One in 11 people in the United States are responsible for all the theft that occurs in the retail sector, according to the National Association of Shoplifting Prevention (NASP). More than 80% of retailers that participated in a survey conducted by the National Shrink Database (NSD) reported they use intrusion alarm systems to combat this widespread criminal behavior. In addition, 40.7% use electronic article surveillance (EAS) and 47.9% employ video surveillance.
Shrink — including shoplifting, employee or supplier fraud and administrative errors — cost the global retail industry more than $128 billion last year, with $42 billion lost in the U.S. alone, according to the Global Retail Theft Barometer study. This represents a loss of 1.29% of total retail sales for the year. Not every-one in retail loss prevention agrees with this percentage, however. Statistical data derived from more than 47,467 NASP member retailers show the average loss is 2.20% of gross retail sales.
As these staggering numbers suggest, security needs in the retail sector are great for sure. But there is also tremendous opportunity to leverage security systems’ latest advanced capabilities to supply retailers with high valuable business operational tools and metrics to better manage their enterprise and consequently drop higher profitability to the bottom line.
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Integrated Vs. Disparate Systems
The value of integration in retail spaces is without question. Most of the systems mentioned above can be integrated and accessed from multiple points, both inside and outside a retail establishment using network technology. Smartphone integration is a good example of this approach. Yet there continues to be a significant percentage of retail work that entails the use of legacy analog technology, especially in smaller retail spaces.
Smaller retailers are more likely to take a traditional approach to security, using separate, disparate systems without point-of-sale (POS) systems and other forms of interconnectivity. The reason for this is initial cost versus long-term return on investment (ROI).
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Larger retail companies, especially chains, will nearly always ask for or require an IP-based integrated platform. Only network-connected systems can provide advantages such as the ability to remotely view multiple locations or apply business intelligence tools to high-definition surveillance footage such as video analytics.
“We offer our customers fully integrated systems which allow them to manage all aspects of their security systems, as well as their building automation systems from a common platform with easy- to-read dashboards that provide our customers with real-time actionable intelligence,” says Jonathan Rosman, president, retail solutions, Stanley Security.
Savvy security firms will take all of this into consideration when bidding work in retail. For example, where smaller retail stores are involved, they will work to move these establishments toward a digital solution with the ultimate intention of integrating all components at a future date.
IP-based cameras, access control, intrusion/hold-up systems with IP capabilities, and other networkable systems are all candidates for this installation approach. Larger facilities, even when not in a chain-store setting, are likely to accept IP-based solutions. Integrators may, however, have to work a little harder to convince owners and managers that IP is needed in preparation for future integration.
POS Integration Is Becoming Essential
System integration in retail, as in any other vertical market, allows the security solution as a whole to realize more value than what is possible with its individual parts. For example, when security cameras share images with a POS system, management is able to include one or more camera images with each and every cash register transaction.
“Through a virtual machine or server we have the capability to collect data from multiple sources and associate it with existing video management software in DVR and NVR solutions,” says Douglas Florence, vice president, strategic operations, eConnect Global of Las Vegas.
When a general search is conducted by cashier, type of transaction, time of day, day of week or other criteria, the location of each camera image associated with a transaction is stored in the POS. When that transaction is pulled up for review, the POS pulls the images from the video surveillance portion of the system, such as an NVR or network attached storage (NAS).
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Loss Prevention ·