Watch Trends to Plan for the Future

Nobody can predict the future. We can look backward and at the present. We can hear about and see certain things that are already unfolding. But it is important to think and plan for the future.

You’re the Resident Expert: Part II

In the last issue of LP Magazine, I wrote about how you need to understand your company’s total retail enterprise and how that plays into security and loss prevention. Your company also needs you and your team to be watching and thinking bout the future. Tactically, we should be looking at data and talking to people about current and evolving violence, fraud, and theft incidents and trends. We should know where new stores are planned to open, new high-value merchandise we plan to carry, new operational processes, and so forth. We need this information to assess necessary protective action.

You should also be thinking a little about strategic issues—about how your organization and similar businesses are evolving what and how they sell and operate. What macro challenges lie ahead? Demographics, crime trends, buying habits, illegal selling sites, and methods should all be examined periodically.

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Broad Trends

Skimming over LinkedIn articles and retail magazines can help us all stay a little more up to speed. There are a lot of people paying close attention to shoppers and their wants, needs, and behavior. Loss prevention and asset protection professionals should strive to include a little retail 101 and future trending updates in their monthly routines. How retail will be structured and delivered will absolutely drive what needs to be protected and from what threats. We already see some meaningful emerging patterns.

Personalization. Online selling provides very personalized selling and selection. Brick-and-mortar stores are following this pattern. Retailers want to instantly know who is in their stores and what they typically want and buy. Better trained staff, and of course smarter technologies, will continue to enhance the in-store experience for shoppers to maximize sales and loyalty.

In-Store Tactics and Technologies. Shoppers expect retailers to continue to help them more quickly find what they want and what else they might want. Technology and signage is being used to guide shoppers to primary and allied merchandise. Of course, easier and quicker checkout is being addressed via store design, technologies, and training. And security technologies and alert, trained staff can make any store visit better and a little safer from the parking lot to the store and back.

Fulfillment. Shoppers expect very fast, reliable, and low-cost product delivery. Multiple options (omni-channel) are already here and growing and present a lot of improvement opportunities.

Loyalty. One-time or occasional sales to customers are not what a retailer wants with most of their core shoppers. Longer-term relationships, where the retailer is the customers’ first thought, is the goal. So gamification, digital responses, and a little more personal attention in the store by engaged associates are the goals.

There are more trends and changes happening or getting ready to happen, but the point is for us to look at our environments and the macro space around us—whether cyber, social, or built—and look to anticipate and adjust planning and action to head off and curtail upcoming problems.

We invite you to consider joining in with our Loss Prevention Research Council (LPRC) Future of LP working group by contacting operations (at) lpresearch (dot) org. The team is made up of executives from leading retailers and solution partners. They have monthly calls and webinars and take field trips to innovation labs and stores. Their mission is to feed meaningful information and referrals to their companies and to other LPRC working groups.

You can imagine the group’s members led by Bloomingdale’s AP leader Tom Meehan learning about future retailing concepts and constantly bird-dogging for new or adjusted tactics and technologies to address crime and loss issues for the supply chain protection, organized retail crime, product protection, video solutions, retail fraud, and other LPRC working groups.

2016 LPRC Board of Advisors

We all need someone providing feedback, ideas, and guidance. At the LPRC, we have long had a group of retail LP and AP, LP technology provider, industry, and product manufacturer executives providing this “adult leadership” in the form of a board of advisors (BOA).

This team volunteers to help the LPRC team provide members with needed research in a usable format, such as executive report summaries, the Impact conference, a weekly emailed newsletter, monthly research-in-action reports, an online knowledge center, and quarterly webinars.

The LPRC BOA recently met in Tractor Supply Company’s store support center in the Nashville, Tennessee, area for a couple of days. The group was briefed on the overall research and development strategy and almost 20 planned projects (all based on member and BOA input). Our BOA members bring a wealth of diverse business expertise and aren’t at all hesitant to weigh in on how the LPRC can continue to improve process and delivery.

BOA members all share on thing in common: a real passion for moving the LP and AP field to a much more evidence-based process. And I’d like to again personally thank each and every BOA member and the LPRC membership as a whole. It means a ton that the industry is continuing to move to evidence-based practice. Life safety, brand reputation, liability exposure, and profitability in an increasingly intense environment demand science-guided innovation, collaboration, and evaluation.

In future columns we’ll discuss more details around LP and AP strategy and process, and I would encourage you to think more about this very important topic, while also sharing your ideas and experience with me.

Coming Attractions

Look for a series of LPRC webinars, at least four field trips (Future of LP, supply-chain protection, and so forth), the 2016 Impact Conference at the newly renovated University of Florida Reitz Student Union (October 4-6), and the monthly working group calls.

Recommended Reading

Crime Prevention through Environmental Design by Timothy D. Crowe describes ideas to link built places and spaces to influencing user behavior. The most basic tenets are:

  • Natural access control
  • Natural surveillance
  • Territorial reinforcement

As always, our University of Florida and LPRC teams are working to support you, so please let me know your thoughts and suggestions via our website at, on LinkedIn, or at rhayes (at) lpresearch (dot) org.

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