The practice of Loss Prevention (LP) is growing rapidly among retailersand in a variety of retail operations, from security to business continuity. The same technological advances benefiting retail marketing, merchandising, and operations leaders are also changing the way LP professionals approach their workflows, and are contributing to the management of fraud and other critical business strategies. Following are some of the areas of in-store analytics where we’re seeing significant developments in LP.
Recent advances in video analytics have been remarkable. Cameras alone have increasingly sophisticated features builtin, and computing hardware has gotten cheaper and more powerful—so much so that retailers can easily implement a system to track shoppers’ paths throughout store.
The biggest gains in video analytics are found in the software that integrates with next-generation video surveillance hardware, allowing retailers to aggregate data on every individual shopper’s journey through the store. Moreover, paired with POS systems, LP video data can be easily gathered, analyzed, and investigated on individual transactionsand can even include real-time alerts when a pre-defined transaction is occurring (such as a cash refund above a particular threshold).
Facial recognition technology is here, and its potential for a variety of store operations, from LP to customer experience, is almost unlimited. However, as with any new technology advancement, its implementation is a wide-open frontier, and social norms, much less laws, have yet to be fully defined. Clearly there are many privacy, ethical, and legal ramifications, and societal backlash to some applications can be swift. Retailers will need to carefully test and implement the technology, and ensure that customer come before any use case.
Mobile POS and Mobile Payments
Mobile POS is an important component of the new, best-practice customer experience, and the purchase process is increasingly dictated by shoppers’ preferences. Of course, mobile POS by its very nature is unstructured and dynamic, and brings a new degree of vulnerability to LP and other store operations.
Consumers have been sharing their shopping experiences online for years, not only with social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, but also with location apps like Foursquare.
LP professionals are also tapping into social networks, using them as complementary investigative toolswhile carefully navigating the potentially choppy waters of consumer privacy. Even as social media continues to be tested in the area of loss prevention, it appears to be growing in popularity as a tool among LP professionals.
An Expanding Topic
RetailNext will have a string of LP-related content with which to engage and share as the National Retail Federation’s Loss Prevention Conference & Expo 2014 fast approaches (June 10-13). During the Expo we’ll be at booth #827, so please be sure to stop by and see our most current LP solutions. In addition to some future blog posts, LP will be the topic of our next webinar on May 28th.
For an engaging Q&A on the Loss Prevention, please make plans to attend our upcoming webinar, “Staying One Step Ahead: Adopting Advanced Technology While Optimizing Your LP Investment,” on Wednesday, May 28, from 11:00 am to 12:00 pm PT.