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February 7, 2022

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The 2022 State of Physical Access Control Report

Retail Security

High streets and retail urged to ensure sufficient security measures are in place as trading figures rise

As Christmas 2021 trading figures suggest holiday sales rose at the fastest pace in 17 years, Britain’s high streets are being urged to ensure ample security measures are in place as customers return to stores. 

With further growth predicted in 2022, Matt Gregg, Retail Business Development Manager for Traka UK highlights, now is the time to maintain the momentum and ensure the right security technology systems and intelligent management solutions are in place for retailers and their returning customers.

Britain’s high streets have been the subject of much concern even before COVID, with many retail stalwarts toppled, BREXIT impacting on supply chains and the much publicised shift to online shopping.

Through lockdown when stores other than essential had to be closed, media continued to highlight ‘the end of the high street.’ Even just before Christmas 2021, shoppers grappled with higher prices, product shortages and a raging new Omnicron Covid-19 variant in the last few weeks of the season.

Despite all of this, as the National Retail Federation stated: “retailers kept their shelves stocked and consumers were able to fill their carts both in-store and online. Holiday spending during 2021 reflected continued consumer demand that is driving the economy and should continue in 2022.”

The success is largely due to the proactive willingness of retailers to embrace change and use of security technology.

It is testament to the importance of bricks and mortar retail, that it was missed when it was closed. Primark was the classic example. The fast fashion reailer saw their average £650m in weekly sales nosedive to nothing without an online presence. Yet it came back fighting with a sales spike of 36% in the 16 weeks ending 8 January 2022.

Now retailers can now enhance the consumer experience, keep it secure and evolve their systems to see their return to the high street with a renewed sense of loyalty and peace of mind.

Security technology at the forefront

Amazon has set the trend. Once known as the poster child of online retail, it is now “the future of shopping,” where customers gain access to the Amazon Four-Star, together with Amazon-Go stores using their Amazon Go app, with cameras in-store keeping track of what you buy, then charging an account accordingly.

Picking up on the changing attitude to cash during the pandemic, with the majority of consumers preferring to go cashless, Waitrose, Tesco, Morrisons and the Co-op have also all trialled apps that allow customers to pay with their mobile phones.

This is all using security technology to lay the foundations for more efficient operations, to meet consumer demands quickly and cost (and time) effectively. And it is up to latest smart security to ensure these stores and processes are protected.

There is a secondary level where security technology is critical to retail success. Post-COVID customers now aim is to get in and out of a store as quickly and safely as possible. This means product detail must be available instantly and seamlessly blend with any consumer research carried out online.

Instead of keeping customers waiting while members of staff hunt for a charged-up tablet device to look for stock levels or product information, an automated retail asset management solution means this essential knowledge is right at hand.

Seemingly simple processes can also be automated to deliver service and improved business efficiency for the benefit of customers. For example, on average, it takes staff members six minutes to find a key or working device. That is equal to 42 minutes in productivity time every week for each employee, which can cause losses of up to £40,000 a year.

This is where an effective key and asset management system has proven to minimise downtime and cuts unnecessary costs.

As a high street favourite explained: “We need our customer-facing teams to be equipped with fast working intelligent technology. By providing a branch solution that allows us to not only store dedicated devices securely but also integrates into our daily operational systems, we can track where each device is and ensure they are fully charged and up to date with our latest exclusive offers.”

What this demonstrates, according to Traka, is the expectations of the consumer are now more critical than ever. And for the retailers that listened and have used the pandemic period to evolve their distribution channels and offering, their results can be seen by the positive Christmas 2021 trading period.

Matt concludes: “The sector is now at a critical point in its full recovery. With a prediction of total retail sales to grow by 3.3% in 2022, we believe we have a chance to support retailers looking to embrace the latest intelligent management and security technology and exceed new data-savvy consumer expectations to thrive.”

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