A different picture of CCTV

Published 21 July 2008

U.K. company says technology, in addition to providing security, can also analyze customer behavior and lead to increase in sales

Retailers need security devices such as CCTV to deter shoplifters and protect their bottom line. Middleton-based ID Technology Group tells its customers that they can use the systems to increase sales as well. Managing director Andy Gillies said security and surveillance technology is being increasingly used as a tool to analyze staff and customer behavior, producing intelligence which helps retailers to present goods more effectively. Movement sensors in some security cameras can pick up when shoppers are in a certain area and activate multimedia displays, which market directly to the customer. “What we provide isn’t just video — it could be compiling pure data on how many people were in a store in the last hour, what area of the store people go to and even how long they look at certain displays,” Gillies told Crain’s Manchester Business’s Joanne Birtwistle. The company installs and maintains CCTV cameras, retail security tags and barriers, as well as access control technology.

Around 75 percent of its clients are in retail, including TK Maxx and Laura Ashley, with 10 percent in casinos and the remainder a variety of commercial businesses and hospitals. “A lot of our customers in retail can’t get the cost base of their products cheaper, they can only really diversify what they sell within the store,” said Gillies. “We are seeing our customers focusing on their losses and using that as a profit generator.” CCTV, though, has other uses. “Let’s say the tagging gates go off in store. We want to make sure that staff are firstly approaching that member of the public, but also that they are doing it in the right way and not putting their well-being into danger,” said Gillies. “It’s a positive thing - and a useful training tool, it’s not just for covert surveillance to catch people taking money out of the till.”

Clothing retailer Flannels, headquartered in Trafford Park, has more than ten shops across the country. It uses CCTV for security purposes but not to monitor footfall, sales or areas of customer interest. “We prefer to use human beings, we find them committed to the task and superior,” said managing director Neil Prosser. ID Technoloy’s parent company ID Support Services was sold to private equity firm Penta Capital Partners earlier this month. It bought a 60 percent stake in a deal valuing the company at around £25 million. As well as ID Technology Group, which had a turnover of £13.1 million in 2007, forecast to rise to £14.7 million in 2008, IDSS also includes Doncaster-based GK Industrial, which specialises in air conditioning. The company’s main competitors are Chubb and ADT.