Auror hosted its Connect Conference on Wednesday, March 9, for customers and partners, showcasing the progress the company has made, and the success stories of retailers using the platform. Auror Vice President of Retail Partnerships Bobby Haskins said that attendees represented 50,000 retail users and 1,200 law enforcement agencies total.
The two-hour conference started with opening remarks from Auror CEO Phil Thomson, where he thanked everyone for taking a chance on a couple of “crazy Kiwis” after they dreamed up the concept of Auror 10 years ago.
“From the very beginning, we saw that police were a critical part of working together to fight crime, and we wanted to digitize and improve that relationship,” Thomson said.
Now, there are 12,500 stores worldwide using Auror, and 17,000 law enforcement officers.
Haskins then took the virtual stage with Walmart Senior Director of Asset Protection Operations Joshua Ridgeway to discuss how the mega retailer is leveraging Auror to navigate its unique challenges, and the learning moments experienced while rolling out the platform.
“We’ve been able to change the conversation with operations by showing them how the customers are suffering, and how the customers are victims of ORC, and doors have been opened because of that,” Ridgeway said. “Crime is now actually decreasing in Walmart, despite an increase across other retailers.”
Next, Auror Vice President of Partnerships and Innovation Andrew Kouimanis discussed perspectives from Australia with Coles General Manager of Profit Protection and Service Sophie Wong and Coles National Security Manager Austin Craddock.
“Our success is very much reliant on the Auror network, and a critical component of the network is our ability to secure enough support from law enforcement, which Auror makes easier,” Wong said.
The session focused on the evolution of ORC, and how loss prevention teams need to advance their technology to fight back.
“People are getting smarter, so we need to get a lot smarter to deal with these ORC networks who have now learned about retail’s capabilities,” Craddock said. “Evolving networks is definitely a current challenge we’re seeing with Australian ORC.”
“It takes a network to defeat a network,” replied Kouimanis—an idea that would be echoed many times throughout the conference.
Auror Customer Success Specialist Jon Briegel then shared Auror’s product roadmap for the next 12 months.
“ORC is constantly changing and evolving, and Auror is the company proud to evolve with it,” Briegel said.
Personalized mobile notifications, automatic dot connection and digital case building, and license plate recognition were just a few of the features users have to look forward to.
To close out the event, Auror Regional Director of Australia and New Zealand Kaye Harding announced the winners of the company’s new and improved Global Supreme Hero Awards.
Austin Craddock of Coles was named the Auror Champion for leading the charge in fighting ORC not only in Australia, but globally.
For Best Cross-Retailer Collaboration, recognizing two organizations that came together to solve a problem, there were three pairs nominated: Coles and Woolworth’s, Big W and Woolworth’s, and Walmart and ORCAs. Coles and Woolworth’s were selected as the ultimate winners.
“Coles is one of Australia’s most trusted retailers—they’re customer obsessed, using technology like Auror to build smarter stores that customers can rely on. But most importantly, they care about the safety of staff and customers,” Harding said. “Woolworth’s has been innovative since they began; they’re led by their process of creating better processes for a better tomorrow. Coles and Woolworth’s were nominated for the arrest of South Australia’s most prolific shoplifter, who was often using threatening behavior towards sales staff. Coles and Woolworth’s were able to effectively collaborate with police and put a stop to this offender that had been hurting their business and others for decades.”
Five pairs were nominated for Best Police and Retail Collaboration. Combined, the nominees have seen police outcomes of more than $1 million.
Ulta and United States Law Enforcement were nominated for trailblazing collaboration; the Detroit Police, FBI, and Dollar Tree for putting a prolific offender behind bars; New Zealand Police and Countdown for the major bust of an ORC group; Coles and the South Wales Police for putting a crime ring to a halt; and United States Law Enforcement and Lululemon were nominated for shared intelligence paying dividends.
Ulta and US Law Enforcement were announced as the winners: “Ulta has been a leader in the industry for over 40 years, and they dominate customer experience,” Harding said. “They have a huge focus on technology to enhance the customer experience. Actively sharing intelligence with more than 115 law enforcement agencies in the US, they collaborated to resolve a case that resulted in the arrest of 41 individuals.”
The fourth and final Supreme Hero Award was for Retailer of the Year, and The Warehouse Group, Coles, Walmart, Bunnings Warehouse, and Ulta were all nominated. The category was so tough, Harding said, that the judges gave recognition to Bunnings Warehouse as the highly commended winner, while Walmart was the overall winner.
“Walmart is the world’s largest retailer,” Harding said. “They have always been customer focsed and established as the primary destination for customers. Walmart positions the strength of its workforce and its people as a large credit to its success. Seeing both customers and staff as keys to success, Auror and Walmart were a natural partnership. They were our largest rollout to date, and we did it together in only six weeks.”
Reflecting on the event afterwards, Bobby Haskins said, “My biggest takeaway from Auror Connect is that our partners across the globe are building a massive movement against retail crime. Our partners shared how this movement isn’t about case or incident management, but it’s the shift to proactive crime intelligence that’s protecting their stores, people, and the communities they serve.”