Sponsored by Checkpoint Systems
It’s conference season—the time of year when loss prevention executives get to touch and admire the latest advances in new loss prevention technology. But whether you’re thinking of adopting an untested solution or a reliable theft prevention workhorse, the capability of the product is only one part of the equation. Successfully integrating theft prevention tools into an LP operation, and getting system users to squeeze out full value, are equally critical components of a successful LP solution.
And it’s not an easy task. A successful loss prevention project roll-out at one retailer doesn’t guarantee success for another. Indeed, even a solution that shines in some of a retailer’s stores may fail to deliver value in others. The fact is, when it comes to LP success, it’s not possible to simply cut and paste.
“There is not one set of best practices for everybody,” said Stuart Rosenthal, vice president of sales and marketing for Checkpoint Systems, a leader in merchandise availability solutions for retail, including EAS and RFID systems. “The key is to develop a best practice for a specific retailer.”
The company works with dozens of the top 100 retailers—and it uses that experience to spread efficiencies from one client to another—but it does so with an eye on each retailer’s unique operation. “What you look at is developing consistency: identify the best solution that fits their operation, and then extend it consistently across the organization,” he explained. “The success of any LP program, especially product protection, is store buy-in and the extent to which they are consistently using the product and applying the solution correctly.”
For LP executives, then, assessing a prospective vendor’s technology is only step one. Reviewing the company’s ability to test products, train staff, and be a consultative partner is just as essential. What’s necessary is a provider that will not just supply technology—but make the technology work for you.
“The question we ask is, ‘How do we make it executable and maximize efficiency for that retailer?” said Rosenthal. “We don’t go in and suggest they need to do things differently. We look at their overall individual operations, and we create best practices that are unique for them.”
Checkpoint Systems partners with customers to forge those unique best-practice procedures in light of how they do business. In the case of EAS, for example, that will mean examining whether stores do re-tagging in a back room or on the sales floor. Recycling product is another area for which retailers should develop a best practice, and Checkpoint consults with clients to identify procedures that are customized and effective for its store operation. Consultation is equally important to develop effective tagging guidelines, identifying where tags should be located on different items to simplify and speed the removal of tags by cashiers at the point-of-sale.
Client consultation is at the heart of a holistic approach that serves as the foundation to Checkpoint’s Alpha solutions to reduce theft, maximize merchandise availability, and improve ROI. It includes a product “playbook,” which helps retailers form a sort of merchandise protection standard, by identifying which of the dozens of theft prevention options are suitable for a specific product. It includes instructional sheets for each product launch to communicate specific operational features. And it features unrivaled options to field test products to identify the best solution for a retailer’s specific challenges and to optimize the value the retailer gets from it. In addition to functioning as an effective tool of management persuasion, field tests can help eliminate bugs from a project, indicate ways to improve it before an enterprise-wide roll-out, and may even yield surprising results, which can stop LP executives from investing in the wrong theft prevention solution.
Checkpoint’s beyond-technology approach also includes training, so that solutions that work in a test deliver value in stores. “It’s a problem out there in the industry,” said Rosenthal. “Providers have to work with the customers when introducing a new solution in their environment. The best way to be successful at implementation is to ensure that everyone is trained in how it works.” Checkpoint offers a range of options for clients to fit the size, capabilities, and goals of the retailer, including train-the-trainer programs, training webinars, customized training videos, and in-store 1-on-1 training. Instead of leaving it to retailers, Checkpoint sees a responsibility to take some of the burden off them. “We want clients to be successful, so we’re out there in the stores doing training to ensure they are,” said Rosenthal. “You can’t just throw something in and expect to see positive results.”
It’s easy to be enamored with technology solutions, but LP teams need to look for providers that don’t just have the right product-but that are also the right partner. It’s why, despite Checkpoint’s array of proven solutions, the company sees fostering great relationships as a cornerstone to its business success. “We make a concerted effort to engage with retailers and store personnel, so that we build trust and share more information, which helps us create additional operational efficiencies and identify things we could do better,” said Rosenthal. “It’s all about fostering great relationships.”