Sales Director, Traka UK

March 16, 2020

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The Video Surveillance Report 2020

Retail security

Security and retail in 2020

In a new regular IFSEC Global comment column, Traka UK Sales Director, Steve Bumphrey, investigates the new opportunities arising across different sectors, in both technology and management processes, to provide a better, more secure customer experience. He starts with an overview of retail.

2019 in retail

2019 was recorded as the worst year on record for retail. It was the first year to show an overall decline in retail sales with retailers facing the challenge of the shift to online shopping and more cautious spending, triggered by political and economic uncertainty and concerns about the environment.

There is no doubt that buying habits have changed and consumers increasingly want the ease, flexibility, perceived security and convenience of browsing and buying online. And it’s no coincidence that those brands which have recognised this shift to online and who have invested in their ecommerce platforms are benefitting significantly from a more loyal and profitable customer base.

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But what about the retailers that see or still believe in the opportunities on the high street?  What are the chances of them surviving the current retail crisis?

Embrace The Change

We’re in a period of rapid change and evolution in buying habits with more focus than ever on the customer experience. This is important, because there is no assumption the experience has to follow current trends and be online.

Even Amazon, the poster child of online retail, has recognised the value of a physical retail channel and has opened physical locations for its books and fresh produce business streams.

It is clear that despite shopping habits and consumer tastes changing, there is still opportunity.  Physical stores provide a real chance to embrace a more sensory and human experience – something that simply cannot be replicated in the online space.

This means that in time, yes, we may see a reduction of physical stores but for the ones that remain, they will make a more powerful impact. And advances in retail technology means shopping will be a whole new, secure and exciting experience.

There will be cashless environments, the use of artificial and virtual technology, integrated security systems and connected devices that enable staff to dedicate more time to their customers and respond instantly to their queries. The consensual sharing of data will bring a whole new level of appeal to making a trip out to the high street.

More modern architectural and design influences in store refurbishment along with a much greater understanding of how lighting, sound, aesthetics, connectivity and overall look and feel of a store means that bricks and mortar stores have a better chance than ever to fight back against online retailers.

Security: behind the scenes support

Operational processes include ensuring simple strategies like branch opening times are honoured with all keys and critical security accounted for; products arrive to store as quickly and safely as possible to meet demand, and again, staff administration is reduced to spend more time with customers. This is all critical to success and the legacy of brand loyalty, and subsequent engagement.

For the security conscious, consumers can also benefit from the in-store experience, which is much less likely to encroach on personal data to complete a transaction. A recent Guardian survey suggests more than a quarter of respondents said they had taken some action to limit the amount of data shared with companies, rising to almost a third among 16- to 24-year-olds.

For retailers as well, embracing security elements that go beyond CCTV camers, video surveillance and intruder alarms, with the signs proclaiming their existence, does not only encourage the consumer, but also builds a brand of trust.

Such a retailer is embracing smart technologies such as key management, available to design out crime and protect against shoplifting, staff abuse and loss. The goal is to protect their own income whilst ensuring staff can spend more time with consumers and provide a safe environment to shop.

Human-To-Human Experience  

Ultimately, the human-to-human element of physical shopping experiences means brands are already on the front foot as a customer has consciously chosen to embrace that particular opportunity. For example, people that have used the styling service at Traka’s own customer, John Lewis & Partners, spend on average 30% more over the year following a session than those who don’t.

In summary, there is no doubt, it’s a tricky time for ‘high street’ retailers; customer want convenience, speed and simplicity in pretty much everything, at the same time as wanting deeper, more meaningful experiences and connections. Technology and management process is going to be key.

Here, technology does not have to undermine the humanity of the physical retail experience, but rather, be used to elevate. By making administration and security processes feel invisible to the consumer, asset management technologies can make the in-store experience feel every bit as seamless as online, as well as having the secure appeal, unique to brick-and-mortar retail.

By streamlining processes and effectively protecting business assets, in-store retail becomes a ripe opportunity to “innovate, delight and create stronger ties with customers” and become an integral touchpoint in the future of commerce as we continue through the new decade.

Download the Intruder Alarm Report 2020

Download this report, produced in conjunction with Texecom, to discover how increasing processing power, accelerating broadband speeds, cloud-managed solutions and the internet of things and transforming the intruder alarm market, and whether firms are adopting these innovative new technologies.

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