With retail beginning to settle back into its new normal and consumer spending on the increase, attention is turning to getting back to business and boosting the bottom line.
The key to protecting that bottom line is loss prevention, but with a new landscape come new challenges.
Here are five loss prevention challenges the retail sector will be looking to address throughout 2021.
Control versus convenience
An increased focus on omnichannel and strategies like buy online pickup in-store (BOPIS) means control of stock and products now has to be carefully weighed against consumer convenience.
That makes visibility key when it comes to inventory control.
Improved inventory visibility might include:
- Item tracking via RFID.
- A focus on loss prevention such as electronic article surveillance to reduce out-of-stock events.
- Improved data and analytics for accurate insight into stock levels.
Truth is inventory accuracy has always been a major factor in loss prevention, with human error, fraud, and theft all undermining a store’s ability to keep track of its stock.
As trends like BOPIS and omnichannel are set to stay, this accuracy and control are now more important than ever.
With retail foot traffic still lower than in years gone by, bricks and mortar is looking to play to its strength of allowing customers to touch, try, feel and interact with products.
Again, this requires a fine balance of allowing customers access to products while also ensuring these items are protected against theft.
Meanwhile, enticing displays are becoming a priority as retailers seek to find more ways to lure potential customers into their outlets.
So how can you protect products, while still guarding them against shoplifting and theft?
Loss prevention methods include:
- Lockable glass cabinets.
- Alarmed and tethered displays for products like electronics.
- Good store layout.
- Staff education and training.
Supply chain accountability
Securing the supply chain continues to be key to mitigating retail loss. This has become increasingly important in the past 12 months due to the shipment and manufacturing delays that have occurred over the past year.
The upshot is, store management now requires greater supply chain accountability to ensure the products that are on order are traced and ticked off when they arrive.
Tools like RFID, which offers 99.9 percent supply chain accuracy can assist.
With remote working still very much on the agenda and travel fairly limited, remote insight into a store’s operation including its sales, revenue and loss is a continuing priority for store management.
That’s where tools like mPOS, cloud-based analytics, and inventory tracking methods like RFID are coming into play, allowing retail management remote insight into the operation of one outlet or a chain of stores.
Between protests, riots, and health fears, staff safety remains a major priority for all retailers. Although necessary, safety focus does have an impact on loss prevention, with staff often at the frontline when it comes to identifying loss and theft.
As a result, loss prevention tools and technology will play an increasingly important role in the fight against shoplifting, theft, and miscellaneous loss.