How the CTO of Mike’s Bikes accelerates point-of-sale investigations by 2x with Verkada Helix
with Chris O’Dell, Chief Technology Officer (CTO)
point-of-sale investigations with Helix
Less than 1 week
to fully deploy Helix
NVRs or DVRs required
Home to some of the first mountain bikes in the country, Mike’s Bikes is a family of bike shops with a simple mission: to put as many people on bikes as possible. Today, it is Northern California’s largest bicycle retail chain, employing 250 cycling enthusiasts who provide top-notch service across 13 stores in the San Francisco Bay Area, one repair annex at Stanford, and four new stores in Colorado.
Chris O’Dell joined Mike’s Bikes five years ago as the Chief Technology Officer (CTO). In his role, he ensures that every touchpoint of the customer’s in-store technology experience is seamless. “As a forward-thinking company, we leverage technology wherever we can to drive efficiency and improve shopping experiences.”
Chris estimates that about $50,000 to $100,000 is lost every year due to break-in theft. As he looked for ways to improve security operations, it was apparent that the disparate digital video recorder (DVRs), network video recorders (NVRs), IP cameras and alarm monitoring solutions created inefficiencies and long lead times for investigations.
As Chris evaluated new physical security solutions, he looked for an all-in-one cloud-based system that could simultaneously:
Reduce investigation times. Manually reviewing footage to find a specific incident of transaction often took hours – if not days – to complete.
Optimize business operations. From employee training to scheduling, he needed concrete data to improve customer experience and operational efficiency.
The tipping point came when a thief chose an unconventional method to enter the San Rafael store. “Someone came in through the roof and rappelled down into the store, stole several bikes, and then brought them back up out the skylight. Unfortunately, there’s only so much that intrusion sensors can cover.”
“If I have the opportunity to combine our alarm system vendor with our video security vendor, then I will do it. Verkada has everything we need for security – and packs additional features that drive value to other areas of the business.”
Simple to use and install, Verkada integrates intelligent security devices and APIs behind the powerful and intuitive Command software platform. From the Dome to Fisheye, Chris leverages the benefits of each type of Camera to enhance visibility, while versatile intrusion sensors enable comprehensive Alarms coverage. “We used a pair of Fisheye Cameras with Professional Monitoring to cover the entire roof, while weatherproof Dome Cameras are installed outside where there are no overhangs to protect the hardware.”
He has also opened the door to new possibilities and insights through Helix, Verkada’s video search integration engine. Through Helix, metadata from his point-of-sale (POS) systems feed into Command, making it simple to conduct investigations from a single pane of glass.
“By integrating with our POS system through Helix, we can quickly investigate credit card fraud and validate if test ride procedures are being followed.”
Using Verkada, Chris has successfully:
Accelerated point-of-sale investigations by 2x.
Significantly reduced police dispatch times in recent alarm incidents.
Enabled a smoother test-ride experience for customers and better defense against bad-actors.
Validated test-ride procedural compliance for employee training.
Uncovered actionable insights into customer traffic patterns and staffing efficiency.
Fully deployed Helix in less than 1 week.
Reduce investigation times
Accelerate credit card fraud resolution
“The long-term benefit of Helix is with fraud investigations. Rather than a lengthy and expensive chargeback process, it now takes seconds to dispute chargebacks.”
Chargebacks and fraud losses present Chris with significant challenges, including low win rates and the operational burden of disputing chargebacks. “Every retailer has cases where someone tries to do a chargeback and say a transaction never happened, ‘I was never there, I never got that bike. Before Verkada and Helix, it was difficult to supply proof to the credit card company in order to back up our side of the story.” When he needed to reference a video of a particular transaction, Chris had to look into the point-of-sale and find the timestamp, then scrub through the video from different cameras to find the exact clip at the right angle.
Now with Helix, Chris can easily find the transaction data needed to successfully avoid chargebacks. From a single dashboard, he populates the relevant footage by searching for the transaction ID, then shares the archived clip with the issuing bank. This way, he can quickly identify fraud or refund purchases and stop fraudulent shipments to prevent inventory loss.
“We just search for transaction IDs and the relevant clip surfaces right away. From there, it’s simple to archive and share the footage to dispute and resolve the claim.”
Result: Accelerated point-of-sale investigations by 2x.
