LP Magazine

JAN-FEB 2019

LP magazine publishes articles for loss prevention, asset protection, and retail professionals covering shrinkage, investigations, shoplifting, internal theft, fraud, technology, best practices, and career development.

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I overheard a discussion between an LP professional and an IT professional where the LP pro asked why the IT pro didn't hire more resources. The IT pro responded, "Why don't you hire an IT guy?" Might be a good strategy. The retail culture is changing at a fast and furious pace, and in many different ways. As you look at the year ahead, how do you see these changes reshaping retail or loss prevention? REYNOLDS: It really will be all about the technology. Smart retailers are using intelligence-enabled platforms to deliver more-personalized customer experiences every day. Those that don't embrace customization will find themselves on the losing side of the sales equation. Just as with the retail sales function, there are benefits to leveraging technology in the physical security space as well. Facial recognition and AI have become hot topics in loss prevention. Traditional security methods have become smarter: cameras and alarm systems now have the intelligence to decipher what they sense and see. Covert GPS solutions have become more proactive and provide real-time results. Alarm systems have evolved in sophistication to improve their performance as well. But I don't believe there is a "cure all" approach for anything, and even with this tech-injection, we will continue to see the best payback coming from a layered approach to safety, albeit with more tech-driven layers. BARTOL: First of all, thank you for saying that retail is changing. I grow weary of the folks saying that retail is "dying." It is changing, and retailers must begin to adapt to the way folks shop today. I think that because of the rapid pace of evolving technology, retailers will be forced to adopt new technologies quicker than ever before. Where there used to be great risk associated with adopting something that didn't work well, there is now greater risk of not being up-to-date with the latest and most effective solutions on the market, which will change again very soon. By keeping your thumb on the pulse of technology and always having the mindset of asking, "How can I use MY tools to enhance sales and operations?" we can better serve the LP industry. BATTERBURY: Organized retail crime is getting more and more organized, which is playing a major role in how the loss prevention industry is changing. Retailers need to work faster to identify behaviors that lead to shortage and even faster when sharing this intelligence with other retailers and law enforcement. Technology is helping brick-and-mortar retailers bridge this gap and move faster. Retailers have more behavioral data on their customers than ever before due to all the new connected devices. This new data will change how we identify theft behaviors and how much intelligence we have regarding those causing the issues. Loss prevention leaders will need to reshape their data platforms to handle the influx of new data, analyze that data faster, and generate easy-to-follow action items for those in the field. The next step will be for retailers and law enforcement to reshape how they share and act collaboratively on this intelligence. This intelligence is beneficial to each individual retailer, but it becomes even more powerful when used in a collaborative way with other retailers and law enforcement. Looking at the industry as a whole, what do you feel is the most important lesson that loss prevention professionals should take away from the past year and apply to their career development as they move forward? BARTOL: We live in a very fast-paced world. The luxury of time and ability to do gradual proof of concepts is going away. We need to talk to each other even more than we have in the past. Lean on your solution partners and hold them to a very high standard. Engage at trade shows and events with an open mind. We are all in this together and working toward the same goals. BATTERBURY: The US economy is doing well right now. For the most part a majority of retailers had a profitable 2018. Loss prevention leaders have spent a lot of capital on new technology capabilities and technology life-cycle maintenance. It's easier to make these capital investments during a strong sales period, but it is critically important to be planning now for technology maintenance, so you are prepared during a time when sales slow. Without planning for life-cycle replacement now, retailers run the risk of not having those critical tools to combat theft five years down the road if the sales environment changes. REYNOLDS: LP professionals who want to succeed must embrace change and the need to keep learning. It's always easier to make low-risk decisions and stick with the "tried and true," but the big rewards will be had by those who are open to new possibilities. True success is built on good relationships and long-term trust—in the industry, with law enforcement, and with your internal company contacts. I am a firm believer in that. Tap into your industry organizations, such as the Loss Prevention Foundation and the Loss Prevention Research Council. We're heavily involved with both groups and they support research, ongoing education, and networking that will help keep you plugged in to what's going on in the industry. Where there used to be great risk associated with adopting something that didn't work well, there is now greater risk of not being up-to-date with the latest and most effective solutions on the market, which will change again very soon. 62 JANUARY–FEBRUARY 2019 | LOSSPREVENTIONMEDIA.COM

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