3 Ways To Improve Retail Security While Keeping Customers Happy
Over the past two decades, Amazon transformed itself from an online bookstore to the world’s most powerful retailer. The carnage of this industry disruption incinerated major corporations like Sears, Toys R Us, Sports Authority and Radio Shack, to name a few.
Today, customers do not need to enter a retail establishment because they can purchase virtually anything online and have it delivered to their door within 24 or 48 hours with free shipping and returns often included. When shopping on Main Street, they can price-check everything from toilet paper to laptops across both online and brick-and-mortar stores within seconds.
To survive, retailers must rethink the current business model.
Consumers will always buy products and services. The retail industry is not dying; it is changing based on evolving customer behavior and preferences. Retail stores must transform the customer experience because price and convenience alone no longer can draw enough buyers to thrive in this new environment.
“More than anything else, the modern retail customer wants an optimal experience,” says Sid Kalantar, vice president of sales and marketing for Senseon. “With online commerce increasing, today’s customer isn’t focused solely on finding the best price. The shopper seeks the most frictionless in-store experience possible, putting an emphasis on accessibility and security. Retailers must balance physical security tools, merchandising, and proper staff training to meet that need.”
Retailers flourishing in this changing environment have converted from a product- or service-driven mentality to a customer-experience-driven mindset. The customer experience includes everything from store lighting to the color of the décor, to the aromas and sounds encountered, to the store layout.
To keep customers happy and persuade them to return, businesses must engage in positive interactions with each customer while providing the necessary security to reduce shrinkage. Let’s look at three important ways to do just that:
Create a seamless experience without invading customer privacy
Security can feel invasive. Security guards, large video cameras in every corner of the store, and locked cases filled with valuable merchandise scream “Don’t Touch.” These measures can make customers uncomfortable and reduce their time spent in the store.
New technological innovations can provide discreet security protocols that do not intimidate customers or detract from the overall shopping experience. Cameras can be unobtrusive, and cabinet or showcase locks can be hidden from view. Using modern technologies can improve aesthetics without compromising security.
Establish security measures that affect customers only minimally while protecting assets
Retailers experienced nearly $100 billion in losses in 2017, with internal factors, such as employee theft, accounting for 24.5% of losses. Reducing these numbers will directly boost profitability at a time when retailers struggle to attract and retain customers.
Audit control features enable management to track employee movement through a keycard, employee tag, or fob. By “seeing” when an employee arrives at work, enters a secure area, or accesses secure merchandise, retailers can reduce, identify and prosecute theft.
Integrate systems for frictionless execution
Security does not live in isolation. When one department cannot talk to another, it creates vulnerabilities that can produce a clunky customer experience and increase the risk of loss. For example, if keyed locks are required to access and secure merchandise or to open a register, a customer may be forced to wait for a manager to arrive with the correct key.
Fully integrated systems do not rely on such old-school methods. Modern access control systems can approve and update employee credentials within seconds from a remote location to improve security, lower customer wait times, and reduce system vulnerabilities.
Customer behavior and expectations are changing rapidly, but so are technologies. Take advantage of innovations, and you’ll achieve a superior customer experience while strengthening security in the retail environment.
Evan Hicks is Marketing Manager for Senseon®, a pioneer in the development of easy-to-install, easy-to-use cabinet access control systems, enabling companies to create a customer-first environment with higher levels of security.