The Retail Council of Canada (RCC) hosted its annual Loss Prevention Forum Tuesday, April 12, through a virtual format. The Forum explored the latest strategies and retail tactics to better protect people, property, and assets.
“Our loss prevention community here at RCC is a very tight-knit group, so it’s especially important to see you all come together today, especially to be able to share best practices, learn from each other, and improve our practices throughout the retail industry,” said RCC President and CEO Diane Brisebois in her opening remarks.
Though the Forum was virtual, attendees could privately video chat with others through the conference site, and there were dedicated breaks throughout the day for networking.
Looking at the Evolution of Loss Prevention
The first session of the Forum, “This is Where Loss Prevention Evolves,” featured RCC Executive Advisor for Loss Prevention and Risk Management Rui Rodrigues and Aritzia Vice President of Loss Prevention Chris Strongman. They discussed moving from loss prevention to an enterprise risk management model, and how the evolution of retail commerce has created new pressure points and risks that retail leaders need to mitigate, including the rising priority of cybersecurity.
“Even with the incredible growth in our e-commerce, two-thirds of our revenue is still realized in our brick-and-mortar operations, so we still need a very strong LP team,” Strongman said while explaining Aritzia’s transition to an enterprise risk management model. “We’ve had to look for talent with a much more varied skillset than the existing team we had, but our existing roster has also been very excited about the new scope we’re taking on, and they have been continuing their own education.”
Mitigating the Creative Deception of Professional Fraudsters
Next, Canada Post Security Fusion Centre Director Rita Estwick and Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre Acting Officer in Charge Guy-Paul Larocque discussed “Mitigating the Creative Deception of Professional Fraudsters in Retail.”
Estwick and Larocque touched on what you need to watch for with impending return fraud, cryptocurrency red flags, how retailers can mitigate gift card fraud, and what retailers can do collectively to address these challenges and provide resources and actionable tips for gift card fraud mitigation.
“We often forget that while we may have a loss resulting from some type of fraud, two reports may be tied to another five or eight and it becomes much broader, and you highlight the critical role we play as the loss prevention team,” Estwick said.
The Impact of Changing In-store Experiences
Director of Loss Prevention for Sephora Canada Calandra Guiry, National Director of Asset Protection and Health and Safety for Staples Canada Paul Trickett, and RCC Senior Retail Advisor Michael LeBlanc then took the virtual stage to explore “The Impact of Changing In-store Experiences.”
This session looked at how retailers are responding to in-store innovations such as mobile and self-checkouts, and changing health and safety measures.
“We still do pre-screening before people enter the building . . . we make sure if a client is more comfortable with staff wearing a mask during their service, that happens,” Guiry explained. “We’re making sure everyone is feeling safe coming into our stores during this time.”
“It’s been a journey,” Trickett said. “We were on a journey with our teams and customers right from the get-go, and we had to pivot pretty quickly. We had some stores that remained open pretty much throughout the whole pandemic with reduced hours, but eventually we were mandated to close stores. We learned early on that customers, because of what we sold and a lot of businesses pivoting to working remote, they were looking for us to set up their in-house office, so we had to pivot pretty quickly to serve our customers all across Canada.”
Other highlights of the Forum included a RCC Loss Prevention Task Force update; a session on working smarter with LP tech; and advancing collaboration on organized retail crime in Canada.