The following is an excerpt from the article, Top six retail loss prevention trends for 2013, written by Jennifer Overstreet and published on Retail's Big Blog. To learn three more loss prevention trends, view the full article.
Dealing with everything from shoplifting to extreme weather, the retail loss prevention profession requires constant vigilance in order to protect employees, customers and assets.
While the range of threats is far-reaching, a few continuing and evolving trends are shaping the industry in profound ways. To explain the retail loss prevention landscape, we asked Rosamaria Sostilio, Senior Vice President of Asset Protection at Saks Incorporated and Vice Chair of NRF’s LP Advisory Council, to share her observations about what to watch this year.
Emphasis on emergency response plans
Retailers and other property managers struggling to develop comprehensive emergency response plans and training that can be quickly and effectively executed during shooting incidents in and around retail centers. Business continuity and recovery plans are also in the spotlight after the number and severity of recent storms caught some businesses off guard.
“Retailers are realizing that not only do they need a great emergency response plan, but that it needs to be rehearsed and communicated down the chain appropriately. The key is to get all the appropriate business partners – from media relations to operations and stores – in a room to talk about what could happen and what the company’s response would be in the situation. Then, the cascading of that communication and rehearsal of the plan is essential, so that employees have some sort of comfort level with it. The same is true for business continuity and recovery plans. Retailers are now beginning to step up these efforts.”
Incorporating emerging technologies
New technologies introduce new opportunities as well as new threats, and loss prevention professionals will be spending more time with senior leadership evaluating advancing technologies along with the effect social media is having on the profession.
“Video analytics, facial recognition software and mobile POS are all hot new technologies out there being tested in the community right now. And while the growth of social media can be a liability and make our jobs a little more difficult, we’re also using it more and more as an investigative tool. One other area where retailers are stepping up is deploying business analytics programs that focus on point of sale and returns in conjunction with enhanced video surveillance. These programs not only help the LP teams but they can help manage the overall business strategies, efficiencies and control fraud.”
Developing background screening practices
Developing practical and effective background screening practices in light of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidelines released in April 2012 continues to be a challenge for retailers and other organizations.
“When it comes to employment pre-screenings, a lot of companies are assessing what policies work and what the EEOC guidelines mean for them. Those interested in how these legislative issues are impacting the industry should get involved in our LP Legislative Committee and share their insights and possible solutions.”