Convenience stores are a valuable “forgotten market” for many systems integrators and installers, justifying greater focus says IDIS, South Korea’s largest in-country surveillance manufacturer.
Although the overall contract value for a single store will be less than for a multi-site retail project, the spending-per-store is often higher, says IDIS – particularly where family-owned businesses are concerned. IDIS estimates there are approximately 100,000 British independent retailers and more than 400,000 across EU member states, with many in need of CCTV upgrades as they look to tackle violence and aggression against staff, customer theft, and fraud.
In the UK alone, the combined annual spend on security among convenience stores – including franchises and buyer groups, as well as independents – was recently estimated at almost £250m (ACS Crime Report 2022). Of this, the highest proportion was spent on security staff. But, outside of big brand supermarket-owned stores, most family-run and independent businesses do not employ security officers; for them, video surveillance is the most important investment because it allows staff to multi-task and maintain vigilance.
IDIS cites one recent upgrade at British, family-run suburban store that included 28 of its 5MP IR dome cameras, four 5MP bullet cameras with SD card failover; PoE switches; installation accessories; a 32-channel NVR recorder; two specialist display monitors; and its cost-free video management software (VMS).
Another example – proving that these are not ‘budget’ contracts – is a Belgian family-owned-and-managed DIY store that deployed a high-performance solution that comprised 20 UHD fisheye cameras providing complete domain awareness across the store to tackle shrink, and domes covering cash desks to detect fraudulent activity. The owner also wanted car park coverage using a range of bullets and domes, with a view to adopting license plate recognition. With all the cameras connected to a 64-channel NVR, the system is managed by scalable, enterprise-class VMS.
“Our experience in this sector is that while customers want good value, they aren’t looking for cut-price systems,” says James Min, Managing Director, IDIS Europe. “Buyers are typically owner-managers who see video as a key investment for their businesses, and something to be proud of, so they want high-quality equipment that’s quick to install and guaranteed to work well for years, while offering a futureproof infrastructure.”
He adds that, typically, businesses in the sector are also well networked and will share supplier recommendations: “We’re seeing that our systems integrators who do a good job are likely to get maintenance and follow-on contracts, particularly since the vast majority of independent retailers are outside of city centres, and tend to look for a proven, local professional security partner they can trust.”
IDIS says it’s worth more integrators getting to know this market, focusing on their local communities, particularly as store owners often belong to local business groups and associations where they share best practice and recommendations.
Convenience store managers are also often self-taught experts when it comes to getting the most from their camera systems; they place particular value on real-time surveillance and want live monitoring tools that are easy to use while they, and their small staff teams, are multi-tasking. While high quality evidence capture is important, video is often used in these settings to track suspects, camera-by-camera, so that they can be challenged before they leave – or after they have left – either to return stolen items or to pay for them.
Increasingly, independent store owners are also taking advantage of mobile monitoring apps which allow them to keep an eye on their stores while they are elsewhere.
“IDIS is working systems integrators to give these practised video users exactly what they want – high-definition coverage of their complete stores, including the most vulnerable locations at the ends of aisles, and the ability to track suspect movements seamlessly in real time,” adds James Min.