There is no doubt that the retail industry is changing at a relentless pace.
Our high street stores are facing unprecedented pressure from online pure play competitors and even their own online stores, so much so that, following 2018’s Black Friday sales, it was reported that high street retailers recorded their quietest trading period since the financial crash. This highlights that to survive in this changing market landscape, retailers’ high street presence must be prioritised.
The outlook in 2019 doesn’t look any more promising, with one in four British shoppers suggesting they will abandon the high street by 2021. This has led bricks and mortar stores to wise up to the fact that consumers are now demanding a more immersive and obstacle-free shopping experience. It is therefore crucial that this year retailers begin deploying flexible and reliable tools which can help to reduce their costs, improve in-store sales and give customers that same immersive experience they are finding online.
Overcoming cybersecurity concerns
At Morphean, we believe the answer to improving the retail customer experience going forward lies in the cloud, specifically Video Surveillance as a Service (VSaaS). The cloud is tried and tested and is trusted for business-critical applications. Cloud services play a central role in the way businesses operate in today’s world, with solutions such as Microsoft Office 365 helping us to work more collaboratively, and tools such as Skype helping us communicate more effectively. Innovative technology such as VSaaS can also help to deliver on many of the needs of the modern retailer to support them in remaining competitive. The problem has been that, until now, the fear of cybersecurity attacks has held back adoption. This appears to be changing.
According to an independent survey that was recently commissioned by Morphean of 1,500 IT decision-makers in the UK, France and Germany, nearly 24% reported the principal reason for moving services to the cloud was that it actually offered better security options – only slightly less than cost-effectiveness and the ability to collaborate. This has shown how the cloud has matured and proved itself as a reliable, cost-effective and secure technology. It is now widely accepted that it is much safer and more efficient to store data in secure, off-site data centres than it is to manage and secure an on-site data centre.
Every cloud has a silver lining
The cloud isn’t just enhancing security; there is much more to it than that. Retailers are beginning to discover its operational benefits too, and they are loving the results. 92% of retail respondents already use cloud applications to support business growth while 33% of their IT budgets have gone to cloud solutions in the past two years. In addition, 91% of respondents were possibly or definitely considering moving physical security technology, such as video surveillance and access control, to the cloud. Interestingly, 96% also felt it was important or very important that their physical security solutions meet their overall business objectives.
This shows that the case for VSaaS is particularly strong for retail in 2019. For example, using in-store surveillance systems to identify changes in customer habits and behaviours and optimise staff resources is incredibly powerful and can help to re-engage high-street shoppers. Beyond the real-time benefits, collecting this data enables retailers to predict future patterns and use effective marketing techniques to maximise the opportunity to engage with customers.
Today’s cloud-based software solutions will help retailers embrace the full power of big data, driven by the Internet of Things, helping them utilise surveillance data beyond physical security. VSaaS gives retailers the opportunity to overcome new challenges by making use of the increased amount of data hosted in the cloud and analysed by machine learning. Actionable video is delivering actionable data.
Everything about the history of cloud applications suggests that the migration of services which are not yet commonly based in the cloud will be rapid once the underlying technology proves itself reliable and able to deliver the competitive edge businesses are looking for. The onus going forward is now on system integrators and installers to understand the cloud platforms available to them and help end customers reap the benefits on offer.
Segment Lead - Retail
With over 25 years in retail with a variety of major brands including Dixons, HMV, Fopp, Morrisons and formerly in the UK Police Force. Andy has a wealth of retail experience and will take responsibility for ensuring that Morphean strengthen their position, improving physical security of retailers