ISC West 2023 is just around the corner and with it comes an overwhelming number of opportunities to learn and grow as a loss prevention professional.
A highlight not to be missed is a session on the retail cyclone and how to combat it with an open platform VMS on Thursday, March 30 at 11:15 am.
“We’ve talked to all of our customers about the impact the past two years have had on retailers, how it’s like we’ve never seen before, and we’ve come up with that as the retail cyclone,” said Keith Aubele, chief security officer at Salient Systems and founder of the Nav1gate Group, who will be leading this session at ISC West. “Since this is such a recurring theme for us, we felt it was time to share this information with the masses and make them think and believe along the lines we believe, which is that you need to prepare. While we feel the cyclone is hitting us from every angle, there will be more to prepare for in the future.”
Dale White, another speaker for this session, retired from Walmart after a 28-year career in loss prevention where his responsibility was to help coordinate, purchase, select, identify and introduce technology into Walmart for use by the entire organization. has a lot of knowledge of the end user’s perspective.
Grant Cowan, director of national accounts at Salient Systems, will also be part of the session and share what he knows about working with large retail entities.
“If you look at retail, you can see that it took pictures throughout the creation,” continues Aubele. “All retailers face shots and blows, but at no point in history have we faced issues such as COVID-19, China export problems, supply chain logistics and distribution crisis, labor shortages, high turnover, inflation and rising interest rates , production shortages due to the war in Ukraine, shrinkage and loss, the escalation of physical crimes and aggression in retail, and ORC, one of the top topics in retail today because of the impact it has on shrinkage. And then you have the reduction in prosecutions and lowered crime thresholds in large communities as they try to ease the pressure on prisons. That is the cyclone and it is literally costing retailers their ability to perform today, which is why we are seeing this fallout.”
Once you get past cost and initial discussions of what security might bring to a retail business, you reach a point where your dilemma is providing a level of security that keeps everyone safe and low, without hindering the customer experience.
“Everyone goes through metal detectors in courthouses, and you expect them there, but when it comes to retail, that’s not going to work,” White said. “You have to find a way to make the customer experience as pleasant as possible without imposing safety.”
This is where an effective video management system (VMS) comes into play.
“VMS technology has made some significant advances in recent years in its ability to provide analytics on everything from goods movement to human behavior as people move through the store,” continued White. “That customer experience is going to be the biggest stumbling block for retail when it comes to implementing any kind of security, whether it’s a physical barrier or not. An open platform VMS is a way to keep things secure without ruining the customer experience. You can track and move goods using AI and alert shop staff if something happens. Your ability to track inventory is another part of that cyclone and another area where VMS can monitor inventory on the shelves with the right plugins. Incident investigations and access control, things like that can also be baked into a VMS platform, and it’s the customer experience that quickly goes to your bottom line – if you provide a good experience, you’re going to sell merchandise and make money. And that is the most important consideration for a retailer.”
Not only can an open platform VMS make retailers more money by driving more sales through an improved customer experience, but it can also help LP teams do more with less.
“Being an open platform, our VMS system has the ability to use elements that are beneficial to operations, merchandisers, logistics and distribution,” said Grant Cowan. “So if you can get those individuals on board to see the tools they have access to and make them a part of the conversation, then you can share the cost across the organization, rather than it just being LP costs are. And when you look at our platform, we are very affordable when it comes to value for money.”
According to Aubele, the retail cyclone will only get worse over the next 18-24 months, largely due to the impending recession.
Fortunately, having an open platform VMS allows retailers to continue adapting to future challenges.
“The beauty of an open platform VMS is that analytics and AI are going to rule the future,” said Aubele. “We are able to integrate with any of these analytics platforms. We have the ability to have software that identifies someone carrying a gun into the store. That’s the future of retail, and that’s how we’ll fight all those points of the shopping cyclone. It won’t eliminate those factors, but it will mitigate the impact they have.”
Learn more about ISC West here and make sure to mark “The Retail Cyclone. It’s Real and How to Fight It with an Open Platform VMS” on Thursday, March 30 at 11:15 AM on your calendar.