The reality of today’s retail environment means there is not a single retailer these days that does not have a problem with organized retail crime (ORC). The state of the world in recent years has only exacerbated the problem, with three-fourths of retailers in a National Retail Federation (NRF) security survey seeing an increase in ORC in 2020. This makes it more important than ever for loss prevention teams to find the right solution for the job.
It might make sense to invest in a one size fits all solution, where you get a suite of features usually for a lower price than if you bought them all separately. This is cost-effective, there’s no need to deal with multiple different vendors, and why deal with just one problem when you can try to tackle multiple issues? Easy, right? Not necessarily—and here’s why.
The Problem of Trying to Solve ORC With an All-in-one Solution
Think of the Swiss Army knife. This pocket-sized contraption features several functions that can be used in a variety of situations. You can use the blades to slice an apple, or the scissors to cut something in a pinch. But a chef wouldn’t use the same blade to prepare food and a tailor wouldn’t use the scissors to cut fabric.
The same goes for retail crime solutions. All-in-one single vendor solutions offer overall case management functions such as reporting incidents, store audits, health and safety, etc. They may be great business intelligence tools for record keeping, but when it comes to dealing specifically with ORC and people who offend repeatedly, one size does not fit all. Since they’re not created with the specific problem of ORC in mind, trying to apply an all-in-one single vendor solution to ORC is like trying to make the problem fit the tool.
Data from Auror’s Crime Intelligence Platform shows that 10 percent of people who offend are responsible for perpetrating 50 percent of reported loss from retail crimes worldwide. Serious incidents such as robberies and assaults doubled in 2021, with ORC groups and those who repeatedly offend accounting for a significant proportion of this. NRF survey results back this trend, with 65 percent of respondents in the 2021 security survey saying ORC groups are showing greater levels of violence and aggression than before.
It’s therefore critical to address ORC and repeat crimes with a purpose-built solution that is easy for AP teams to use. This means being able to connect the crimes with the people committing them, not just inputting data about events. Recording individual shoplifting events does little on its own, but being able to establish a link between the crimes and those perpetrating them creates powerful cases for law enforcement to pursue.
It also means your tool for impacting ORC must allow you to be proactive and collaborate with law enforcement and other retailers. It’s likely that crime groups are targeting multiple retailers, so by forming a network and sharing intelligence with other retailers, your cases can carry more weight together, rather than as isolated shoplifting events.
Perceived Cost Savings of All-purpose Solutions
One of the biggest reasons I hear for choosing all-in-one solutions over purpose-built is cost. There is a perceived cost saving of buying in bulk, which may be true for things like groceries, but I really challenge that thinking when it comes to LP solutions. If you’re paying for a suite of features that you only use part of, then is that really saving you money?
Going back to the Swiss Army knife analogy: not every knife is made with the same functions and you can’t pick and choose the tools you get. You will inevitably end up with some tools you don’t need and others that you would like to have, but are missing. Aside from not giving you the best tools for the job, this is also costing you more than you think it is.
The all-in-one option might work to start with, but as you scale up you might find that it’s not enough anymore. You’ll start to really notice the impact of trying to compensate for those missing tools. You may find you’ll need to ultimately invest in a more expensive, purpose-built solution anyway, which means you’ll end up paying more than if you had just bought the right solution to start with.
Vulnerable to Security Breaches
All-encompassing single vendor solutions can pose serious security risks. They’re easier to build, but also easier to breach since the same flaws are likely to exist in all the products found in a suite.
To use an analogy, consider how ships and submarines are built. They are divided into watertight compartments so that if the hull is breached and flooding occurs, there is a greater chance of containing the flood and keeping the vessel afloat. If they didn’t have those separations, they would be much easier to sink.
A data breach or entire system failure is one of the last things you need when you’re trying to prevent retail crimes!
Finding the Best Tool to Solve the Problem
All-in-one solutions have their benefits—a lower cost and not having to deal with multiple vendors, amongst other things. But the reality is they just don’t cut it when it comes to preventing the loss and harm caused by ORC.
To solve the specific problem of ORC and people who offend repeatedly, it’s more useful to have a purpose-built solution that is designed for a specific problem and is able to solve that problem exceptionally well, while also enhancing the user experience.
Find the best tool for the problem—not one that is trying to make the problem fit the solution.
Contact me if you want to learn more about how Auror can help you with ORC. Auror provides a Crime Intelligence Platform that is used by many of the world’s leading retail brands to prevent crime, loss, and harm in their stores. You can read the original article on Auror’s website.