Video Surveillance for Car Dealerships: 6 Focus Areas
If you’re the owner or manager of a car dealership, then a few things take precedence in terms of running your business.
Chief among them are maintaining profit margins and creating customer satisfaction—not that these two are mutually exclusive. Because you need to stay in business by ensuring return business.
Pictured above is a 180 degree IP/Megapixel camera, great for monitoring car lots.
Obviously, you want to prevent theft of vehicles and vehicle parts, but don’t forget about customers and employees—they need attention also.
And video surveillance for car dealerships should never be thought of as the end-all be-all. Please use your security cameras and video surveillance system in conjunction with personnel, especially security guards, and other security functions such as alarms.
The first thing you’ll want to do if you’re considering adding to your current video surveillance system at your car dealership is to establish a baseline of information. Know what your rate of crime is currently such as theft, vandalism, or even break-ins. And don’t disregard shrinkage due to things such as employee theft.
Know the rate of customers who enter a lot and leave without being helped. Do you know how long they wait before being greeted by a salesperson? Know these patterns before you install your new system.
The reason why is that you want to be able to track how well your new system is doing in preventing theft and vandalism, for instance, while increasing attention to customers on the lot—all with an aim in increase profit margins.
Today, we’ll talk about six main things to monitor with your security cameras at your dealership. They are vehicles, parts and other inventory, employees, customers, visitors such as deliveries and conditions such as ice, slippery spots in the showroom, etc.
1. Vehicles. These can comprise up to millions of dollars worth of inventory on your lot and are most often outside and vulnerable. It goes without saying that these need to be monitored.
Security camera placement is important. You need to be able to see the whole lot, inside service areas, inside the showroom, etc. A security systems expert will help you in terms of placement.
Outdoor cameras that monitor lots need to be weather and vandal proof. They can be placed in housings that not only protect them, but actually heat them also.
Although we’re talking about vehicles here, we’ll mention remote viewing and network cameras now, even though they apply when viewing the other categories mentioned above, not just cars.
IP cameras (internet protocol) can be placed on a network and viewed from the internet remotely. Remote video monitoring allows owners and management the ability to not only observe passively, but to train and take construction action from a distance.
2. Parts and inventory. We’re sure you have a great deal of trust in your employees, but having cameras present in stock rooms, at retail counters and in other places where parts are stored—especially valuable metals such as copper—helps reduce shrinkage.
It also provides a preventive measure against shoplifters in your shops. Another obvious benefit is to be able to capture burglars on video who break-in when the dealership is closed.
3. Employees. Although we already alluded to monitoring employees above when discussing parts and inventory, it would benefit a dealership to view other employees as well.
Service areas can be studied to ensure the highest efficiency with regards to service technicians—especially their adherence to safety standards—and other service staff who deal with customers.
Salespeople can be trained on how to cover the showroom and lot.
4. Customers. This is an important category. Video analytics, software that provides valuable information, can be used to measure how many customers viewed a certain car, what section of the lot is being visited most or least, how many people enter the showroom, etc.
Studying these trends not only helps with employee placement, but also with vehicle placement.
Video can work in conjunction with an audio system to inform customers that the lot is closing for the night. It can even issue stern warnings to those who may have ill intent after hours.
It’s not only theft of the vehicles themselves, but of precious metals and their parts that entice thieves. And this audible warning would work wonders with vandals who are on the lot with bad intentions as well.
5. Deliveries. If your security cameras are positioned properly and if you have remote video monitoring, you can ensure that a delivery happened when it was supposed to have. You can make sure that the proper merchandise was exchanged.
6. Conditions. Use video to ensure that no ice is forming on the lot or in common areas such as the entryway. Protect yourself by having images of the conditions of the floors digitally stored if someone tries to bring a bogus slip and fall lawsuit against you.
As we mentioned earlier, security cameras don’t have to exist in a vacuum. They can be used to alert guards that an intruder is on the lot after hours, for instance.
An alert can be sent to a guard’s mobile device and she can be deployed to the incident wile she is already out on the grounds. She doesn’t have to be sitting in a control room and be expected to actually see the intruder on a monitor by happenstance.
Again, the aforementioned video analytics can automatically alert the guard on patrol by use of virtual perimeters, for example.
Besides video analytics, talk to your security expert about the different types of cameras you’ll need. We’ve mentioned IP, weather proof, vandal proof and remote access. You’ll want to explore low light and infrared cameras also, as well as those that pan tilt and zoom.
Even better, ask about 180° cameras to view your lot and 360° cameras for your showroom service area. Why miss out on capturing vital goings on because your field of view was limited?
We hope you’ve picked up a few things to bring up when you meet with a security systems integrator, and of course we’re sure there was plenty you already knew as well!