Theft has always been a problem for retailers, but now it’s an existential threat. Crime is not only increasing, but changing in nature. Shoplifters are becoming more organized and, in some cases, more violent.
This is a double blow for stores. As well as suffering financially, the threat of violence is causing associates to quit at an alarming rate. This leads to fewer employees on the shop floor, creating even more opportunities for criminals. Urgent action is needed, and we want to help.
By combining our headsets with the latest in smart technology, stores can level the playing field in the fight against crime. Here’s how it works, along with two examples of smart integrations in action.
No time to waste
Retail theft needs to be stopped before it gets out of hand. The last few years have seen a significant rise in shoplifting, and this shows no signs of slowing:
- Retail theft has nearly doubled in the last five years
- US retailers lost $112 billion to shoplifters in 2022
- External theft accounts for 37% of all retail shrink
These are significant losses, but the real problem is the effect of these incidents on associate morale. A third of frontline employees now feel unsafe at work, while 40% feel less safe than they did a year ago. With a quit rate already 70% higher than that of other industries, retailers need to address associate safety as a matter of urgency.
A smarter way to tackle crime
In-store security teams do an amazing job, but they can’t be everywhere at once. Luckily, new technology is making it easier than ever to keep track of criminal behavior. Smart CCTV cameras can spot suspicious activity and automatically raise the alarm. Smart shelving can warn associates of unusual patterns of stock depletion that could be a sign of theft.
These are extremely useful tools, but they also raise some practical challenges. Stores often install multiple security devices produced by different companies, and these can’t always communicate with one another. With each device issuing its own notifications, associates find themselves bombarded with alerts. At best, they waste time checking on each device individually. At worst, they miss vital security information.
If stores are going to make the most of smart security, they need to make these devices more manageable. This is where we come in:
- Our open API lets you integrate your headsets with an unlimited number of smart devices. Once integrated, these devices can send notifications directly to associates.
- If a smart camera spots suspicious activity, it can send an alert straight to the security team. If a smart shelf notices unusual stock depletion, it can alert all associates to a possible crime in progress.
- All notifications are sent straight to headsets, speeding up response times and saving associates the trouble of checking devices individually.
Case study- the independent grocer
Over the years, our open API has helped stores of all shapes and sizes to reduce theft and improve associate safety. This is illustrated perfectly by our work with a chain of independent grocers in Scotland, UK. One of its stores had been recently refurbished, making the spirits section fully accessible to customers. This increased sales, but also increased the amount of theft.
Although the store’s CCTV deterred some thieves, it wasn’t able to detect crimes in progress. The store continued to lose stock, damaging both profitability and associate morale. The company asked us to help, and we were happy to oblige.
The store was already using our headsets, so all we had to do was find the best integration for the job. We chose a third-party solution called IMCO, which uses automatic ‘pushers’ to move stock to the front of the shelf. These can also detect suspicious product removal, sounding an alarm to ward off potential thieves.
By linking IMCO to our headsets, we enabled the pushers to transmit a simultaneous warning to associate headsets. This told them both the location of the incident and the product involved, allowing associates to respond quickly and appropriately.
The benefits were immediate. As well as deterring shoplifters, the solution allowed the store to identify five persistent offenders who were unknown to the police. Alcohol thefts dropped to almost zero, saving the store an estimated £330 a week. As the brand’s retail director explains, this has made a huge difference to morale:
“The store team now feel that their hard work to make a profitable well-stocked store that offers an excellent customer experience is not disappearing as a result of the thefts.”
This strategy was effective because it was tailored to the needs of the store. We’d love to do the same for you, so give us a call to get started.