Virgin Megastores is renowned for being at the cutting edge of global retail innovation. Since Sir Richard Branson opened Virgin's first record store in Oxford Street, London, in 1971, focus has been on delivering market leading products and quality customer service to shoppers across the globe, making Virgin one of the world's most successful entertainment retailers.
Retail security has a crucial role to play in this, with Virgin Megastores now offering customers over 180 000 easily-transportable, high-value goods which are also popular theft-prone lines.
As thieves become increasingly sophisticated the need to protect high-value, portable goods whilst minimising restriction to customers in store has presented a challenge for Virgin. Today, integrated security systems with data feedback mechanisms are required to improve efficiency in store and also provide valuable insights at corporate level.
While the majority of Virgin's stores have long used CCTV and Sensormatic's EAS (electronic article surveillance) systems as a means to reduce product loss and shrinkage, the need to integrate these systems and develop more advanced approaches to reduce shrink had become increasingly apparent.
Over a six month trial period, Sensormatic's Smart EAS systems have been installed in 13 Virgin Megastores (including their new flagship store in Piccadilly London). Smart EAS is the industry's answer to closing the loop between what happens at the entrance/exit of the store, the staff response to alarm situations, and management of information by senior management and loss prevention teams. Information recorded by Smart EAS readers can be downloaded, e-mailed or sent by SMS to any nominated party as an incident occurs. It includes a people counting facility where regular analysis may eventually allow for staffing to be increased or decreased to mimic shopping trends on a local level, and also provide central functions (eg, marketing) with information on customer footfall by entrance in each store.
The successful conclusion of this trial has proven the return on investment potential of the system, and Virgin now intends to roll out implementation of Smart EAS across the rest of its estate in the UK.
The additional information provided by Smart EAS is greatly benefiting Virgin at both shop-floor and management level. The customer traffic reports allow Virgin to evaluate the success of marketing promotions and new product lines, by being able to see customer flow figures in realtime if required. The alarm management reports allow Virgin to identify response times to alarm activations in store and any patterns in the trading day when there is likely to be an increased risk of theft. This vital information on the retail environment allows management to make key operational decisions for the benefit of customers, staff and ultimately the financial performance of the store.
Sensormatic is represented in southern Africa by Detexis, the retail division of i to i technologies.
For more information contact Detexis, 0861 44 66 44, email@example.com
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