As the exclusive partner of Sensormatic in the Southern Hemisphere, Fidelity Services Group understands what shrinkage means to retailers and that preventative solutions have got to put the customer first.
“Stores are gearing up for the festive season and it is in this peak period that loss prevention becomes even more crucial,”says Charnel Hattingh, Head of Marketing and Communications at Fidelity Services Group.
She explains that Sensormatic is currently contracted to over 5 000 stores, inclusive of cross-border, which translates to over 41 million articles on shelves carrying a Sensormatic tag.
South African retailers are facing a multitude of challenges, including economic fluctuations, changing consumer behaviour, increased competition, supply chain disruptions, regulatory changes and the need to adapt to digital transformation. Additionally, issues like security concerns, shoplifting, organised retail crime, employee theft and even burglary are all eating away at profitability and operational efficiency. As a result, implementing effective loss prevention measures and security strategies is crucial for retailers today.
In Fidelity’s experience, it has come to understand that most retailers are fixated on external theft and spend exorbitant chunks of their budget chasing the problem.
“Whether internal or external, the only way to prevent shrinkage due to theft is to remove the opportunity. The real reason people steal is because there is an opportunity to do so. When retailers make it easy through lax controls, an atmosphere of theft is created. If your employees are stealing from you, it is most likely because you are permitting it,” Hattingh says.
According to the Global Theft Barometer, products most vulnerable to malicious shrinkage (external theft) include razor blades/shaving products, cosmetics/face creams, baby formula and alcohol. The acronym “CRAVED” best explains why products such as these are more likely to be attractive to thieves:
• Concealable (easy to hide when being stolen).
• Removable (easy to remove).
• Available (easily accessible).
• Valuable (either personally to the thief or to others who may wish to purchase it).
• Enjoyable (the product is enjoyable to own or consume).
• Disposable (a ready market for the stolen item exists).
Hattingh cautions that while shoplifting is a real and growing concern, loss prevention should be looked at in a holistic manner. “Retailers need to identify the real problem areas instead of taking a knee-jerk approach to losses by pointing the finger solely at shoplifting. It is important to focus on compliance and identify end-to-end solutions.”
“This is why it is important that while designing and recommending loss prevention strategies to retailers, the shopper must always be the first consideration. The last thing you want to do is annoy your loyal customers with intrusive security measures while trying to deter shoplifters.”
According to Hattingh, key aspects of electronic article surveillance retailers should focus on, and particularly in the build-up to the festive season, include:
• Regular testing and calibration: Essential to minimise false alarms and enhance detection accuracy.
• Strategic tagging: Strategically placing security tags on high-value, popular or frequently targeted items.
Hattingh notes, “RFID technology has already gained popularity in the retail industry, allowing for efficient inventory management, improved supply chain visibility and seamless customer experiences. Retailers are increasingly leveraging RFID tags on products to track inventory in real time to facilitate automated checkout processes and enable personalised marketing efforts.”
“Retailers are increasingly implementing contactless payment options, including QR codes to provide seamless and safe checkout experiences. As customers continue to embrace the convenience and security offered by contactless payment, we predict that the local retail landscape will undergo notable transformations too in the foreseeable future.”
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