A.C. Moore opened its first arts and crafts store in 1985 in Moorestown, NJ. Today, the national retailer sells an assortment of merchandise in over 130 locations on the Eastern coast. With over 40,000 items offered at each store at any given time, A.C. Moore prides itself on its product selection, value, and service.
As a progressive retailer, A.C. Moore is keen on implementing processes and technologies to keep its stores up to date and its customers happy. So when Steve Werner, director of loss prevention, was brought onboard, he went straight to work on identifying areas to improve processes and refocus resources on the customer experience.
Almost immediately, the process for reviewing cashier transactions came into focus. Store managers would spend over an hour every day reviewing cash register transactions, pointing the loss prevention (LP) team to dubious behaviors or suspicious activities, if they were spotted. Multiplying those labor hours by 365 days and 130 stores led to a lucrative business improvement. While video surveillance would be an asset to his team, Werner knew that an automated POS reporting tool had the potential to significantly reduce shrinkage and generate higher returns on investment for the company.
With the help of IK Systems, Inc., a system integrator with a focus on cutting-edge security technologies based in Rochester, NY, A.C. Moore considered a few options for video surveillance and POS reporting. They inevitably chose the Genetec™ Security Center unified platform, which includes video surveillance, access control, license plate recognition and other business systems within one solution.
Significant Upfront Savings
Apart from the system meeting specific criteria, A.C. Moore was interested in the cloud-based services offered by Genetec, such as the POS Cloud plugin and Federation-as-a-Service—especially after some estimations showed that to host a POS application on premises would require almost $1 million in hardware and licenses, plus ongoing maintenance.
“We started thinking ‘Why do we need all of this?’ The cloud solution proposed by IK Systems and Genetec was a lot less complicated, required a lot less hardware and less maintenance, and the upfront cost and monthly subscription was so minimal that we could move the expense into operational budgets for each store,” said Werner.
While the cloud seemed like the right solution, upper management raised concerns about security. “Getting the buy-in on cloud when everyone is pointing to recent breaches at big-name retailers was not simple. However, Genetec cloud services are built on the Microsoft Azure platform, which comes with impressive security features such as certificates, encryptions and other mechanisms that were put in place to protect our data. Once they understood that, the upfront savings sealed the deal,” said Werner.
“A forward-thinking retailer like A.C. Moore realizes that the way they ran their business yesterday might not be the way they need to run their business moving forward. They understood quickly that the cloud would be a good fit for today and tomorrow,” said Melissa Marcella, chief operating officer at IK Systems.
Genetec POS Cloud Plugin Helps A.C. Moore Focus on What Matters
Today, A.C. Moore has Security Center with the POS Cloud Plugin installed at over 130 stores. Over a dozen stores have been outfitted with Axis Communications IP cameras, each of which are managed from the Omnicast™ video surveillance system within Security Center.
A.C. Moore also implemented Genetec Federation™-as-a-Service to affordably bring all POS data back to its central headquarters, where the LP team now receives all reports and actively monitors all transaction activity. In stores with video cameras, each transaction is linked to corresponding video recordings so operators can quickly see what happened at the cash.
“We’re no longer relying on store supervisors to spot potential theft concerns,” said Werner. “Instead, our trained LP team handles all the data mining and investigations. The business outcome is that we have been able to shift over $1.5 million of in-store yearly labor costs from that manual verification task to on-floor assistance which supports our mission to improve the customer experience.”
The most important report A.C. Moore analysts rely on daily is the master report, which automatically aggregates POS data and then lists cashiers from all of the stores in order of most suspicious transactions. Automated reports and alarms are scheduled to run daily, so analysts know exactly what stores, transactions, cashiers or merchandise to focus their attention on at any given moment.
“The ability to really customize each search, and drill down the information to find specifically what we need has been a unique advantage of the Genetec POS Cloud plugin,” said Werner.
A.C. Moore has numerous loyalty card programs and specialty discounts for staff, teachers, and veterans, and store policies that include one coupon per person. Focused on enhancing the consumer experience, the retailer uses the POS plugin as a tool to educate employees on store policies so they can better service customers and be more effective at their jobs.
“Even if a cashier does not have ill intent, they might accept two coupons for a single purchase to appease a customer. That ultimately leads to margin erosion. In some stores where we started running multiple coupon reports, we saw a 70 percent margin basis point increase on a weekly basis after we addressed the matter. The POS plugin helps our managers train staff and reaffirm store policies,” said Werner.
Expanding the Platform with Increased Business Profitability
Moving forward, A.C. Moore is looking at expanding video surveillance into other key stores, and possibly even move to Stratocast™, a Video-Surveillance-as-a-Service (VSaaS) offering from Genetec. Other business and retail integrations are also being considered.
“Investing in the Genetec platform and the POS Cloud plugin was not just about loss prevention and reducing shrinkage, it was a business investment for A.C. Moore. With Security Center unified platform, we can add integrations such as analytics down the road to keep improving the customer experience. We are committed to this solution and our programs, and glad that we have the right partners on our side,” said Werner.