Retail growth boosts technology adoption

August 2013 Integrated Solutions, Retail (Industry)

South Africa’s retail sector accounts for roughly 13% of the GDP. By 2014 the global retail sector plans to source up to 21% of its revenue from emerging markets, including South Africa, growing to 28% by 2017. This is according to Global Intelligence Alliance’s survey on ‘Business perspectives on emerging markets 2012 to 2017’.

22% of companies surveyed chose South Africa as a top emerging market in their industries to look at over the next five years.

Mark Simpson.
Mark Simpson.

“Where there is projected growth, there will be a need for technology advancements and the security to support this growth,” says Mark Simpson, retail sales leader for Tyco Retail Solutions South Africa. Global companies chose markets in Asia, Latin America, Russia, South Africa and Turkey as key markets. Interestingly South African companies surveyed preferred African countries as prime emerging markets, with them rating South Africa and Nigeria as the top emerging markets for growth.

Simpson says the retail sector continues to display strength despite global economic instability. “A 5,2% global retail growth was reported in 2012 – a faster growth rate than any year since 1999. As a developing economy, it is predicted that South Africa’s retail demand will accelerate in 2013. In a recent report released by the Freedonia Group, significant growth is expected in the security equipment markets in emerging countries due to a lack of development in these countries,” he adds. In the Global Intelligence Alliance research, retail and manufacturing firms named distribution and access to customers as their biggest success factors. “The correct security systems can, without a doubt, have a positive impact on achieving this success.”

Simpson cites the Sensormatic anti-shoplifting EAS products and Sensormatic Analytic solutions. “Sensormatic products are evident in 80% of the top 200 global retailers. Retailers should consider these products as part of a greater Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) solution which also includes manufacturing, supply, installation, servicing, research and development and maintenance. Solutions such as this have proved highly effective in the South African market where securing merchandise, while enhancing the shopping experience, is key to controlling shrink and increasing sales.”

Virtually any item in a store can be protected with a Sensormatic security tag or label. “High value items, such as clothing, can be protected with a prominent tag, while small pocketable items can be protected with an adhesive label. With source tagging – the anti-theft labels or tags are placed on products at the point of manufacturing or at distribution level – there is no need to use expensive staff time to attach them in store.”

Security technology, such as this tagging technology, is advancing at an incredible rate. “Tyco Retail Solutions in the United States, for example, just announced the groundbreaking new Sensormatic Acousto-Magnetic hard tag for high heel footwear. Unlike anything else on the market today, the new tag connects to the back of the heel and is easily applied with an adjustable knob for secure application to any style of pump or heel. Its sleek and non-invasive design affords the shopper an optimal shoe fitting experience while ensuring the protection of genuine Sensormatic Acousto-Magnetic technology. Considering one of the most theft-prone items in today’s retail environment is ladies footwear, particularly for retailers in self-service environments such as discounters, mass merchants and hypermarkets, this is a significant development. We are looking forward to this technology being available to the South African market in the next few months.”

“But,” says Simpson, “the best technology available is useless without effective manpower. Retailers need to be aware that technology must be supported by guarding, monitoring and armed response services to be truly worthwhile.”

He believes an holistic security solution for retailers must include camera requirements, access control and manpower. “Access control can be the route to all evil if not managed appropriately. Back areas such as cash offices and the likes, need to be strictly monitored and secure. It doesn’t help putting in an alarm system at home if you leave the garage door open and it’s the same principle with retailers. High risk areas need highly effective access control,” says Simpson.

He also mentions that support elements offered by security service providers are crucial in an holistic approach, such as having an emergency medical service on standby. “Armed robberies are a reality for retailers. Ensuring their staff are well protected and have access to emergency services should be a consideration. Panic buttons for staff offering direct access to security, medical services and even the fire department are an excellent option. Retail clients are seeing the need for an advanced monitoring tool that can analyse data from various sources and produce intelligent reporting,” says Simpson. “The technology is here and advancing daily so I encourage retailers to do their homework and find the holistic solution that best suits their needs. Speak to experts in the field. South Africa is definitely on the radar in terms of retail growth in the years ahead and with it will come a spike in technology developments. Make sure that the solution you are investing in has a track record of effectiveness and reliability, and the backend support you need,” he concludes.

For more information contact Tyco, 0860 100 911,


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