Retail's Loss Prevention Superheroes to the Rescue
Over the past several months, I've been writing a series of posts about retail Superheroes. With NRF Protect less than a month away, I wanted to turn my attention to the Loss Prevention/Asset Protection team (LP).
As retailers mature along the analytics/technology adoption curve, the applications for Loss Prevention and Asset Protection continue to expand. And, the beauty of this evolution is that one of the easiest ways to bring down cross-departmental silos is to share the investment across functional areas.
How does this work? Well, many in-store analytics innovations center around the use of a) video for customer measurement, and b) beacons/RFID/and Wi-Fi for the understanding of product movement and interaction with other assets in the store. When you start to combine these capabilities, not only are there endless use cases for better understanding the shopper experience in your stores, but it also becomes easier and more automated to understand if product and people are doing what they are supposed to be doing!
A simple example is the integration of RFID and video. With the evolving innovations in RFID readers, it is now possible to see the real-time movement of product in-store, with the video capability to confirm if the movement is related to customer sales or to fraud. Imagine selling a $100 jacket. Through RFID tagging, you may see the item at the register, but the point of sale log shows a $10 T-shirt being sold. Without the integration of the RFID and the associated video, you would not be able to pinpoint your investigation to easily pull the video and understand what happened at the register.
A second example is the ability to easily and systematically tie point of sale activity to video. This is valuable for speeding investigations of associates who are exception activity outliers, allowing you to easily see video associated with post-void or no-sale transactions, as well as capabilities extend your ability to pinpoint problems with analytics like "cash return no customer present." Imagine walking into your office every day (or even better, seeing this information on a mobile device as soon as it happens) and being able to pull the video from all POS activity that didn't have a customer present. You would be a superhero for sure!
The superhero framework I outlined previously focuses on four keys to success. In my experience, I have found the LP/AP teams to be the most collaborative and, in many cases, the most innovative folks in their organizations, which makes for a perfect superhero combination!
Highlight the easy wins
Evolve over time
Operationalize new metrics
So, for the LP professional, this is what I think makes a superhero.
Highlight the easy wins. With a very small investment, you can have advanced video management and POS exception reporting with integrated video up and running very quickly. Our customers have found that this reduces investigation time considerably and highlights areas of opportunity or risk almost immediately.
Evolve over time. Once your organization has an analytics platform, you can start layering in additional functionality that reduces shrink and saves time. One of the easiest integrations is security alerts with video. And of course, the example I outlined earlier outlines the ultimate application - having the ability to systematically know when your product is being sweet-hearted or outright stolen.
Realize ROI. One of the most solid ROI stories for in-store analytics is an easy-to-tell ROI story. Even by leveraging the same platform for simple applications like traffic counting and loss prevention, you can get state-of-the-art capability for a fraction of the cost of buying two disparate point solution systems. And, when you take the total cost of ownership from an installation, service and support perspective, the savings and ROI continue to grow.
Operationalize new metrics. Finally, across the landscape, retail professionals are working hard to keep up with today's new realities, and the teams charged with protecting store assets and people are no exception. Part of the evolution of retail will be the creation of new metrics that reflect these changing realities. I believe this will happen across all departments and the teams that embrace the change and evolve how they measure success will continue to grow as superheroes indeed.
As we venture towards the middle of the selling year, I encourage you to think about your own role and your organization and how you are moving them towards superhero status. Unsure of where to start? Visit RetailNext at NRF Protect June 14-16!
About the author:
Bridget Johns-Pavlopoulos, Head of Marketing, RetailNext