While maintaining store safety and reducing shrink will always be the core focus of retail security solutions and loss prevention teams, these solutions have evolved in a way that can better support retailers’ goals of increased business intelligence and positive customer experiences. When retailers strategically integrate these technologies with store operations, they can achieve a higher store performance and ROI that spans beyond the loss prevention team.
In today’s dynamic retail environment, radio frequency identification (RFID) technology is adding value in a big way. In fact, some retailers acknowledge that RFID and its impact on accuracy of inventory is a key to success from a business operations and customer relations perspective. In some use cases, RFID can provide nearly 100 percent inventory accuracy and the ability to pinpoint the location of merchandise. RFID handheld readers can be used almost like Geiger counters to find misplaced inventory in the store. This results in significant time savings when fulfilling web orders from store inventory or supporting buy online pick-up in-store (BOPIS) and makes RFID-enabled inventory the foundation for a successful omni-channel strategy.
Enabling Omni-channel Commerce
By combining RFID-enabled inventory and source tagging re-circulation programs with smarter, more sophisticated electronic article surveillance (EAS), retailers gain real-time insight into everything from what is available to sell via online and in-store channels to how much is needed on the shelf. The strategic implementation of these technologies together—versus thinking of them as separate solutions to solve only security challenges—better equips retailers to maintain accurate inventory and enables efficient and effective omni-channel execution, resulting in overall improved customer experience. Cross-functional coordination between loss prevention, e-commerce, operations, merchandising, and information technology teams is an essential best practice
Providing a Smart Shopping Experience in the Dressing Room
Beyond the strategic deployment of traditional security technologies, RFID-enabled technologies are helping retailers balance costs while meeting today’s customer expectations. For example, fitting rooms can be equipped with in-room digital displays that read the RFID-tagged merchandise customers bring into the space. The system can now alert sales associates as to what items are in the dressing room, so they can offer suggestions or provide additional products based on complementary items. Retailers’ mobile apps may also be able to provide size availability to customers in the fitting room. Additionally, on the LP side, this technology can send notifications when multiple sizes of the same item have been taken into fitting rooms, alerting sales associates to theft potential.
Empowering Sales Associates
Since customers are connected to information in real-time, it only makes sense to have store associates connected as well to help guide the shopping experience. When associates have mobile access to real-time inventory data, there is no longer the need to leave to check the backroom. Instead, associates are empowered like never before to quickly and effectively answer customers’ item-level inventory questions. Additionally, tablets can help the business organize and manage all in-store customer and product requests, capturing associate-level interaction data for use in performance analysis.
As technology leaders, we have an opportunity to innovate and help retailers think beyond the traditional ROI they look for in physical security and loss prevention solutions. The increased value of an integrated security solution in an omni-channel retail environment is the data and insight it provides across all levels of the business to strengthen operations and retail performance, improve profitability, and personalize the customer experience.