Source: William Pao | As seen in ASMAG.com
In the previous note we discussed challenges facing luxury store operators and how security solutions can help. In this article, we take a closer look at how security systems can address offline luxury retailers’ key concerns, especially in four areas.
Needless to say, luxury stores selling high fashion, jewelry, watches and other luxury items are often targets for theft, robbery and other criminal activities. These can be somewhat mitigated by conventional security solutions such as bollards and man guards. But it’s electronic security systems such as video surveillance, analytics and alarms that can effectively help luxury stores gain situational awareness, achieve operational efficiency and deliver a great customer experience, all of which are necessary for luxury stores to achieve success.
In particular, security systems can benefit luxury stores in four areas, which are discussed as follows.
With theft and organized retail crime on the rise, keeping luxury stores safe from these has become critical. Security systems can do a good job in this regard.
“Security measures such as surveillance cameras, alarm systems, and access control can deter potential thieves and vandals. Visible security presence and monitoring can significantly reduce the risk of theft or damage to valuable merchandise and property. Utilizing an open platform Video Management System such as Salient’s CompleteView will enable luxury retailers to monitor and respond to real time alerts from various data points,” said Keith Aubele, Chief Security Officer at Salient Systems.
“By leveraging AI technologies such as facial recognition, incidents can be correlated to identify thieves on record. For example, the facial information of unwelcomed persons is stored in a central database in SOC and synchronized to stores. When an unwelcome person is recognized when entering any store, an alert message will be sent to the in-store security personnel to pay special attention to that person,” said Addy Ho, Segment Development Manager for Retail, Asia Pacific at Axis Communications.
He added audio can also play a key role: “Integration of IP cameras and IP audio systems can also be used to deter theft and prevent break-ins. During non-retail hours, the AI camera detects unauthorized entries or loitering. It will then trigger the IP speaker to play messages to deter the theft, trigger sirens and alert the security personnel of the incident. During normal business hours, the IP audio system will play background music as usual.”
Security solutions can also help ensure employee security and safety, which are key requirements for luxury stores. “Security measures can also protect employees by creating a safe work environment. Panic buttons, emergency protocols, and well-trained security personnel can help respond swiftly to any potential threats or incidents, ensuring the safety of staff members,” Aubele said.
Inevitably, disputes and fraudulent activities happen from time to time at luxury stores. Security systems can help settle these disputes. “Video is an essential tool to identify instances of fraudulent behavior, such as returns fraud, sweethearting, or suspicious transactions at point-of-sale terminals. By detecting anomalies and patterns, luxury retailers can minimize losses associated with fraudulent activities,” said Jason Burrows, Sales Director for IDIS America.
Ho echoed those remarks. “Surveillance cameras can provide evidence of customer interactions, transactions, and other activities in the event of any disputes. Securing POS systems is an effective way to minimize disputes and false claims related to transactions. Integrating the POS system with the surveillance camera system allows for the correlation of POS data with video footage, enabling retailers to verify that transactions occurred as recorded,” he said.
He added: “Body-worn cameras can provide video evidence for customer disputes with clear images and audio recordings. Wearables can view live action from around a corner or behind a barrier.”
Customer experience enhancement
Customer experience enhancement is another benefit security can bring to luxury retailers, who must maintain high safety and security while providing a frictionless shopping experience.
“Security solutions can enhance the customer experience by ensuring a safe and secure environment. For example, well-designed security systems and protocols can operate discreetly, minimizing their impact on the overall customer experience. Efficient access control measures can streamline entry and exit, reducing queues and wait times. Security personnel trained in customer service can provide assistance and guidance, enhancing the overall shopping experience. Leading edge technology such as facial recognition, license plate recognition and other analytics are playing a larger role in luxury retailers defensibilities,” Aubele said.
Meanwhile, it’s important to note privacy protection is a key part in the overall customer experience. “Balancing privacy concerns with forensic purposes is crucial when implementing video surveillance systems. When consumers enter a store, it is normal to see security cameras inside the stores. However, for consumers wary of being monitored, Axis Camera’s Live Privacy Shield (ALPS) can mask customers’ faces in live view monitors and provide video footage with facial information in case of an incident and a need for forensic investigations. The second level of customer privacy protection lies in the cyber security capabilities of the entire surveillance system. This is important to prevent hacking and potential leaks of surveillance footage,” Ho said.