Hedgie Bartol, LPQ
Retail Business Development Manager
With 2016 upon us, most everyone is thinking about the New Year's resolutions
they have in place for the upcoming year. The perennially popular resolutions
range from losing weight to getting out of debt.
If you look closely, the resolutions could mirror goals that retailers may want
to consider in 2016, especially as it relates to loss prevention (LP).
Getting in shape could mean running leaner. Getting out of debt could mean
budgeting expenses better. Learning something new could be improving training
programs for staff. Below I've identified what I think are the three most
important retail LP resolutions for 2016 and beyond, and how your organization
can stick to them.
Lose Weight and Get Fit
This is easily the most popular resolution each year, but how does this apply to
your LP initiatives? It doesn't mean to cut staff; after all, people are your
number one asset. This is more a matter of improving operational efficiencies
and running the business better.
So through the modern marvel of migrating to IP-based video, you can lose the
weight of the DVR that you have been shackled to for so many years, thereby
cutting some "fat" from costs associated with the total cost of ownership of
those systems. Just by getting out from under the weight of those proprietary
systems and into the open standards of IP-based surveillance, you will be
operating much more efficiently through the use of video content analytics and
standard communication protocols to integrate solutions.
IP video also gives you the ability to use your staff in the most efficient way
possible. For instance, you have the ability to do more remote investigations as
opposed to forcing your team to waste time and money behind the wheel going from
site to site.
The actionable video from HDTV quality video allows for much faster search of
video and identification of individuals for prosecution and, subsequently,
restitution. So by implementing much of what has been discussed above, you are
able to allow the system/technology to take over many of the tasks for you and
allow your staff to focus on what they do well, instead of searching through
hours of video or simply standing idly by and counting people.
Learn Something New
Of course we can all learn something new each day at the rate that technology is
changing, but you can achieve this New Year's goal by learning something new
specifically about your stores and your business.
Traditionally, retailers have relied on video surveillance systems solely to
mitigate merchandise theft. However, retailers now can access detailed analytics
that not only deter shoplifting, but also drive marketing decisions and enhance
the customer experience.
A comprehensive understanding of customer patterns and trends is a key
ingredient to retail success. Network video analytics rely on queue analysis,
people counting, heat mapping, dwell time assessment and facial recognition to
provide retailers with an automated analysis of customer behaviors, so don't be
afraid to tap into them for more than just LP.
You can also use your surveillance technology to strengthen employee
initiatives, too. You're monitoring your customer behavior and patterns,
correct? Why not apply the same analytical behavior to your employees?
I don't mean in a
"Big Brother" type of way either. I mean in a way that will
actually help them achieve growth and success within your organization and
become fully engaged employees. See which behaviors and interactions result in a
higher sale, or which ones keep checkout lines too long, and manage your staff
accordingly. You'll be empowering them with better intel to do their jobs
successfully and confidently, and ultimately improving your bottom line.
Be a Better Communicator
With all of the technology at our disposal, today's retailers can do amazing
things. However, more open communication between retail staff - especially loss
prevention - and IT is still very much needed.
As these two departments become increasingly intermingled, this silo approach
will only end up costing you. Regardless of where the budgets go, the bottom
line remains the same for both IT and LP - boosting overall operational revenue
for the business as a whole. Both IT and LP divisions have information that can
benefit the other, and the entire organization, so constant communication and
collaboration should be a top priority in 2016.
There are a lot of things retailers can accomplish in 2016, but focusing on the
three items above will have you in a good spot to drive momentum throughout the