Innovative Retail Technologies

JUL-AUG 2017

Innovative Retail Technologies (formerly Integrated Solutions For Retailers) is the premier source for innovative yet pragmatic technology solutions in the retail industry.

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2017's Top 5 Trends In Retail Asset Protection Technology "R etail asset protection" likely brings to mind images of ap- prehending shoplifters or cracking gift card scams. In fact, 21st century retail asset protection has a much more comprehensive view — highly skilled professionals working to enhance the customers' shopping experience, while proactively managing all kinds of retail loss in order to protect the bottom line. A key tool in this crusade is technology. Across the spectrum, the retail industry is making groundbreaking advancements in the application of new technologies to enrich all consumer touchpoints — though often these evolutions happen behind the scenes. How can the industry move into the forefront of retail asset protection technol- ogy? What solutions are truly disruptive, and what have retailers learned from piloting these technologies? What are the trends to watch for in asset protection technology? The retailers of RILA's (R)Tech Asset Pro- tection Working Group address these ques- tions — working to identify new solutions and share their own advancements. "A key to moving the industry forward is collaborative work between retailers and technology providers," noted Orlaith Murphy, chair of the (R)Tech Asset Protec- tion Working Group and senior director, global loss prevention operations, at Gap, Inc. "Stakeholders working together to spark innovation and improve design and adop- tion of solutions will ultimately enhance the shopper's experience." Earlier this year, the group held its annual "innovation forum," sponsored by strategic partner Zebra Technologies, and hosted at Microsoft's Retail Experience Center (REC). The REC applies new and emerging retail technologies in a 20,000-square-foot interactive mockup of a multistore mall. Participants experimented with advanced solutions in an applied retail setting and ex- plored how cutting-edge technologies, such as artificial intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), augmented reality, sensors, and robot- ics, can improve the guest experience while also protecting assets and employees. Several tech startups and solutions provider companies were selected to participate in the forum, alongside retail- ers, to contribute to the dialogue. The event featured the application of "design think- ing" principles, as participants explored the future of digital and brick-and-mortar shopping, retail asset protection, consumer trends, and more. The forum is also a lead-up to the (R)Tech Asset Protection Innovation Awards, the top prize in the retail asset protection field. Winners were announced last month at RILA's Retail Asset Protection Conference, at which Digital Safety was selected for its point of sale activation tech- nology in first place, followed by Profitect's analytics advancements, and Walmart's groundbreaking gift card solution, devel- oped by an internal team of passionate problem solvers. Profitect also took home the Retailers' Choice award. Informed by these efforts of the (R) Tech Asset Protection Working Group, RILA identified the top five trends in asset protection technology: 1. It's Not "Asset Protection Technology" As retailers work to dismantle functional silos in pursuit of a true omni-channel approach, the idea of investing in technology solutions that address only asset protection goals is untenable. The winning technologies of tomorrow have a more holistic approach, cutting across functions for a truly enter- prisewide solution. A solution that stops a theft is good; a solution that helps the retailer better understand and serve everyone who engages with it, while understanding pat- terns to differentiate customers and weed out bad actors, is great. And it doesn't hurt to have the price tags for these solutions shared across multiple budgets, either. 2. Smart Analytics Is More Important Than Ever Terms such as "analytics" and "Big Data" have been thrown around for years, and don't expect them to go away anytime soon. Instead, analytics is becoming more essential, as retailers have developed more specific expertise in the area and learn more about what's possible. More retailers have formed centralized groups of data scientists and specialists to serve the organization, RILA's (R)Tech Asset Protection Working Group addresses the major questions facing retail asset protection. BY JESS DANKERT I VP SUPPLY CHAIN RILA Jul-Aug 2017 32 … retailers such as Walgreens, REI, and Gap are rethinking their approaches on what defines "loss" and how it's measured. What's Next

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