Indian retailers reported the highest loss of stocks to theft in the world for the fifth year in a row in 2011, with about half of the loss attributed to shoplifting by customers.
Technology has crept into SCM step by step. Let’s have a look.
- Smart display systems : The newest and most emerging technology. These systems allow high-theft merchandise to be openly displayed rather than be locked in a cabinet. If items are taken from the display, this system triggers an alarm that immediately sends a message via email or text to the store manager. Works in the health and beauty care industry where small items are easy to shoplift.
- Radio Frequency Identification Tags: The traditional Radio Frequency tags used to activate alarms when detector gates were being breached but RFIDs emit unique signals that include alarm activation, information about size, colour and shape of the item and can tell you if an item came from your own store or another one.
- Video analytics: The software can be paired with CCTVs which identifies and detects when suspicious activity occurs and allows merchants to go directly to the incident on video, saving hours of monitoring. Facial Recognition feature identifies regular shoplifters and with the advent of HD cameras, quality footage can be obtained instead of grainy images.
- Keystroke logging: tracks what employees type as they steal intangible things too like company’s time, whether it’s spending all day on Social media or searching for jobs on online portals.
- Mobile point of sale: Earlier, the cashier was stuck behind the cash register, giving potential shoplifters plenty of opportunity. But a mobile POS allows clerks to be mobile on the floor.
There is no doubt that technology is being used by shoplifters too.
Hundreds of websites and blogs are serving as training grounds by educating them how to steal more without getting caught and how to act if caught.
Youtube is glutted with videos demonstrating how to outsmart anti-theft devices and remove security tags while exiting the store. There’s an online business selling portable security tag detaching devices.
Selling stolen merchandise online is a cakewalk now with the help of auction houses and classified ad sites.
In this million-dollar shoplifting industry, technology has no doubt provided a blanket cover to businesses but thieves are enjoying their share too with the latest advancements.