EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is based on the experiences of a well-known retailer who implemented a facial-recognition security camera system. Because of the potential value of this technology to the retail industry as well as the critical issues surrounding its deployment, the executive who leads this initiative approached the magazine to Read More
Retail security is a term with two very different and distinct meanings in the retail environment. In one aspect, retail security is an outdated and understated term for a critical sales support function. In the early years of the profession, most companies called this aspect of the workforce the “Security” or “Protection” department. Security teams served as a real and visible force to combat losses in the stores. Uniformed guards would stand at the doors or walk the selling floors. Undercover security agents were eventually brought on to catch shoplifters. Security managers coordinated these efforts, and also handled internal theft issues. Programs typically assumed a reactive and one-dimensional approach; responding to issues as they occurred and working to keep the stores safe and secure. Unfortunately, while this reactionary approach was often expected and requested by retail leadership, it was not conducive to true retail success.
Over the years, responsibilities continued to increase, and these departments were looked at in a different way. It became increasingly apparent that in order to benefit the overall organization the industry would have to evolve, embracing the concepts of retail shrink reduction and incorporating concepts critical to the retail culture.
The term loss prevention was cultivated from the philosophical and cultural changes to this approach. It was a means to reflect our evolving strategies to prevent all types of losses while enhancing the retail business plan. The significance was to move beyond the strategic changes; voicing the message that the industry was moving forward and embracing a place as part of the successful business model. Some programs chose to call their programs “Asset Protection” or “Profit Protection,” further emphasizing that their purpose was to protect the entire multitude of assets associated with running the business—and not just responding to retail theft.
Today, retail security more appropriately identifies a form of protection that creates a separation or dissuades vulnerability between retail assets and potential threats to those assets. These separations are generally the various tools, controls, and approaches used to protect vulnerable and valuable retail assets—whether our merchandise, customers, employees, facilities or other assets—by deterring harmful or malicious behavior and/or increasing customer and employee safety.
There are many different types of precautions that retail organizations will take to guard against crimes, losses, and other threats to the business. For example, this might include physical tools such as locks, EAS tags, fire exits, or security caches. It might involve technology such as CCTV video surveillance and various retail alarm systems. It may also include a particular strategy or approach such as the hardening of our facilities, executive protection plans, information protection, or certain aspects of a crisis management strategy.
In addition to the various internal measures implemented to safeguard these resources, retailers will often partner with subject matter experts and solution providers from sources outside of the company that provide these tools or specialize in a particular area of expertise to enhance these security efforts and maintain service and protection. These partners may include public services, but most often involve vendor partners that are contracted to serve the needs of the retail organization.
Effective management of the tools, practices, partnerships, and protection strategies should be integrated into a successful loss prevention plan. A balanced and proactive approach to retail security efforts typically provides the best and most efficient results.
What started out a few years ago as a phenomenon that used social networking sites to gather a group of people in a public place to dance or perform another innocent form of entertainment has since evolved into a method of gathering together violent protesters—or thieves in pursuit of your Read More
Contemporary loss prevention policies in the retail industry are a consequence of the so-called “litigation explosion” that dates back to the early to mid-1980s. Time was when a headlong pursuit through the parking lot and across heavily trafficked public roadways was a way of life. To many, it was exhilarating, Read More
To stand still is to fall behind in the competitive world of retail. So retailers are always searching for new consumers and will typically go wherever they find them. It’s why there is never a shortage of news, such as word recently that Bloomingdale’s will be expanding into Kuwait.
But long Read More
Do you typically conduct a pilot study or otherwise test new technologies or security systems for retail stores before rolling them out? According to a survey by SDR/LPM, loss prevention executives are more likely than security counterparts in other industries to believe that a pilot study or field test is Read More
Risk amplification is but one part of the jigsaw that must be put together to control losses in retail stores. Making would-be offenders feel that there is an elevated risk of being caught is an important piece of the jigsaw, and a 2016 report from the ECR Community’s Shrinkage and Read More
There have been several lawsuits in the news recently focusing attention on long-simmering complaints about the treatment of minorities by large retailers. What can organizations do to avoid claims of racial profiling in retail stores?
To start, retailers should have clearly defined and articulated policies against racial profiling and demonstrate zero Read More
Consider this. Restaurant security programs require monetary output for potential safety measures, such as buying and installing CCTV cameras or implementing access systems. Such programs also demand an investment of time and effort on the part of the entire organization for activities, such as training security guards or involving multiple Read More
The 21st century posed a major conundrum for the retailers: how to fight online competition and improve brick-and-mortar store performance, and how to increase retail foot traffic without compromising store security and safety measures.
However, increasing the number of customers results in a heavier workload for loss prevention teams, which makes Read More
Retail organizations have been using surveillance video as a valuable tool to combat shrinkage, which can account for more than 1.38 percent of retail sales for some US organizations, according to the National Retail Security Survey. Shrink rates are the result of increased shoplifting, employee fraud and organized retail crime, Read More