Loss Prevention/Asset Protection (LP/AP) teams have many responsibilities, but safety has always been at the top of the list. Unfortunately, incidents involving active shooters, in-store altercations and Organized Retail Crime (ORC), continue to require retailers to be laser-focused on safety in their respective stores.
Beth Bergmann and I sat down on the Telaid Tech Connect podcast and spoke about all things loss prevention. Specifically, I took the time to emphasize the importance of technology in helping LP/AP teams ensure safety for employees, customers and other guests. By exploring how emerging technologies play a role in creating safer environments, it’s possible to consider other cutting-edge use cases and expand the role retail technologies play in achieving other LP/AP objectives.
Technologies are protecting employees from dangerous confrontations – Technology is enabling retailers to remove their employees and shoppers from the point of conflict. The significance of this achievement is enormous, because by deploying loss-preventing technologies, retailers can reduce the number of incidents that trigger employee and shopper reactions that can put them in danger. For example, Gatekeeper Systems offers the Purchek™ solution, which causes the wheels on shopping carts to automatically lock when a cartload of stolen merchandise attempts to exit without first passing through a working checkout lane. The carts simply lock in place, making it much more difficult for the would-be thief to push the cart full of stolen merchandise out the doors. At the same time, this technology stops the loss without an employee confronting, chasing or tackling the thief, which could result in bodily harm or escalating violence. By using technology to stop loss, retailers reduce the opportunity for escalation and human interventions that can be devastating.
Integrated technologies deliver better information, sooner – In the past, LP/AP teams have relied on disparate technologies to serve up alerts, exceptions and alarms. This created a deluge of information and potential events to investigate. Today, retailers are urging vendors to harmonize their solutions, integrate technologies and serve up dashboards that deliver meaningful insights. For example, one retailer received notification that threats of violence had been identified on social media against one of their stores. That individual was identified and flagged by their Video Management System (VMS) based on face-matching technology provided by FaceFirst. When the suspect entered the store, the store manager received an immediate alert on his phone and called 911. The suspect was apprehended by police without incident. LP/AP teams could take immediate action to escort that individual from the store, avoiding a potentially life-threatening event. Integrated technology solutions deliver better information, faster.
Collaborative investments provide access to more solutions – It’s no secret that LP/AP departments are sometimes viewed as a cost center in retail and, when things get tight, their budget is often the first to go. This is changing, however, due to the fact that previously siloed technologies like access control and video now deliver troves of valuable insight to departments across retail including marketing, merchandising, operations and customer service. By collaborating with other departments, LP/AP teams can successfully share the expense and ultimately access more technologies to help them do their jobs. Even technologies that previously had nothing to do with LP/AP, such as public view monitors displaying information and instructions, can help industry professionals deliver safer environments by providing information and clear directives. Internal politics can be a challenge, but partnering is more critical than ever.