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The Role of Virtual Guard Solutions in Retail Security

In the ever-changing landscape of retail, security concerns cast a long shadow. From the persistent issue of internal theft to the menacing threat of external burglaries, retailers are grappling with many challenges that undermine their financial health and the safety of their employees and customers. Traditional security measures, once stalwarts, now seem inadequate. However, the arrival of innovative AI-driven virtual guard solutions promises a paradigm shift in the fight against retail crime. Let us delve into how these virtual guard security solutions can effectively address these challenges and pave the way for a brighter future of retail security.

The Challenges Facing Retailers

  1. Internal Theft: Internal theft is pervasive in the retail industry, leading to significant financial losses. According to recent statistics, 75 percent of employees admitted to stealing from their employers at least once, and 37.5 percent of employees have stolen at least twice. This is putting immense pressure on retailers to implement adequate security measures. 
  2. External Theft: Robberies and burglaries pose a constant threat to retail establishments, jeopardizing the safety of employees and customers while causing substantial property damage and monetary loss. In 2022, shoplifting losses grew 19.4 percent year-over-year; as a share of retail sales dollars, losses to theft increased 10.5 percent. The increase in these incidents underscores the urgent need for robust security solutions. 
  3. Vandalism: Vandalism within the premises or in parking lots can tarnish a retailer’s reputation and deter customers from visiting their stores. According to the US Small Business Administration, a single incident of vandalism costs, on average, $3,370. We have all seen news stories where a single event can easily cost a retailer ten times that number. So, the costs associated with repairing damage and lost revenue can quickly add up, making vandalism a significant concern for retailers. 
  4. False Alarms: False alarms are a nuisance and a drain on resources, with retailers often facing hefty charges and fees for unnecessary police responses. The prevalence of false alarms highlights the shortcomings of traditional alarm systems and the need for more sophisticated security solutions. With many cities instituting escalated fees to businesses for false alarms, a retailer with several locations can quickly incur charges in the tens of thousands of dollars.
  5. Loitering: Vagrant populations may loiter on a retailer’s property or, worse, establish homeless encampments on site. Loitering or encampments may encourage illegal behaviors, such as drug use, theft, and vandalism. In addition to being an unattractive nuisance, these activities may threaten the safety of employees, customers, or guests. It certainly affects sales as customers sense a risky situation and keep driving. 

Complications in Addressing Security Issues

Despite recognizing the importance of security, retailers encounter several obstacles in effectively addressing these challenges:

  • Vintage Alarms: Current alarm systems often trigger false calls due to automatic triggers or fail to provide accurate information, leading to unnecessary charges and disruptions.
  • Lack of Alert System: Many video surveillance systems lack an alert system capable of detecting suspicious activity in real-time, making it difficult for retailers to respond promptly to security threats.
  • Costly Guard Services: Traditional guard services are expensive and may not always deliver the desired level of security due to human limitations in detection and response capabilities.

How Virtual Guard Solutions Can Help

Virtual guard solutions offer a comprehensive approach to retail security, addressing the limitations of traditional security measures.

- Digital Partner -

Virtual guard services complement existing security measures by leveraging current cameras and filling gaps in guard services. Through visual verification of alarms and virtual walkarounds of your business, they can provide 24/7 surveillance and response capabilities, ensuring maximum security coverage at a fraction of the cost of traditional guard services.

Next-generation autonomous devices revolutionize perimeter security by detecting loitering and unwanted visitors in real-time. These advanced devices provide an additional layer of protection, improving the overall security posture of retail establishments.

Benefits of Virtual Guard Solutions

Implementing virtual guard solutions offers a multitude of benefits for retailers:

  • Reduced Expenses: By replacing or supplementing traditional guard services, retailers can significantly reduce expenses related to security personnel, loss from theft and vandalism, insurance premiums, and charges for false alarms.
  • Faster Police Response: With accurate alarm verification and real-time incident reporting, virtual guard solutions enable faster police response times, ensuring swift resolution of security incidents.
  • Less Liability Risk: By minimizing reliance on human guards, retailers can reduce the risk of liability associated with accidents or lawsuits, safeguarding their reputation and fiscal interests.
  • Increased Safety: Enhanced security measures translate to increased safety for employees and customers, fostering a secure and welcoming environment that promotes business growth and customer loyalty.

To Wrap It Up

Security is paramount in an increasingly volatile retail environment. Virtual guard solutions offer a cost-effective and efficient means of addressing security challenges, protecting retailers’ assets, and ensuring the safety of their employees and customers. By embracing innovation and investing in virtual guard technology, retailers can stay ahead of the curve and create a secure environment conducive to business success.

Rosemary Leonard is the co-founder and president of Combination Security Solutions (CSS). With over three decades of retail industry experience, she brings a wealth of knowledge and valued expertise to the table. Rosemary has forged a reputation as one of the most trusted advisors regarding leading security solutions, emerging technologies, and best practices. She has a proven track record of success, from strategic planning to seamless implementations and outstanding customer service. She can be reached at Rosemary Leonard

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