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Unified retail security platforms can reduce stock losses to maintain profits and keep prices lower

George Moawad, Country Manager, Australia & New Zealand, Genetec
George Moawad, Country Manager, Australia & New Zealand, Genetec

A unified security platform is critical for preventing stock losses and enables retailers to boost profitability, improve customer service and enables security to make faster, better decisions.

Theft costs New Zealand retailers an estimated $1 billion a year in losses. These costs result in higher prices that hit the hip pocket of every New Zealander. Food, clothing and other essential items go up to compensate for theft and leakage.

Countdown has reported there were just over 5,400 thefts in 2018, with that number skyrocketing to over over 23,000 this year. The large grocery retailer also reports a 303% increase in physical assaults and an 806% rise in security incidents. And Foodstuffs reported a 40% increase in theft over just the last year.   

An integrated approach to data enables loss prevention experts to correlate things like the number of people entering and leaving a store with the number of completed transactions

George Moawad, Country Manager, Australia & New Zealand, Genetec

Retailers, whether they are small independent stores or part of a large supermarket or department store chain, must take a strategic approach to stopping retail crime. A unified platform that integrates different data sources such as point-of-sale exceptions and video surveillance can help to quickly identify anomalous activity that points to potential theft or other criminal activity. 

Retailers have access to a wide variety of data, but the challenge is integrating it. A platform that can bring together point of sale information, video footage and licence plate recognition enables retailers to build a picture of what is happening at any given moment. And the same data can be handed over to law enforcement who can use it to find and apprehend offenders faster. 

An integrated approach to data enables loss prevention experts to correlate things like the number of people entering and leaving a store with the number of completed transactions. When those numbers vary it can be an indicator that shoplifters are operating. Or suspicious refund transactions can be flagged. When a large number of high value but easy-to-steal items, such as vitamins, are returned for a refund this can trigger an investigation.

While the public image of a shoplifter is of an opportunistic individual, police have identified organised gangs that execute coordinated raids on retailers are becoming more sophisticated. These thieves adapt their operating models as retailers add more and better cameras or more powerful analytics. 

New Zealand retailers need a security platform that can adapt to the changing tactics of shoplifting criminal syndicates. Older store security systems may not be able to handle the latest cameras with higher resolutions and superior zoom capabilities, which can analyse footage from overhead cameras at self-checkout stations. An open architecture that can add new tools and capabilities means retailers are prepared for future challenges and stay a step ahead of organised crime. 

For retailers operating across multiple sites, a cloud-based or hybrid platform simplifies the process of aggregating data from different stores. Many shoplifting gangs work across many locations. Being able to integrate data from multiple locations can unlock valuable intelligence that would otherwise be siloed at a single location. 

Retail losses don’t only occur in stores. Kerb-side pickup and distribution centres are also ripe targets for thieves. Technology solutions such as automatic license plate recognition  can ensure click and collect services with kerbside pickup are correctly identified. As well as minimising the risk of a thief taking an order it ensures the right order is delivered to the right customer. And distribution centres can ensure that unauthorised parties are detected and orders are collected by the right driver. Retail stock losses are costing New Zealanders every time they buy something. With inflation running at high levels and significant economic uncertainty, retailers are under pressure to ensure price rises are minimised. By reducing stock losses through theft retailers can minimise losses, assist law enforcement apprehend shoplifters and deter opportunistic theft. 

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