Few industries were as deeply affected by the pandemic as retail. From store closures to social distancing requirements, the retail industry overcame great challenges in 2020 and continues to face further obstacles. With vaccination drives taking place throughout the world, retailers are trying their best to reopen and conduct business in a safe manner.
The challenge for retailers is addressing security risks while complying with essential safety requirements. Customer and employee safety are always a priority, as well as protecting against ongoing security risks. Retailers are busy implementing pandemic-related safety measures in order to protect their employees and customers. Additionally, retail theft along with Organized Retail Crime (ORC) continues to rise in most major markets.
With an ongoing pandemic, retailers need to leverage their security systems in a way that enables them to meet today’s complex health and security threats. Through the use of security solutions, like video surveillance, access control, and (AI)-driven video integration, retailers can operate safely while responding to today’s retail security challenges.
In addition to the impact of the pandemic, the retail sector faces a variety of security challenges that require professional attention. One trend that is going mostly undetected is the involvement of organized crime within the retail industry.
In 2020 the National Retail Security Survey found that organized retail crime (ORC) cost the retailers $719,548 per $1 billion in sales on average. According to the report, 73% of retailers have lost merchandise due to cargo theft, followed by 59% of theft that occurred on the way to distribution centers. The sophistication and frequency of organized crime point to physical security gaps at warehouses, distribution centers and stores.
If we look at the top 5 security risks affecting the retail security world, we can start to see how retailers can leverage video surveillance and other physical security solutions to address these growing concerns.
Retail Security Risks
The 2020 National Retail Security Survey asked respondents to indicate whether or not the risks below became a priority for their organization in the last 5 years. Respondents indicated that the following items became much more of a priority:
- Ecommerce crime
- Organized retail crime
- Cyber-related incidents
- Internal theft
- Return fraud
Theft and fraud in department stores have a direct impact on revenues and profits for every retailer. Fortunately, security integrators are helping retailers arrange their security systems in a way that effectively supports store operations. Here are three insights security integrators have for retailers that want to optimize their store’s security layout:
1. Conduct a Retail Security Assessment.
In spite of the pandemic, shoplifting continues to be a big problem for retailers. According to the National Retail Federation, retailers are seeing more cases which result in higher losses. While it is understandable that most retailers are focusing their efforts on reopening, they also have to consider the overall safety and security of their store. In order to accomplish this, a retail security assessment is essential.
A security specialist is able to evaluate a retail store’s property, security plans, and technology. With that information, a security integrator can make suggestions for improvement and provide solutions to address risks. The solutions are based on sound security principles with the objective of reducing risk in a non-disruptive manner. Often this requires that retailers integrate their existing security systems in a more cohesive manner.
Retail Security Systems
Retail security systems have to do more than just basic security. Every retail space has its own particular security risks, threats, and requirements. Department stores located within a busy shopping mall for example have totally different security threats and vulnerabilities than a convenience store located in a commercial building. Similarly, safety requirements vary from state to state and what works in one location may not be effective in another area.
Security integrators know how to flag for potential security vulnerabilities and select the right mix of security technologies. When evaluating a store’s security layout, security integrators take into account that the safety of customers and employees is the top priority. Next, they analyze how a security system can deter and detect risks such as burglary, workplace violence, and unauthorized access to stock. Ultimately they help in the installation and maintenance of the system.
The ideal security system has to address the store’s unique challenges and integrate video-surveillance and other security technologies in a unified manner. Important ways security Integrators assist retailers:
- Flag for potential security vulnerabilities.
- Design a security system to address these requirements.
- Integrate store security camera systems with other technologies such as access control.
- Custom build additional systems if needed.
- Train responsible for using the systems.
- Provide ongoing maintenance and support.
2. Improve Video Surveillance.
Retailers lost over $60 billion due to theft, fraud, and other criminal activities. This trend is likely to increase as the economy continues to recover. One of the best ways to reduce criminal activities in stores is by improving your retail video surveillance. Security cameras enable retail stores to address both safety and security concerns in a cost-effective manner. The best way to accomplish this is by consulting with a security professional that is able to integrate your store’s security camera system with other technologies such as access control and retail alarm systems.
The right video surveillance solution is able to address both traditional security risks and assist with today’s dynamic safety landscape. From loss prevention investigations to COVID-19 safety compliance, video surveillance is one of the most powerful ways to maintain a strong security posture.
Retail Security Cameras
In addition to the safety concerns, retail theft and inventory shrinkage are significant concerns for retailers. Security cameras address these concerns by serving as a deterrent and assisting in the investigation process. When an act of shoplifting is perceived on camera, security staffers can be quickly deployed to the scene.
Besides the obvious security benefits of monitoring suspicious activity, surveillance cameras can also provide information that’s helpful for store planning. For instance, the flow of customers can determine the store’s interior layout, and the number of shoppers who enter the store at certain times throughout the day can dictate employee schedules.
Security cameras are much more than video footage. Here are a few ways that video surveillance empowers retail supervisors:
- Deter and detect criminal activity.
- Remotely manage retail locations.
- Use the footage to train and coach employees.
- Optimize loss prevention efforts.
- Supervise safety protocols and mandated occupancy requirements.
3. Prioritize Video Analytics.
Video Management Software
Video management software (VMS) is a critical component of any integrated security system. The ability to analyze video data and arrange the information into actionable intelligence is essential in a post-lockdown environment. Although the concept has been around for a long time, the technology has gained more interest because of its ability to assist with today’s complex safety and security challenges.
With the right video management software, retailers are able to collect and analyze video data in real-time. VMS enables retailers to deploy crowd detection and people counting technologies to maintain safety guidelines. These features are especially useful for organizations that manage multiple sites.
The importance of video management software will only continue to grow as more retailers rely on security technologies to mitigate their physical security risks. In addition to the already stated features, VMS helps retailers:
- Optimize standard procedures.
- Enhance customer experience.
- Maintain proper safety guidelines.
- Alert employees about important trends.
- Monitor crowds and make needed adjustments.
Across the nation, protecting the health and safety of retail employees and customers remains a top priority for all organizations. Retailers are trying their best to operate under high safety standards while mitigating security threats. In response, retailers turn to their security integrator for cost and security-effective solutions.
A professional security installation company is able to evaluate a retail store’s property, security plans, and technology. While every retail space has its own particular security risks, threats, and requirements, the importance of an integrated security system allows retailers to stay safe and secure. The ideal security system has to address the store’s unique challenges and integrate video-surveillance and other security technologies in a unified manner.
As we start rebuilding and establishing a new normal, the retail industry will continue to deal with the challenges of operating in a post-pandemic environment. While health and safety will continue to be a top priority, the traditional security issues are not going away. By implementing practical safety protocols and investing in their security systems, retailers will be able to meet today’s challenges and thrive.