With the holidays around the corner and Black Friday shoppers set to hit the stores this week, one managed service provider that specializes in retail security is urging retailers to leverage technology to help prevent theft.
Interface Systems, a Missouri-based provider of security, managed network, communications and business intelligence solutions to distributed enterprises, says retailers should heighten their awareness of organizations retail crime, which the firm says has increased by more than 25% since last year.
In addition, nearly 53% of retailers reported external theft to the National Retail Federation, according to Interface Systems.
Sean Foley, senior vice president of customer success at the managed service provider, says the holiday season brings longer hours, a larger inventory and more crowds to stores, all of which increase risk.
“What should be ‘the most wonderful time of the year for both shoppers and retailers, is becoming increasingly stressful due to an increased risk of theft and violence against employees,” Foley says. “Technology solutions can offer effective deterrents for retailers who face security risks every day.”
Interface Systems recommends investing in digital surveillance technology to help augment loss prevention professionals, such as remote security services leveraging cameras, speakers and microphones. These solutions provide discreet, always-on surveillance without degrading the shopper experience and allow remote security professionals to identify suspicious individuals and alert in-store staff or law enforcement.
In addition, the managed service provider recommends retailers use motion-triggered, AI-powered cameras that can be deployed in conjunction with speakers and lighting systems that can automatically warn loiterers during non-business hours. Designed to be installed in parking lots or loading areas, these solutions can be programmed to play different audio messages based on the context and even alert remote security professionals.
To maximize return on investment, Interface Systems recommends integrating video surveillance and security systems with point-of-sale systems to allow for transactions to be mapped to video recordings to help retailers find instances of theft, including coupon fraud, refunds made without customers, sweethearting and unauthorized price overrides.
As with cybersecurity, employee training and awareness is equally important in physical security, according to Interface Systems.
The company recommends implementing a robust training and communications program to help keep employees and customers safe, including training for both seasonal and existing employees. Training should include role-playing scenarios, drills, and a synopsis of the security technologies deployed. An emergency communication plan should also be clear to all employees.
“Retailers need a comprehensive safety program to prepare and protect their associates from a variety of dangerous situations,” says Tyson John, senior vice president of security monitoring operations at the firm. “When employees know that their safety is the priority, it creates peace of mind and can boost morale and productivity.”