Detect and take action against intruders
Chris has installed two fisheyes back-to-back on the same rooftop for comprehensive 360-degree coverage. He has also enabled Verkada’s 24/7 professional monitoring service to use select Verkada Cameras as alarm triggers for after-hours motion.
Chris peppers the store interiors with an integrated suite of intrusion devices – including door and glass break sensors. Through integrated Cameras, he and professional monitoring agents have immediate visibility into alarm events. In the event of a theft, agents can video verify the threat and take action with custom response flows – including police dispatch.
“In terms of the timing of security response, Verkada has been a night and day difference compared to our legacy alarm provider. It comes down to the professional monitoring team being able to instantly see in-store, and tell whether it’s a false alarm or real threat that requires immediate police dispatch.”
Wireless intrusion detection sensors and a cellular backup module ensure that stores are protected even in a power outage. The cameras positioned behind the cash registers retain footage reliably to both cloud-based and local storage, providing the quality and coverage Chris needs to investigate fraud cases. Verkada's integrated approach to security products allows Chris to centralize incident investigation to a single platform and a single vendor. “I would encourage anyone in the market for an alarm or a video security product to consider the benefits of using one vendor versus multiple. Having professional monitoring services able to instantly access video during an ongoing robbery is huge, and not a native integration you will find in other solutions on the market.”
Result: Significantly reduced police dispatch times in recent alarm incidents.
Transform business operations
Validate procedural compliance for test rides
Before Helix, it took a lot of legwork to ensure that proper test ride procedures were being followed. If a customer wishes to test ride a bike above a certain dollar value, managers must:
Ask for the customer’s ID and credit card.
Match the ID with the credit card.
Charge the credit card one penny.
In previous audits, Chris had to run a report on the POS system for pending transactions, find the timestamp, then playback video footage to find the exact clip. “To make matters worse, the legacy systems were limited in their capacity, so sometimes the footage was not available.”
“Now with Helix, it’s easy to search for transaction types in Command to validate that our test ride procedure is being followed. This helps protect from people riding away with expensive demo bikes. ”
Helix enables faster audits for different types of customer interactions at the point-of-sale, including penny transactions for test rides. “Helix brings our POS data into Verkada, so finding video evidence for transactional searches is as effortless as it could be.” Chris discovered that certain stores were not following the proper test ride procedure when no penny transactions appeared in Command for them.
Result: A smoother test-ride experience for customers and better defense against bad-actors.
Optimize product placement and staffing schedules
Chris leverages Verkada’s edge-based video analytics to uncover hidden opportunities to enhance store operations, including occupancy trends to quantify foot traffic around the busiest days and times of day. By displaying Occupancy Trends over time, corporate and regional managers can use the data to estimate foot traffic and measure the performance of a particular location or marketing campaign. This information can be used to optimize staffing and determine the most effective hours of operation.
“I've been able to integrate against the Occupancy Trends API and build some custom reports with the data. Our management team can review and compare traffic levels at different times of day across stores to make intelligent staffing decisions.”
Result: Actionable insight into product placement and staffing efficiency.
Minimize development investment
“Getting our data into Command through Helix is straightforward. The platform is flexible so it’s simple to add any element we want to see. After integrating against the Helix API, the data started flowing in.”
IT resources are constrained, but Chris easily set up Helix in less than a week using Verkada's public API endpoint, which can be generated with any Verkada camera. Chris identified all the elements that the team wanted to populate into Command – including the transaction ID, register number, date of transaction and purchase amount. Once he compiled the dataset, it was just a matter of referencing documentation and integrating against Helix to push the data up at the right interval.
Result: Less than one week to fully deploy Helix.
What’s Next: Expanding beyond security with API integrations
“Helix has sparked the interest of our wider management team, who are already seeing the possibilities and experiencing the added value of the Verkada platform. The fact that we have this new functionality available through an over-the-air update speaks volumes to the return on investment.”
Since deploying Verkada, Chris has received new features and functionalities through automatic updates – including Occupancy Trends. “We've received new functionality that we didn't initially think that we were going to have. That trajectory of product evolution is part of the reason why I selected Verkada.”
As a technology leader and enthusiast, Chris is excited to continue playing with Helix and bringing more data points into Verkada Command. He sees the opportunity to support safety and operations, as well as achieve efficiency at scale as Mike’s Bikes expands nationally.
“The possibilities of Verkada extend beyond security, and the integration with Helix is just one of the data points that prove it.”