Green Technology is a Growing Retail Trend

Sponsored by BSI

Going green is an ongoing retail trend that that has grabbed the attention of retailers across the country. While companies are looking to embrace environmentally friendly solutions such as biodegradable coffee cups and reusable grocery bags, there are also practical and economic reasons to pursue a “greener” organization.

Environmentally conscious products are seemingly everywhere. But we are also seeing similar changes in our company habits as well as our offerings. There is a growing retail trend to switch to energy-efficient lighting and other equipment used throughout the retail environment. Some retailers have switched to using less-toxic cleaning supplies. Bags are often optional. Paper receipts may be replaced with electronically generated alternatives. “Turn it off or turn it down” is more common for registers and other equipment not currently in use…even product packaging is currently being modified to find alternatives that are less elaborate and not as wasteful.

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What is Green Technology?

As the name implies green technology is one that has a “green” purpose. The field of “green technology” encompasses a continuously evolving group of methods and materials that are environmentally friendly; promoting energy efficiency, recycling, safety and health concerns, renewable resources, and more.

One of the best known examples of green technology would be the solar cell. Generating electricity from solar energy means less consumption of fossil fuels, reducing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. But green technology can also involve the use of reusable products. Reusable water bottles provide a simple example, although the opportunities can be much more elaborate and far-reaching. The present expectation is that this field will bring innovation and changes in daily life of similar magnitude to the “information technology” explosion over the last two decades. In these early stages, it is impossible to predict what “green technology” may eventually encompass, and how it may impact retail trends moving forward.

Applications in Loss Prevention

Among the more significant technology expenditures retailers make in today’s business are those required for electronic article surveillance (EAS) and video surveillance systems. Once the decision is made to deploy a technology such as EAS across the entire footprint of a retail chain, the real work begins. It starts with a few necessary steps to ensure the investment will work as planned:

  • Acquiring the capital funds to purchase the systems.
  • Planning and scheduling for any potential disruption to operations during the installation process.
  • Taking into account the cost of installation—floor cuts, electrical requirements, and labor hours.
  • Training the store associates in the proper processes and protocols.

So what happens several years down the line when the EAS technology retailers embraced starts to age and is no longer supported by the original equipment manufacturer? Do they need to start over and replace the worn-out systems with new? How much more do these new systems cost? How does it impact the ROI? What other unforeseen costs are missed? What other budget decisions must be made—or sacrificed to pay for the equipment?

There are, in fact, viable options to extend the life of your technology investments and contribute to environmental sustainability goals. Figuring out when or where it makes sense to revive legacy systems versus investing in new is the key. Retailers have some incredible value-added options today that provide for significant savings while protecting their original investments, along with helping to protect the environment.

Today, retailers have the option of purchasing both private-label and certified pre-owned EAS systems, refurbished tags, as well as engineered video solutions. Refurbished hard tags in particular are a good “green” choice as they have a long shelf life and for the most part do not expire and continue to work with both new and legacy systems.

In addition to procuring this legacy loss prevention technology, there are also opportunities to have existing equipment serviced, maintained, and repaired to extend the life of most legacy technologies and accessories. EAS systems, tags, detachers, and other components can be recycled, repaired and refurbished. Lanyards, cables, wraps, locking T-stands, showcases, and other merchandise protection solutions can be re-used and repurposed. Some video systems and equipment such as domes, fixed cameras, switches, and digital video recorders can be refurbished, replaced, or repaired.

Extending the life of existing infrastructure takes strategic planning, particularly in the budgeting processes. Planning ahead for expenses that could be incurred down the road for service, maintenance, refurbishing and possible replacement of technologies takes time and considerable thought to ensure that the funds are available when needed.

Retail is a competitive industry that requires both flexibility and innovative thinking in order to survive. In loss prevention there is a need to find the most productive solutions coupled with cost-effective and budget-friendly options in order to best support departmental goals and company objectives. Every option must be researched and thoroughly considered when making these investments. When faced with the choice of holding on to original investment or replacing the existing infrastructure with new systems, it’s important to weigh all of our options. There are many tremendous products available that can help us support our businesses and protect company resources, but some of our answers may come in more familiar forms. Think green for all of the right reasons, and make informed decisions when investing in these products.

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