Success Story

How Canadian Tire gains complete visibility with Solink

October 12, 2023

Table of Contents

“Solink is like the best video game in the world! I keep it open all day using the Video Wall."


  • Previous DVR-based security system took a lot of time and caused a lot of frustration.
  • No way to know basic retail metrics such as conversion rates.
  • It’s hard to see everything that is happening across a large retail footprint.


  • Greg Honour no longer dreads police evidence requests because videos can be saved and shared in minutes intuitively, without all the frustration of DIY security systems.
  • Solink’s integration with Hanwha security cameras allows for people counting, so Canadian Tire knows their conversion rates.
  • Solink’s Video Wall feature displays 13 crucial security camera feeds on a dedicated monitor, so anything amiss can be noticed and actioned immediately.

Table of Contents

The Client:
Canadian Tire

Canadian Tire has been one of the most iconic retailers in Canada for over a century. They operate large retail stores that specialize in DIY equipment, tools, outdoor hobbies, household items, and sporting goods. Many Canadian Tire stores also have automotive shops and gas stations. There are currently more than 500 Canadian Tire stores across Canada.

Greg Honour, the Owner of Canadian Tire Caledonia, has been using Solink for about two years. He recently met with the Solink Team to discuss how he is using the platform to monitor his business.

Greg and his family outside their anadian Tire store

The Challenge:
Gain complete visibility over the operations of a large retail footprint

Traditional DVRs are often little more than security theater. They give the illusion that you can monitor your location, but the paired app is not user friendly, and it can be hard to extract needed footage when law enforcement makes a request. 

“When the average owner thinks about a camera system, the first word that pops in their head is probably ‘frustration.’ If the police come to you for video footage, it makes most owners or managers cringe because they know that's going to take them an hour. Anytime you're trying to get footage from one of those systems, you need a PhD to figure it out. Ease of use is really important. What Solink offers is ease of access through the web browser or mobile app.”

Many retailers only know the number of people who made a purchase and count that as their customer base. However, each person who enters the business is a potential sale, and not knowing that number makes it difficult to know whether changes, from merchandising decisions to staff training changes, are improving conversions. 

“Most retailers look at those who bought something and call them our customers. If there were 800 sales, then we had 800 customers yesterday. I always laugh because we probably had 1,500 people come in the store but only 800 purchased something, right?”

Another issue that arises from traditional DVRs is that the difficult to use platforms lead to less general oversight. In addition to issues when sharing videos with law enforcement, it can be hard to use them for monitoring. 

“The problem with most DVR-based systems, even if they have a web client, is that they are clunky. The mobile version is incredibly clunky too. My DVR was hooked up to one monitor, which was the only access point, and anytime the power went out, it had to be reset and you couldn't access it. If you bought your system five or eight years ago, it also hasn’t seen an update. There is no new feature or added ROI.”


  • Instead of a working relationship with law enforcement, many owners including Greg Honour often dread a request for evidence. That’s because it can take hours to find the needed video footage, including multiple angles, and give it to the police.
  • Brick and mortar retail has historically found it difficult to calculate their conversion rates. In fact, most measure sales metrics based on converted customers and not total number of visitors, which makes it impossible to test changes to store layout, product selection, and customer service tactics for their impact on revenue.
  • The first step in solving problems is always identifying them, but with a traditional DVR security system there are always gaps in the information, which means even easily solvable problems sometimes remain unaddressed.

Greg Honour, like many Solink customers, was looking for a cloud-based video surveillance solution that could grow with his business. He wanted the functionality that comes with a modern system, but, just as importantly, he was looking for a company that was committed to providing more ROI in the future with a robust development roadmap.  

“Most Canadian Tires are using a basic DVR and whatever camera models that came with it. I wanted something with higher functionality, I wanted something more modern, and I wanted something that I knew would continue to develop. Not only did Solink come in at a fair price, you also integrated what we had. Solink had the promise of new features that I was looking forward to.”

Canadian Tire Caledonia had three generations of security cameras connected to a DVR system. An added benefit of choosing Solink was that we could source replacements for Canadian Tire’s oldest security cameras at a competitive price while integrating with all of their other cameras.

“We had three generations of cameras. We ripped out the older two and have continued to use the more modern ones. Solink was able to leverage those cameras and link them to the platform. That was a nice cost-saving measure for people whose hardware isn't too old.”

View all of your retail locations remotely in one easy to use platform with Solink

For Greg Honour, Solink has removed the frustration from his video surveillance system. This is giving him back hours to do other things. Easier and faster access to his security cameras also means they are being used in new ways.

“Everything I need is there and it’s so easy to do. Solink really removes the frustration without much expense, and that's really the key. Less frustration equals more time to do other things.”

Solink integrates with the built-in analytics and people counting system available in some Hanwha security cameras. The installation of a new camera has completely changed the way Canadian Tire Caledonia measures conversions and sales. 

“Solink does reporting so well. I wanted to track actual conversion in my store. Shawna Rioux (Director of Sales) and Ariane Harper (Customer Success Manager) worked with me to create a good solution. I now have a good idea of how many people enter my store and actually buy something. That’s so much better than before when I only knew about the people who had a transaction at the register. At this point, our cameras are almost more about the analytics to me and less about the theft. Conversion is such a fascinating metric. For retail, it's a really important one because it answers two questions. Do we have the items customers need? If so, are our employees doing a good job helping customers find them?”

Solink continues to add new features and products to drive even more ROI for customers. A recent release included Video Wall. This makes the Solink platform a security control room monitor. Now, Greg Honour can keep his most important camera feeds showing all day on a dedicated monitor. This makes it easier to react in real time to potential threats or opportunities.

