LP Magazine

MAR-APR 2018

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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RFID AND RETAILING 44 MARCH–APRIL 2018 | LOSSPREVENTIONMEDIA.COM enable the business to be more successful in meeting its core objectives of being a sustainably profitable retailer. In and of itself, an RFID system is little more than a combination of technologies that provide the user with actionable data. Most case-study companies had relatively few key performance indicators (KPIs) they wished to achieve, with an improvement in sales being the most prominent. But it is important to understand how any chosen KPI will be delivered, including identifying the organizational drivers and mechanisms that will enable them to be achieved and how they will be measured. Rolling Out RFID. All companies had committed to rolling out their RFID programs—a ringing endorsement for how valuable it was considered to be to their businesses. As with the pilot trials, some companies counseled caution concerning the speed of roll out, citing numerous difficulties they had faced by moving too quickly. Of particular importance was timing—avoiding peak times in the retail calendar and investing in high-quality and sustainable training for retail store staff. Loss Prevention and RFID. Few of the companies regarded their RFID systems as effective tools to actively reduce stock loss, particularly malicious forms of loss such as shoplifting. Primarily this was because the tags being used (swing tags and stickers) were very easy to remove, and current exit readers were viewed as being relatively unreliable. However, some were using RFID data to better understand which products would benefit from additional security, as well as helping in the evaluation of store trials of stock loss interventions. For one retailer, an indirect benefit of store staff having more time to be on the shop floor (because RFID had reduced the time other tasks had taken) was that they could increasingly act as a visible deterrent to prospective shop thieves. Remember That RFID Is a Journey. Case-study companies were keen to remind prospective users that RFID systems are not plug-and-forget technologies—they require ongoing commitment to ensure they remain fit for purpose and capable of delivering the KPIs originally required by the business to justify any recurring investment. Keeping It Simple. The final piece of advice many offered was to keep any planned RFID project simple—do not make it overcomplicated, and remember that RFID merely provides data; if you do nothing with it, then it is destined to fail. RFID in Retailing As stated at the beginning of this article, RFID has been on a long journey within retailing, frequently failing to live up to the hype heaped upon it by those keen to see it develop. But this research has shown that in an appropriate retail environment and by adopting an approach founded upon focused pragmatism driven by financial probity, it is a technology now capable of delivering real benefits to the retail community and its customers. It is perhaps now time to stop asking the question, "Where will RFID be in five years?" Emeritus Professor ADRIAN BECK spent his academic career in the criminology department at the University of Leicester in the UK where he focused on retail crime and shrinkage issues. He currently is an academic advisor and researcher for organization's like the ECR Community's Shrinkage and On-shelf Availability Group and the Retail Industry Leaders Association. Beck is a frequent speaker at conferences worldwide and a contributor to both LP Magazine's US and Europe publications. He can be reached at bna@le.ac.uk. Respondents to this research clearly articulated the importance of working hard at getting cross-functional buy-in —RFID projects have long tentacles embracing most retail functions. To get a free copy of the full report and further information about the research, contact Professor Adrian Beck at bna@lc.ac.uk. STAFF COSTS REDUCED 4% (01)95012345678903(21)00123 Size 10

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