short months, but when it comes to Covid-19, the payback is even shorter, particularly considering the goodwill gained from the community.
And for those who realise the benefits of a powerful CCTV system, but don’t want to outlay the investment, leasing options are available.
View our full range of Covid-19 CCTV products available here.