“I was so excited for Video Wall to come out. It was maybe the one feature for retail that I felt Solink was missing. You could always view six camera feeds at a time and rotate through them, but Video Wall gives me a heads-up display. I now have my most important cameras on a dedicated monitor all the time. Video Wall is perfect.”

The Result:
Reduced risks, fewer threats, greater understanding of the business

Greg Honour has learned some surprising things about his business now that he has 24/7 monitoring through Solink Video Alarms. In one case, he discovered that there were a lot of animals coming up to his building and causing a mess. Solink was able to pinpoint why the animals were coming by, so they could remedy the situation.

“We went through a phase where we had a possum, a raccoon, a rabbit, and a cat. We had these shelters in the back and our team had put a pallet of Halloween candy out there, so the reason we had this petting zoo was because they were all going at different times and eating the candy. It was a massacre of chocolate bars out there. You wouldn't believe it. We laughed and then got rid of the candy. It was such an easy fix, but without Solink we wouldn’t have even known the problem exists. The situational awareness that comes from ‘eyes in the sky’ is crucial.”

There have also been more serious incidents identified, and overall the rate of occurrences has decreased now that Canadian Tire is following up with the police.

“We've also caught a lot of people doing nefarious things out there at night, and Solink Video Alarms helps notify the police. We’ve had people looking through our garbage to steal defective product returns, taking things off the front sidewalk or from the garden center, and other pesky things. But we haven't seen anyone out there in probably two months. The awareness of when people are showing up and our ability to contact law enforcement helps reduce these incidents.”

With Solink Video Wall always on screen in his office, Greg Honour can react to more things in real time. Now, his security cameras are there for more than loss prevention.

“We have a lot more situational awareness now. If I see a person behaving suspiciously, I can radio down, and say, ‘hey, can someone go ask that person if they need help?’ If someone looks lost, I can do the same and have someone lead them to the products they need.”

With conversion data in mind, Canadian Tire Caledonia has started to increase the number of SKUs they carry, as well as make changes to their customer service style. Since they can track their conversion trends with people counting, management can review data to see whether the changes are working.

“Solink crushes it with data analytics and business intelligence. With your conversion data, I can start to look at why someone didn’t buy anything. Whether the item isn't in stock, we don’t carry it, they couldn’t find it, or no staff member engaged with them. With conversion data, we’ve pushed our inventory up from 34,000 SKUs to 48,000 SKUs. We're adding a lot of variety here because it looks like that is what people want and need. We're trying to do a better job of teaching our team to find every item and help people do the same. I want our security cameras to be able to prove that story, or disprove it. Real conversion rates allow me to evaluate these strategies. Going forward, tracking actual conversions is really important for all physical retailers.”

Solink prides itself on being the best at customer service. We aim to be partners in the growth of every customer’s business. For Canadian Tire, this shows from the installation through to answering questions in the in-app chat feature.

“One of Solink’s superpowers is a wonderful Support Team. When I need help. It's either through Ariane Harper (Customer Success Manager) or Shawna Rioux (Director of Sales). Whether it’s through the chat feature or email, I know who I need to speak to and the responses are quick. It’s clear Solink takes pride in their customer service and it shines through. I’ve worked with other multinationals down to local providers, and once the contract is signed you can’t get a hold of them. Even during the third-party installation, Ariane was calling to check in on how things were progressing.”

In Canadian Tire’s words

"Solink Video Alarms are honestly the best feature. That tops my value list."

“Customer Success, Customer Support, Ariane Harper (Customer Success Manager) is just there to answer every question and solve every problem I've had, and that's the beauty of Solink’s customer service. I don't have to guess where I go. I can flow everything through Ariane. She always either finds the answer or gets me in touch with the right person."

“I've had multiple emails from Ariane Harper (Customer Success Manager) saying, ‘hey, this camera hasn't been working for a week, did you know that?’ It's nice to know she's back there at Solink, caring about it for me.”

Canadian Tire’s three favorite features

Video Alarms

Solink Video Alarms Monitoring is better, cheaper, and easier to deploy than traditional panel alarms. Video alarms use your existing security cameras as an alarm system. Unlike panel alarms, which only protect doors and windows, video alarms protect entire areas. Individual areas can be turned on and off separately with one-click controls, so the backdoor can be secured while your business is still open for business. In partnership with trained professionals, we verify every event before dispatching emergency responders. This leads to faster response times when necessary while avoiding unnecessary dispatches and hefty false alarm fines.

People Counting

Solink brings new data analytics to brick and mortar businesses by measuring foot traffic into and out of your establishment. By drawing virtual tripwires across entranceways and unlocking the power of AI, your security cameras can count the number of visitors to your business. Use people counting and data from your POS to measure conversion rates, the average value of visitors, and other metrics. Drive business decisions from staffing to merchandising with this new information.

Video Wall

Solink Video Wall turns the platform into a heads-up display for your Security Operation Center (SOC). Adjust the number of cameras displayed at once, make the POS camera screen larger, rotate through all of your camera feeds, or select a particularly important feed to always be on the display. Video Wall helps businesses monitor their entire location in real time.

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Timothy Warelinked in icon email icon

Timothy Ware is Solink’s Content Manager. He brings over ten years of writing and editing experience to the job. When he isn’t writing about security, loss prevention, and asset protection, he’s enjoying his newest board game. His work has appeared on many B2B SaaS websites including Baremetrics, Security Today, TeamPassword, Cova, and SignTime.