It’s the start of a new year and a new decade, a time when businesses take stock of where they are and what they intend to achieve in the months to come.
For retailers, a critical area, as always, is loss prevention. Retail continued to change in 2019 and will only do so more rapidly in 2020, which means loss prevention professionals will need to make key business decisions on how to leverage their technology budgets. This also will require vendor partners to be flexible and creative with their solutions, how they are deployed, and even which budget they can be paid out off.
New retail models bring new risks
Take BOPIS (buy online, pick up in-store). BOPIS is pegged as one of those “retail trends to watch in 2020.” According to a recent survey, 93 per cent of consumers were looking to order online and pick up in store this past holiday season for the speed and convenience.
With every change in how consumers can complete a purchase comes a fresh set of loss prevention risks for the retailer.
“How do you handle customers who don’t have the right ID to pick-up orders? Or what about allowing people to designate who will pick-up a package? Are you going to use a store pick-up code?”Lisa Brock, national director of investigations at Best Buy, said to Loss Prevention Magazine earlier in 2019.
Part of the solution is to have that pick-up counter under video surveillance.
Organized retail crime impacting your profitability
Battling organized retail crime (ORC) also continues to be a challenge for retailers heading into 2020. In the U.S. National Retail Federation’s annual ORC report released in December, 68 per cent of those surveyed reported an increase in ORC over the past year.
In one scenario, merchandise is stolen while it’s en route from a distribution centre. It will then be “returned” for store credit, usually in the form of gift cards. Those cards are then sold for cash.
If Solink was part of this logistics operation, the business would have been notified of the missing items as soon as they did not arrive at the store they were intended for, then the items based on the SKU or serial number could have been blacklisted from ‘no receipt return’ at stores based on geography.
According to the report, the top strategies to combat ORC include changing return policies, changing point-of-sale policies, improving employee screening and adjusting how trespassing is handled. Equally important, of course, is having a visual record of those refund transactions at the POS that may involve stolen goods.
And while it may be a new year, retailers of all stripes continue to suffer from the same old loss and shrinkage problems:
- Shoplifting: Average dollar loss per incident continues to hold steady despite security measures such as cameras and digitized tags that set off alarms.
- Employee theft: Internal or employee theft accounts for half of all retail shrinkage. It may be show up in the inventory, or in a cash drawer that keeps coming up short.
- Administrative error: This includes simple pricing mistakes, as well as poor record keeping and inventory management.
- Vendor fraud: This arises in those cases where outside vendors are trusted to come into the store to restock inventory.
What can you do?
Video surveillance can prove a useful deterrent, source of evidence or staff training resource in all the following scenarios:
- Customer identity problems at the BOPIS counter
- Theft of a delivery left on the loading dock
- A break-in
- Theft at the POS by an employee who is issuing bogus refunds
- A customer refunding stolen goods
- Cash disappearing from the back office
We could go on, but you get the idea. Regardless of the situation, the perpetrator is banking on one thing – not getting caught. They operate on the hope that they will not be seen, or at least, not be seen well enough to be identified and tied to the crime.
Investing in the right digital eyes
With many legacy video surveillance systems, perpetrators often didn’t have to worry, even if they passed square through the frame. That’s why it is so important to equip your business with a modern, intelligent and data-driven video surveillance system.
Modern video surveillance technology integrates the latest digital camera technology with a data management platform and a mobile app. Features like region mapping and search functions that allow hours of video to be screened for specific red flags in a matter of seconds combine with the ability to integrate with other software systems used in the business –staff scheduling, POS or inventory. With this technology, retailers can be far more proactive, and not just reactive, when it comes to loss prevention.
Is 2020 the year for your business to invest in new loss prevention technology?