How Integrating Video and POS Can Help Retail Save Billions
Ten billion dollars. That’s how much retailers lose every year to customer fraud, employee theft, and operational errors at the point of sale (POS), according to the National Retail Security Survey. Asked what they believe could help combat these losses, retailers responded that POS-video integration may be the answer.
What exactly is POS-video integration? Simply put, it’s a system that allows all POS transaction data to synchronized with recorded video. LP teams can then easily look up suspicious transactions by entering the receipt number, transaction time, or employee I.D., and quickly retrieve corresponding video footage.
The most obvious advantage of an integrated POS-video system over a traditional (“unintegrated”) POS system is in dramatically quicker investigations. Whereas it can take 24 hours to sift through unconnected POS data and video footage, with an integrated system the data becomes available in real time.
An advanced system goes several steps further. For example, exception reporting algorithms will mine data from a POS system and analyze it based on pre-established parameters. When suspicious register activity is detected, the incident is automatically flagged. The system’s “drill down” capabilities allow the investigator to search for other similar or connected incidents, by concentrating on a suspected employee, time of the day, merchandise or other patterns.
To preserve the integrity of the evidence, integrated POS-video systems create a record of who viewed a particular video segment and what action was taken. In one recent case in Georgia, this feature aided in the arrest of a loss prevention manager who tried to tamper with video footage showing him stealing cash from two registers after closing hours. The incident exemplified how an integrated POS-video system raises the bar when it comes to accountability and transparency in LP operations.
There are two common approaches when integrating video and POS systems: (1) text overlay and (2) data capture. With traditional text overlay, POS transaction data is stamped directly onto corresponding video footage. The POS information becomes a permanent, inseparable part of a captured video image, but cannot be retrieved separately as streaming data.
With the data capture approach, a separate database is created for POS-collected information while the video is simply “bookmarked” for specific events. This approach allows for advanced search and retrieval capabilities. It also allows multiple cameras to be connected to one integrated system, so one incident can be viewed from several different angles.
Retailers who have already deployed POS-video integrated systems have reported seeing up to 30% reduction in POS losses. As one retailer observed, such a system not only helps to reduce transactional anomalies, but it is “making employees and customers more honest.” It is safe to say that it is also helping LP teams get the job done quicker and more efficiently.