2018 heralds a new year for retailers combatting the ongoing onslaught of theft, but they will have a host of advanced tools at their disposal as fresh technology and improved strategies come into play.
These are the top trends likely to occur in loss prevention in 2018, and how they can arm your store against theft.
Loss still an issue
Although retailers will have better tools to combat theft, loss prevention will still be an ongoing strategy for almost every shopfront. Loss will continue to come in many guises; via employee theft, fraud, organised crime, and random five-finger discounts courtesy of casual shoplifters.
The most recent statistics indicate Australian retailers lose $2.7 billion annually to retail loss, and only those at the forefront of loss prevention remain primed to mitigate its impact. So, here’s what’s likely to occur in 2018…
With its ability to track items from the point of manufacture right through to the point of sale, RFID will continue to experience a rapid rise. That trend is partly due to its loss prevention capability of ascertaining what item is were at what time, but also because RFID is so readily suited to the new-age customer experience.
Retailers like Macy’s are employing RFID to integrate with smart change rooms, inventory tracking, and further customer experiences.
RFID brings advanced analytics, allowing staff to better understand what stock is available, what’s on order and when it will arrive. Combined with heat mapping, it enables management to comprehend what interests a consumer from the moment it attracts their attention right through to the time of purchase.
This data will be crucial for bricks and mortar stores as they seek to understand and cash in on what keeps customers returning to the real-world retail realm.
Top tag tech
Recent years have seen massive improvements in electronic article surveillance tag technology as retailers go above and beyond standard strength tags and embrace those with higher strengths.
New security tags, featuring super-strength magnets or multi-polar tag technology, will continue to roll out across shopfronts. This is partly because the modern thief is becoming savvier with a wealth of information for would-be thieves at their Googling fingertips.
With employee theft accounting for 25% of all retail loss, protecting your stock even behind the counter will continue to be critical in 2018. Increasingly, retailers are turning to cabinet and drawer smart locks to secure their products from employee and general theft.
Smart locks work to reduce theft while also improving customer service by offering swift access to products via a single key that opens all compatible drawers and cabinets. Each key can be coded to only work in specific areas, while they can also track which staff members access a particular cabinet.
CCTV has come on in leaps and bounds in recent years, and will continue to improve in 2018. With digital replacing analogue, newer systems work by turning images and audio into data which can be transmitted over a network or the internet. IP (internet protocol) CCTV, as it’s known, offers the following benefits:
- Higher resolution and video and image quality
- Improved and more advanced file and storage options
- Easier and less time-consuming installation
- Remote access and viewing capabilities
Staff training remains critical
As much as technology is improving, staff training, along with loss prevention systems and procedures, remains a critical weapon in the retail security arsenal. All staff should be screened properly when commencing employment, and then educated regarding customer service protocol.
Statistics continue to indicate that in stores where staff meet and greet clientele, and where bag checks are conducted, retail loss is significantly reduced.
Meanwhile, staff should also be trained in the proper procedure for keeping a watchful eye on the floor, looking out for suspicious behaviour that may well catch thieves in the act or deter them from committing a crime.
Just as staff training plays a crucial role, so too does simple store layout. Items of high value should be kept within sight of staff, while all sections should be free from clutter and clearly visible to staff watching the floor.
The new year will see retailers refreshed and primed for another year on the bricks and mortar front. The art of maximising income will involve embracing new technology to combat loss while using the array of existing tools at their disposal.