- Regulatory deadlines for returns difficult to meet due to manual video searching
- Difficult to attribute revenue to online promotions
- Time-consuming daily backing up of video to keep required 30 days of footage
- Regulatory requirements for returns are now found in minutes
- Behavior analysis allows segmenting customers who come in specifically for the sales they see online
- Solink automatically stores 30 days of video footage with cloud backup
Aaron Zgud is the Chief Executive Officer of Canada Buds. He owns two cannabis dispensaries in Southern Ontario. The first was opened in November 2020 in Burlington, and the second is in St. Catharines.
The cannabis industry is highly regulated in Canada. It is also a relatively new market. This combination makes it important for retailers to gather as much information as possible, both for security and for finding business opportunities.
Canada Buds’ camera system provided too little data, and it took too long to find needed video clips
Aaron intended from the start to use Solink but waited a few months to sign up while he was getting his retail location operational. It wasn’t until being faced with finding specific videos of product returns that Aaron and the team at Canada Buds realized how much they needed Solink’s video analytics.
"We knew we wanted to go with Solink because it would save us a lot of time. We spent the first four months we were open going back through the video footage on our own. When we had a return on one of our purchases, finding that information without Solink took a long time.”
- The AGCO (Alcohol and Tobacco Commission of Ontario, which oversees the cannabis industry) requires return claims to be made within five days. It took hours to find video evidence of returns to make these claims.
- Canada Buds was spending money advertising sales online but had no way to know if people coming in saw the ads or whether the ads were increasing foot traffic.
- The regulations require cannabis dispensaries to maintain 30 days of video footage. The low storage capacity of Canada Buds’ security cameras required them to spend time daily backing up the footage.
Aaron’s parents were QSR franchise owners over 20 years ago. Back then, they understood the value of video surveillance, but the tools were primitive by today’s standards.
He knew that Solink brings a lot of value, especially because the product integrated with the cameras already in his establishment. In fact, Canada Buds zeroed in on Solink from the start and after spending hours viewing video footage to find returns, Aaron was ready to make the move.
The events-based reporting function was the first feature that caught his attention.
Solink helps Canada Buds save time finding specific events and backing up video footage
Cannabis dispensaries are highly regulated in Ontario. Any returns need to be submitted to the AGCO within five days. Finding, clipping, and submitting the video footage for those events went from a whole day project to something that could be done in 30 minutes with Solink.
“You only have five days to get all the information to the AGCO. Once we started using Solink, it saved us a lot of time finding that information. What normally would take hours ended up taking maybe half an hour.”
Canada Buds uses their website to advertise promotions going on in their store. However, it was difficult to attribute revenue to these promotions. With Solink, Aaron can watch videos and see the customers who go directly to the POS, ask for the promotion product, and make the purchase. Thanks to Solink, he knows that those customers have seen the sale online and it enticed them to come in.
He can even see what kind of sales, on what days, attract the most customers.
“You can really tell by their body language. If they come in and go directly to the point of sale and ask for something specifically from the promotion, Solink makes that clear for us to see. If they are coming in because they looked online and want that specific product, it's really easy to verify that with the video footage attached to that invoice.”
Prior to using Solink, Canada Buds was plugging USB sticks into their cameras to back up video footage daily. The cameras just couldn’t store the legally required 30 days of footage. Solink does this all automatically—on site and in the cloud. That’s one less item to check on the daily to do list.
“The AGCO requires 30 days, and that wasn’t something that was easy to do with the system we had before. I was basically having to back it up every day because it takes a lot of storage space to have that much footage.”
Solink makes regulatory compliance easy, revenue attribution possible, and is now helping to reorganize store floor plans
Canada Buds chose Solink to help with time-consuming regulatory requirements. Submitting returns to the AGCO and backing up footage were taking too much time.
From there, Aaron was able to utilize Solink’s events-based reporting function to attribute revenue to online promotions.
Then he started to use the heat maps feature in Solink in a really innovative way—to design the floor plan of his new shop and reorganize product placement.
Here it is in his own words:
“Using the heat maps, we were able to tell, when people came into the stores, where they were clustering and spending most of their time. We found the way that we placed some of our products resulted in people missing some really great products. People were gravitating towards the back corner, which is furthest away. At the beginning, the display closest to the entrance, where people felt less comfortable going, was where we put the best products. So we ended up moving those products to where everybody gathered. And then, by actually looking at the heat map, you could tell that it forced people to spread out. That was one of the most surprising benefits of Solink.”
Canada Bud’s three favorite features
Aaron uses many of the features offered by Solink. He uses events-based reporting to trackdown returns and for 30-day on-site storage and cloud backup to meet regulatory requirements.
However, like most Solink customers, he has found himself checking in on the app daily and using a lot more features than he originally intended.
Heat maps give you amazing insight into how customers flow through your business. Placing the right products at the right place on the floor has never been easier.
Events-based reporting allows you to search for videos that meet specific criteria. For example, you can find all videos attached to discounted invoices or returns.
On the one hand, you can find employees who might be abusing their discount. On the other hand, you can see which employees are really helping customers and upselling them with more products.
Motion search eliminates the need to fast forward through hours of video footage. Solink automatically shows you all video clips in an area of interest where there is movement.