It comes as little surprise that high-value goods such as electronics and accessories are among the most targeted items by shoplifters looking for a five-finger discount.
In a challenge for the retailer, these are also items a consumer expects to experience before buying. And in an age when bricks and mortar is competing against an ever-growing online retail realm, offering the chance to touch, feel or hold that watch, phone, iPad or camera gives the real-world retailer a distinct advantage.
So how do you balance security and the customer experience? Do you lock it up, lock it down or is there a way that offers both security and easy access? Here’s an insight into the latest and best ways of securing high-value goods.
Some high-value stats
A recent report indicate theft in Australian electronics stores accounts for 2.06 per cent of all sales in this vertical – a figure far higher than the general retail loss statistic of 1.47 per cent.
It’s also a statistic that is significantly more than the global average where theft in electronic stores generally accounts for 1.92 per cent.
Meanwhile, in 2016, the Global Retail Theft Barometer noted: “…popular consumer electronics products – such as mobile phones, tablets, iPads, laptops, and digital cameras – are soft targets for shoplifters due to their high value. Products that are of high value and are popular are at the maximum risk of being stolen”.
So how to you guard against thieves who target these sought-after goods?
Breaking down barriers
Lockable cabinets have long been a popular method of securing electronics and other items of value, showcasing shiny new must-have items behind the protection of glass.
Great for security, yes, but the challenge became the consumer experience. In order to touch or feel items in a cabinet, a consumer would have to kindly request the assistance of staff, who would then fumble about for the right key before unlocking the cabinet from behind the barrier of the counter.
It took time and effort on both the sale’s associate and consumer’s behalf and could be comfortably classed as off-putting.
So, is there are better way? In short, yes.
A host of new technology is now breaking down that barrier, allowing the experience to be more seamless and more customer-focused than ever before.
It comes in the form of smart locks, secure displays and simple store layout.
Where once the lockable cabinet required a sales associate to go behind the counter and find the right key, now technology ensures opening any drawer, cabinet or display in a retail outlet is almost effortless.
The shift comes courtesy of smart locks like those by InVue. The system allows one key to access multiple cabinets, which reduces the sales associate’s time spent seeking the right key for the right cabinet or drawer. It also minimises the impact of key loss.
Smart keys can be programmed to open one or a series of cabinets. That means a staff member can be permitted to access the areas relevant to them. In some cases that will be an entire store’s worth of drawers and cabinets, in others it might restrict a staff member to an area or department.
Importantly, this plays to real-world retail’s “touch and feel”, customer service strengths. The sales assistant can showcase the product, outline the features and benefits, and walk the customer through how to use a device or item.
As an upside, smart keys and locks also offer greater security, with the automatic ability to change access codes on a regular basis. That means if a key is lost or stolen, access to the store’s high value goods stops at the end of that day or by changing the code. These keys not only access cabinets but can open any spider wrap, drawer or display where an InVue smart lock is fitted.
Importantly, when combined with the InVue Access Manager, smart keys can also track which sales associate accessed what cabinet and when that occurred.
This gives retailers a valuable insight into the popularity of a product while also protecting stock against employee theft.
Whether it’s a watch, an iPad or a smart phone, secure displays for high-value items are an effective way of making a product available for the consumer to touch and feel, while also guarding against theft.
Lockable displays come in a variety of forms, but the principle sees high-value products tethered and locked to a countertop or enclosed in a lockable stand.
This allows high-value items to be on ready display and available to the consumer without the need to call upon sales staff.
They can help customers engage with a product and draw on the benefit of real-word retail where consumers physically interact with an item.
Lockable display ranges like the InVue range come in a suite of different shapes and sizes to suit a range of products – from tablets to phones, watches, wearables, cameras and more.
With a combination of well placed displays and cabinets, the real-world retailer can still secure high-value items and provide an interactive customer experience.
Displays can be positioned to showcase the most popular high-value items directly, while store facing lockable cabinets offer the opportunity for the sales associate to wander the floor accessing stock on demand, quickly and effectively.
No longer is there the barrier of the sales associate positioned behind a counter granting authoritarian access to items at will. Rather, they interact with consumers and use one key, anywhere to have the customer touch, feel and hold that product of value.