One of the biggest threats to the success of any retail business is theft, in particular, internal theft. While theft must be managed across all areas of the business, for some businesses internal theft poses a big risk to financial viability.
In 2017 The Australian Retailers Association reported that internal theft is the cause of over 40% of shrinkage costs experienced by Australian retailers. Internal theft tends to be more sophisticated, has a greater financial impact per incident, and is more difficult to detect than external theft.
While the majority of retail businesses have grappled with this issue for many years, it is the technology sector that has finally delivered the silver bullet for retailers.
“Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology is one of the biggest advancements, and is going to change the retail sector as we know it, from inventory management and availability through to identify risk areas within the business,” commented Nick Trudgett, General Manager, Sales and Operations for Checkpoint Systems.
RFID involves the use of technology to read and capture information stored on a tag that can be attached to an object. Tags contain a microchip that hold information and are read by a reader up to a number of meters away. The scanned information is then transmitted to a middleware platform (Checkpoint Solution) where the retailer can track the location and movements of the tagged item throughout the supply chain.
Tags can be applied to items at the point of manufacturing before they are shipped to a retailer. This means that every tagged item is able to be tracked at every point in an item’s journey, from manufacturer to retailer delivery dock, to store room, to the shop floor. A lot of retail theft happens even before items reach the shop floor.
“This year we will see a rapid increase in the take up of the technology across the country as retailers from large to small commence installation of RFID to significantly improve both operational efficiencies and most importantly the customer experience. Consumers won’t really notice any difference from a visual point of view however all facets of a business will benefit through improved availability and internal visibility of items,” Nick explains.
The introduction of RFID into retail allows for product stock takes to occur in real time, and will move from being physical counts involving staff to electronic counts thanks to reader technology. Retailers will have the ability to be updated in real time if an item of stock moves when it shouldn’t. They have the potential to have access to the exact time and location of stock movement.
Aside from reducing theft, the new RFID technology will also enable retailers to deliver better in-store service. Product availability and ordering can be managed in a more timely and efficient manner. RFID gives retailers a clear picture of what they have on the shelf at all times.
“Physical retailers are facing pressure from all directions and it is important that every step is taken to reduce loss and increase sale opportunities.”
Checkpoint Systems, a subsidiary of CCL Industries, is Australia’s expert in the manufacture and supply of retail loss prevention and merchandise management solutions. It provides tagging solutions, a stock management application that provides real time visibility on merchandise and shopper numbers and a software solution that can detect foil lined clothing or bags used by organised retail crime (professional shoplifters). It works with most of Australia’s leading retailers and offers solutions for single stores through to networks of hundreds of outlets. Checkpoint Systems celebrates 50 years of operation this year in Australia. For more information, visit www.checkpointsystems.com